The 10 Best Bottles of Barbecue Sauce in Your Grocery Store • Gear Patrol

While purists are no doubt kidding, bottled barbecue sauce isn’t a big sin for everyone. Most of the best options are simplified versions of sauces made by pit masters that you or I could never hope to match.

But like most products previously made at home, store-bought sauce can also be bad. Sometimes terribly. The trap that many fall into is excess in one of the four mainstays of barbecue sauce flavor – heat, smoke, acidity and, most often overused, sweetness. We’ve scoured the web, grocery stores, and barbecue forums to find out which bottled barbecue sauces available at retail are really worth putting on the meat you’ve spent all day smoking.

Stubb’s Original Bar-BQ Sauce


While Texans aren’t inclined to use sauces in the first place, Stubb’s original Texan-style sauce is as good as anyone could hope for from a bottle. The first thing you will notice is that it is decidedly not very sweet for a bottled sauce. It also does not contain any high fructose corn syrup and does not use any artificial ingredients.

Instead, Stubb’s goes for a tomato-vinegar-based sauce that’s a lot less potent than most things out of a bottle. The longer you eat, the more smoke and heat you will start to feel, but it’s not what you would describe as particularly smoky or spicy. It is simply balanced, like all sauces should be.

Buy Now: $ 5

Jack Daniel’s Original Recipe # 7 Barbecue Sauce

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The label says “HICKORY SMOKE FLAVOR” and it means it. It’s a sauce as smoky as the one you’ll find in a bottle, but not so much that it overwhelms other flavors; it’s quite peppery and has a lot of body too. If you like super sweet sauces, this one might not be for you, although a small simmer with a little honey and butter can do the trick.

Buy Now (Pack of 2): $ 2

Rufus Teague Blazin ‘Hot Sauce

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It’s not this hot, which is exactly what it should be. Rufus Teague sauces are generally well balanced and non-destructive to your health. They are also available in grocery stores across the country. This one is made with all natural ingredients (read: no high fructose corn syrup) and has more interesting ingredients than most sauces, homemade or bottled. The heat comes from the chili peppers and chipotles, but it’s not too aggressive a burn. If the burn is too severe, consider putting a few blocks of butter in a saucepan with it.

Buy Now: $ 8

Bull’s Eye Original Barbecue Sauce

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While a little heavier in high fructose corn syrup than you’d like, Bull’s Eye Sauce is a great pickup for grocery store sauce. Eat serious, The illustrated cooks and The American test kitchen talked about that too, but the sauce is as balanced as it gets without making it yourself – it’s in the middle of the sweetness scale, smokier than most store-bought bottles, it’s not. too spicy (but not boring) and it has enough body to hold onto whatever you sprinkle it on. If you can get past the ingredient list, that’s great.

Buy Now (Pack of 3): $ 4

Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold Sauce


It is made from mustard and contains pure cane sugar – two rarities in barbecue sauces, generally, made particularly rare in the bottle market. If you haven’t eaten it, cane sugar has a slightly different flavor than we’re used to, and it works extremely well with hot mustard. This sauce, in particular, looks especially amazing on a Boston butt, though it’s good on just about any charred meat – from pork shoulder to kids.

Buy Now: $ 12

Bone-sucking sauce

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A little sweeter than your usual dish, to the point that it might remind you of a sweet and sour sauce. Fortunately, the sweet and sour sauce is delicious, and this one has the added bonus of a slight hickory smoke flavor that manages to not taste like chemicals. It’s a bit thinner than the KC style sauce, so if you want it to stick to the ribs, consider cooking it for a few minutes on the stovetop.

Buy Now: $ 8

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Sensual Spread

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Not as widely available as the others on this list, but a treat if you can find it – Sensuous Slathering Sauce is one of the less sweet bottled sauces and frankly it doesn’t need it. It gets a bit of added sweetness from the bell pepper and it’s badly smoky and tangy. The consistency is such that it’s ready to water right out of the bottle. It does not contain any corn syrup and you can probably pronounce all the ingredients in its composition.

Buy Now: $ 4

Lillie’s Q Smoky Barbecue Sauce

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Lillie’s Q is a Chicago-based barbecue restaurant with roots in Southern cuisine. The brand’s barbecue sauces made their way into supermarkets, so they just became easier to find. Smoky Sauce is a Memphis-style barbecue sauce with molasses-like sweetness complemented by delicious smoke. This sauce works well on just about anything, but Lillie’s Q recommends eating it with ribs and smoked chicken.

Buy Now: $ 10

Traeger ‘Cue BBQ Sauce

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If you use the Traeger app for recipes, you may notice that it requires Traeger barbecue sauces quite often. The consistency of the sauce makes it versatile as a dip, marinade or frosting, and the addition of anchovies gives the sauce a savory umami flavor. This particular variety of Traeger barbecue sauce has a hickory smoke aroma, which pairs well with Traeger walnut pellets.

Buy Now: $ 10

Drunk Fruit BBQ Sauce Trio

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Adding fruit to these barbecue sauces gives them a depth of flavor that is lacking in regular sugar, honey or molasses. Each sauce incorporates a touch of alcohol – tequila, rum or boubon – and the result is a very easy to dip sauce that is a harmonious blend of sweet, salty and smoky. These sauces are exclusive to Uncommon Goods (so they can’t be found in grocery stores), but you won’t be disappointed ordering them online.

Buy Now: $ 35

What to know about popular sauce styles

Kansas City Style: The most widely available style of barbecue sauce in grocery stores is a balanced blend of tomato (ketchup, most of the time), sweetness, heat, and smoke at best. It’s the gloopy reddish-brown sauce that you spread all over your ribs – it’s excellent for its strong hold on meats and the body in general.

Texan style: Sometimes called “mop sauce” or “mop style”, these are sauces made with tomatoes and vinegar. They are generally much lighter in body than KC style sauces, but not as light as Carolinian vinegar sauce. They are also applied with a lighter hand than most sauces and contain a lot of garlic, black pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.

Memphis Style: Memphis barbecue tends to be served without sauce, but there has been a slight increase in Memphis barbecue sauces. The sauce is similar to a Kansas City-style barbecue sauce, but with a richer sweetness thanks to the molasses and a little more brightness thanks to a generous addition of vinegar.

Lexington (North Carolina) Style: While some of the people of North Carolina may protest, this is essentially an earlier version of the hugely popular Kansas City sauce, with no tang and with a lot more tomato products in it. If you don’t like the spiciness and bite that comes with a lot of KC sauces, this style is for you.

Made from eastern North Carolina vinegar: It’s vinegar, pepper, salt and pepper flakes. The most fluid sauce around gets most of its flavor from the tangy vinegar and various pepper flakes and pepper powders (cayenne being the most common). It might not be very useful for caramelizing the outside of a pig, but it’s still delicious.

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