In some places, like Kansas City and North Carolina, when you ask for barbecue, you’re asking for sauce. The sauces may be quite different, with the traditional Kansas City sauce usually being somewhat thick and tangy, while the standard North Carolina sauce is water thin and tart. The sauce is as important to patrons in these areas as anything else, and they will tell you that without the sauce, you can’t really call a meal “Barbeque”
But there are many BBQ lovers who would beg to differ. For them, the true taste of barbeque comes not from the sauce, but rather the meat itself and what sort of spices are applied to it before the fire is ever even lit. These spice mixtures are often called “dry rubs” and with the right rub, using even the best sauce constitutes a crime against taste.