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Why Barbecue Doesn’t Travel Well

Aug. 30 (Bloomberg) -- I never thought I’d say this, but I miss Arthur Bryant’s original barbecue sauce.

His Kansas City smokehouse, which was made famous decades ago in a Calvin Trillin essay, served a sauce that’s been described as a mixture of Comet and ketchup. That description isn’t far off. The sauce’s gritty texture negates whatever pleasant flavors its ketchup-like ingredients might offer. By the standards of traditional sweet barbecue sauces, it’s a bitter abomination. But when it comes to personal aesthetic statements, Bryant’s sauce is without peer. It represents a throwing down of the gauntlet; a simple, unwavering declaration: “This is the sauce we serve. Take it or leave it.”