As restaurateurs, heat is what makes your world (and kitchen) go ‘round. And maybe it’s just because we like to be on a hot streak, but when the weather gets warmer — we say crank up the heat even more with BBQ that’s sauced to fiery perfection.

It’s getting hot out here y’all, with research suggesting that nearly three-quarters of all consumers enjoy eating BBQ when the weather’s nice. That gets us fired up, because according to Datassential, almost 60% of restaurants currently offer some type of ‘cue — creating a scorching crossover zone of opportunity.

What’s more, on average, restaurants feature seven different menu items for BBQ, so it’s critical to showcase what makes your smoke selections different from the joint down the street — either on your site, on social media, or on menus in-house. The quality of meat makes a massive difference, no doubt, but as part of your strategy to lower costs, lower the pressure on your staff, and make your pulled pork rise above the rest, consider how something as simple as a standout sauce can bring in all the smoke you’re seeking.

Bring Saucy Back

BBQ sauce comes in all packing shapes and sizes, from brand names with a history of delivering to build-your-own combinations. This adaptability works wonders for your back-of-house, as you determine the most efficient and cost-effective ways of transforming classic BBQ.

Research says that as many as 70% of consumers eat BBQ because of the flavor alone, so exciting and innovative sauce options can already give you a leg up. But it’s still important to trust sauces with characteristics known to perform. For example, over the course of 50 years, Cattlemen’s® has designed a line of versatile and complex sauces with industry chefs in mind. Offerings like Kansas City Classic BBQ Sauce and Memphis Sweet BBQ Sauce contain no artificial flavors, starches, or fillers, for a thick consistency and high-performing cling that bring out the best in your meat.

Slather and Share

When we imagine saucy, smoky ‘cue until we’re licking our lips, individual sandwiches, ribs, or sliced brisket usually come to mind. And yet, with shareables taking up more and more real estate on menus, maybe they should be a focus on the grill as well?

Serve guests snacks they can eat with the group — specials like BBQ Beef Poutine, featuring crispy fries covered with shredded, smoked beef and doused in your preferred sauce, alongside melty cheese curds and a fried egg. Or craft your own speed-scratch dipping sauce for your signature hot honey tendies by combining mayo and Cattlemen’s Carolina Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce, made with a blend of zesty mustard, aged cayenne peppers, apple cider vinegar, natural hickory smoke, and molasses.

Protein aside, half of all consumers love to eat grilled veggies, opening a different avenue for fresh produce from brands like Peak®. Brush mushrooms, onions, peppers, cauliflower, and squash with a glaze that marries Cattlemen’s Kansas City Classic BBQ Sauce and a stone-ground Dijon mustard. Let the healthy sharing and caring begin!

Made for Mains

Of course, many of us are greedy about our BBQ — just try prying the ribs from my saucy hands! And there’s no shortage of entrée options to cue up. Employ a spicier sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot® or Contigo® Habanero on an Asian-inspired chicken, pineapple, and ginger pizza. Use a bourbon or moonshine compound butter sauce to jazz up a Braveheart® Black Angus Beef filet. Or if it’s the bounty of natural flavor you seek, explore the plentiful marinade possibilities available in the Village Garden® Dressing or West Creek® sauce categories.

Other research shows that close to 30% of consumers get hot under the collar for grilled fish and seafood, so you may consider reeling in a few regulars with a sweet and spicy mahi sandwich swabbed in Cattlemen’s Memphis Sweet BBQ Sauce. Open up your ‘cue of possibilities with LTO’s that range well outside of traditional BBQ.

Warm-weather gatherings like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, and Fourth of July are ready to bring the heat to your dining room or patio. Just a little awesome BBQ sauce will go a long way toward putting the spotlight on your grilled menu, while keeping your budget chill.

*Content provided in collaboration with McCormick®

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