How To Use Your Bbq Sauce:
- BBQ Marinade: Marinate grilled chicken, pulled pork, and ribs or spread it on top of any bbq meats during the grilling process.
- Condiment: Spread it over the top of your homemade nachos, salads, tacos, meatloaf, or on the bun of your juicy hamburger or chicken burger.
- Dipping sauce: dip meats and vegetables in it or stir a couple tablespoons into your homemade ranch for a BBQ ranch twist.
- Pizza sauce: spread it over bbq chicken pizza crust or create your own favorite pizza and drizzle it over top.
Other Bbq Sauces We Tried That Didn’t Make The Cut
- Full Moon Alabama White Sauce: This sauce was positively addictive, but it might be a stretch to call it barbecue sauce. I know Alabamans may not love to hear this, but Full Moon white sauce is more like a really rich and flavorful ranch with loads of mustard, garlic and Worcestershire.
- Jack Daniels Original BBQ Sauce: This is another one we all really liked. It has a nice balance and strong spice but ultimately some of the others just nudged it out of the top.
- Haven’s Kitchen Tangy BBQ Sauce: This sauce has a nice complex flavor but a bit too much vinegar punch for us. If you like really tangy sauces, this might be a good pick.
- Good For Food Keto BBQ Sauce: At just 10 calories and 3 grams of carbs per serving, this sauce was definitely edible, although not one of our favorites.
- Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce: This one had very little dimension and tasted more like slightly smoky ketchup than a good BBQ sauce.
- Heinz Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce: This sauce wasn’t terrible but had too much vinegar for most of us.
- Heinz Carolina Mustard Sauce: This was more like honey mustard than barbecue sauce. Not bad, but didn’t fulfill our requirements for this round of testing.
- Kings Delight Bar-B-Que Sauce: This Carolina-style sauce is tasty but with so much vinegar, it’s less of a traditional barbecue sauce and more of a thin finishing sauce for pulled pork.
How We Chose These Products
Most chefs have a general knowledge of the high-quality barbecue sauces available in grocery stores and through e-retailers. We asked a handful of Southern chefs from varying regions to share their list of favorite sauces and then ordered nearly a dozen of these bottles to try ourselves.
Since barbecue sauce taste and texture runs the gamut, we wanted to ensure that our picks excelled in different categories for diverse representation. And while our six all-stars are fantastic in their own way, itd be remiss of us to suggest that these are the only best sauces out there. There are hundreds of other options, both small-batch and mainstream, domestic and international, that are more than deserving of a spot on your dinner table or near your grill. Though this is a wonderful place to start, true barbecue sauce aficionados should really take the time to select the brand that works for them and their individual needs.
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Big Bob Gibson White Sauce
My other favorite barbecue sauce more unique to Alabama is Big Bob Gibson white sauce, a mayonnaise-based concoction that’s particularly great on grilled or roasted chicken. It has this wonderful creamy-tangy-sweet-garlic thing going on, and it’s also very versatile. You can thin it out to use as a salad dressing with excellent results.
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For Clean Eaters: Primal Kitchen Hawaiian Style Bbq Sauce
Say aloha to a sauce thats organic, paleo, Whole30 and gluten-free, plus free of GMOs and cane sugar. The coconut aminos, natural smoke flavor and pineapple juice will make magic with pulled pork, turkey burgers, seafood or vegetables. Incorporate it into spicy shrimp tacos with mango salsa or drizzle it over fish taco salad.
Winner: Rufus Teague Honey Sweet Bbq Sauce
While a little research into the history of this sauce found Rufus Teague didnt actually exist , this was by far the tasting panels favourite of the lot. With a decent punch of umami from the anchovy paste the honey wasnt oversweet, and the unusual addition of raisin paste gave it a deep, date-like depth. Everything you want in a good barbecue sauce smoke, salt, tang, sugar, spice could be tasted individually, and all the elements came together in a beautiful cacophony of Kansas City flavour. It was also the priciest bottle on the table, which certainly suggests that in the world of barbecue sauces, you get what you pay for.
£4 from Ocado
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What To Look For In A Great Bbq Sauce
As mentioned, there are a ton of different kinds of barbeque sauce. All the best ones will be made from natural ingredients, and usually a fairly small number of them. A sauces ingredients are kind of like paint if you add too many you just end up with kind of a dull blah sauce in terms of both taste and texture.
If your sauce of choice manages to sidestep that, it should have some kind of distinct flavor profile. This is just sort of what its basic taste structure is, and is going to be determined in large part by what the main ingredient of the sauce is. This is also going to generally be what determines the texture of your sauce, whether its thick or thin.
For example, a standard barbeque sauce is largely tomato based a mix of tomato sauce or puree and tomato paste that gives it its thickness. Then you add in ingredients like brown sugar, for sweetness, and Worcestershire sauce for a bit more umami. Combined with the other ingredients you get a sauce that is both savory and sweet in equal measures.
But as a counterexample, there are a lot of sauces with a vinegar base, like the Carolina Vinegar barbeque sauce type I mentioned. These are also made from simple ingredients, and largely let the vinegar do the talking with a bit of backup from certain herbs and spices that mellow out the bitterness.
Having a good idea of what goes into each of these is important, as it determines what you can use it for.
Its all a matter of taste, pun definitely intended.
Cattlemen’s Carolina Tangy Gold Bbq Sauce
Our family was introduced to Carolina Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce several years ago by one of our neighbors who was originally from South Carolina. And it has been a staple in our house ever since. Theres just something about that sweet mustardy tang that we just love. Michelle Braxton, recipe developer and blogger at Supper with Michelle
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Underwood Ranches Bibimbap Sauce
Why youll love it:
A staple of Korean barbeque, gochujang sauce is an interesting marriage of a hot sauce and a barbeque sauce, blurring the lines between the two.
It has spice to it, for sure, but also a ton of flavor, bringing a salty, savory or umami taste that complements meat perfectly. This is largely due to its nonstandard ingredient pool, combining chili paste, soy sauce, sesame oil, and a hint of ginger to create a unique and unforgettable flavor.
- Spicy chili sauce provides a unique kick and unforgettable flavor to food.
- Heavy on the spice, but not unpalatable.
- Great on pretty much any meat or vegetable and extremely versatile sauce for cooking.
- Staple of Korean foods, and a good sauce to keep around for special occasions and culinary experimentation.
What we didnt like
- Doesnt make a great sauce for everyday use, unless you plan to make a ton of Korean dishes.
This particular sauce is also kicked up a notch by the addition of red jalapenos, farm grown at Underwoods ranches and put into the sauce fresh, resulting in a flavor that pops a lot more than most spicy sauces manage.
This is not a go to hot sauce, or barbeque sauce for that matter at least to me. However, its an excellent sauce to keep in your back pocket for when you want to surprise some dinner guests, or maybe just switch things up a bit and make food thats a bit different than the norm.
What Makes A Great Barbecue Sauce
It’s all relative, but most pitmasters agree that balance is key to a great barbecue sauce. Most sauces are made with a tomato base, vinegar, some sweetener like honey or molasses and an element of heat. From there, sauces are fine-tuned with spices and flavors, such as mustard, garlic, fruit and smoke. Any sauce that’s too overwhelming in any one direction usually doesn’t work well. And super simple sauces without much spice or complexity often fall flat.
We tasted many traditional Kansas City-style sauces for this list, a host of vinegar-heavy Carolina-style sauces, some keto-friendly sauces, Bachan’s cult-favorite Japanese-style sauce and a few Alabama white sauces to see which ones really tickled our taste buds. We tried each one with plain unseasoned chicken breast since it’s a rather blank slate as far as classic grilled foods go. When tasting, we noted things like overall balance, heat, sweetness, overwhelming flavors or anything else that jumped out — both bad and good.
It took a lot of napkins to find the best barbecue sauce in 2022. Here they are.
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What Is The Oldest Bbq Sauce
The first sauce they made was very simple. In 1698, a Dominican missionary named Pxe8re Labat visited the French West Indies and witnessed cooks using lime juice and hot peppers to season barbecued meat. This sauce probably had its roots in Africa where cooks traditionally used both lemon and lime juice.
The Best Barbecue Sauces Ranked
Barbecue season is upon us!
Barbecue season will be here before you know it, and with so many barbecue sauces on the market, it can feel impossible to choose. The Delish team rounded up 14 of America’s most popular brands to see which ones are up to snuff. Turns out barbecue sauces are a lot like snowflakes, no barbecue sauce is alike. Here are the bottles that we’d buy again and again for chicken, ribs, pulled pork, and more.
Not all barbecue sauces need sugar to be sweet and this gluten-free and vegan-friendly maple flavor sauce proves that.
BUY NOWG Hughes Smokehouse BBQ Sauce, $4
This whiskey maple sauce from Rufus Teague will taste so good you won’t be able to put even the worst barbecue down once it’s topped with this.
BUY NOWRufus Teague Whiskey Maple BBQ Sauce, $5
This family-owned barbecue sauce has been bottled since 1990 and the delicious taste proves why it’s been around so long.
BUY NOWWilliamson Bros. Original Bar-B-Q Sauce, $5
Though it’s name is “Carolina Sweet,” you won’t have to worry about this sauce being too sweet to eat.
BUY NOWSticky Fingers Smokehouse Carolina Sweet Barbecue Sauce, $3
Looking for a barbecue sauce that’s delicious and organic? This mild flavor from Kinder’s will definitely do the trick. And while it is a barbecue sauce, if you wanted to opt to have it as a dipping sauce instead, you won’t be disappointed.
BUY NOWKinder’s Organic Mild BBQ Sauce, $5
BUY NOWBachan’s Original Japanese Barbecue Sauce, $14
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Capital City Mambo Sauce Variety 2 Pack
Why youll love it:
Mambo sauce has an interesting history, but thats mostly irrelevant. What IS relevant: its really tasty. The recipe is also fairly simple overall, and produces a thin, runny sauce with a tasty vinegar and tomato base, citrus undertones, and a few other flavors that combine into a delicious salty, sweet, and sometimes lightly spicy sauce that is like nothing else around.
While this pushes the bounds of the definition of barbeque sauce a little bit, being closer to a condiment in a lot of ways, its used in enough barbeque dishes that I can give it a pass. It makes an excellent pulled pork and brisket sauce especially, but is at home on just about anything .
If youve never tried it, this sauce is well worth picking up and taking a look at.
- Unique sweet and salty flavor profile.
- Excellent for use as both a sauce and a condiment.
- Good on everything, from foods like French fries to any kind of barbeque to traditional Korean dishes.
- Two packs give you a lot of value for the money.
- Easy to use squirt bottles.
What we didnt like
- Very thin, so is of limited use as a basting sauce.
The Best Bbq Sauce Ever
350 ML pieces
If you have a kamado, making fresh BBQ sauce is one of the basics. This recipe yields a result unlike anything youve ever tasted before. Everyone will be blown away. So ignite the charcoal in your Big Green Egg, make preparations and 30 minutes later, you will have made the best homemade barbecue sauce ever.
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The Rest Of The Vinegar
Barbecue sauces sure love the word “lick.” Well, this is the second brand with it in the title . Of the two, we’d rather lick this one. It’s big on vinegar. Tart, peppery, and tangy. The texture is thin, not gloppedy thick, which was appreciated. While we liked the not-too-sweet factor, it could have used a smokier edge.
“Out here in Driftwood, Texas since 1967,” the label says. The barbecue joint is still there, too, right outside of Austin. The “lick” part in this case comes from the deer who used to lick the salt and minerals off the ranch’s large rocks. Well, we weren’t so much of the licking deer types with this sauce. It tasted more like honey mustard than barbecue sauce, and looked like it too. “Not what I think of as barbecue sauce,” agreed tasters about this mustard-based sauce. Sweet and sour but not smoky or spiced.
This reminded us of Asian sauces like hot and sour or even duck sauce. Uh, should we dip an egg roll in here? “All I taste is sweet,” said one taster. There’s vinegar hiding in there somewhere, but it’s mostly a sweet takeover.
The Rest Of The Kansas City
Sweet Baby Ray’s
The spice hits immediately with this one, then progressively gets stronger. It’s balanced with both a sweet and sour background. Though not particularly unique in flavor profile, it’s what we’ve always thought of as “barbecue sauce,” at least in the world of supermarket varieties. If you want something to have that ubiquitous “barbecue” flavor then this one’s for you.
Lots of dark molasses with a hint of maple. Thick and sweet to be sure, but not enough tang or heat. “Reminiscent of hoisin sauce,” said one taster. Though it wasn’t all that special, it scored pretty well because it was familiar for many of us, much like Bulls-Eye.
And here you thought he just had his own signature line of shades! Fieri is a pretty busy guy . Of his four sauces available, we tried the Kansas City barbecue sauce. It’s pretty one-dimensional with a black pepper kick and a heavy hand of molasses. “Not a lotta complexity,” said one taster.
Trader Joe’s All-Natural
As noted above, if you’re at TJ’s and shopping for barbecue sauce, this isn’t the one. You want the Kansas City style sauce, which tied for first place in this category. This product, on the other hand, is trying to burn your mouth off. Don’t get us wrong, we like a good mouth sizzle when it belongs there, but not so much for ‘cue sauces. It was the only woah-there-turn-down-the-heat sauce of the 16 brands. Hot with an ashy, acidic flavor. “Dirty tasting,” said one taster.
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How Can You Thicken Barbecue Sauce
You can thicken your barbecue sauce the same way youd thicken other dishes. One option is to reduce itsimply heating it up on the stovetop and simmering it so excess water evaporates and the sauce thickens. Alternatively, if you have cornstarch on hand, you can combine cornstarch and water to make a slurry, and add that to your sauce.