1) Balance out the rub. When it comes to rubs, you don't want any one ingredient to stand out. You want to make sure you have a well-balanced flavor profile. Memphis BBQ Company co-owner Melissa Cookston says, "It should taste a little sweet, salty, acidic, and spicy so you are able to taste it from the tip of your tongue to the back of your throat."
2) Pick your region. Cookston says, "Depending on where you were raised [the style] is probably what you think is great barbecue, and the sauce pretty much reflects that regionality." Whichever you choose, go for one that will be the crowd pleaser.
3) Try tomato as a sauce base. All sauces are going to start with some sort of base. It can be vinegar, tomato or mayonnaise. Cookston's personal favorite is a great tomato base, followed by adding a little vinegar, brown sugar, and some heat to spice it up.
4) Match the sauce with rub. Your sauce's main seasoning agent should parallel the spices you are using in your rubs, as it will tie everything together.
5) Don't jump the gun on the sauce. Sauce should only be applied in the final 15 minutes of cooking so it is not caramelizing or burning.
6) Take it off when it's tender. Barbecuing can be a slow process, but if you want to make the effort worthwhile, you need to take the food off at the right time. "With barbecue you want to check for tenderness," Cookston says.