There’s no denying that when it comes to food, the best option is always making it yourself. Homemade beats premade every time, even when it comes to barbecue sauce. But since most of us don’t always have the time to make our own, especially when there are bottles upon bottles sitting there on store shelves, you can make your best Santa Claus impression and check this list twice, because here are the 10 Best Barbecue Sauces In The Grocery Store.
10. Stubbs Original Bar-B-Q Sauce
Chances are, you’ve probably seen a row or two of Stubbs barbecue sauces lining the shelves of your local grocery store. And you might have also noticed that the row has gotten wider over the years as Stubbs has continuously added new variations and flavors to their sauce family. But for the sake of this list, we are going back to the original Stubbs Bar-B-Q sauce. The one that started it all. And this one makes the top 10 for a few reasons. The first is obviously, the taste. If you find that bottled sauces are usually a little too much on the sweet side, this is definitely the bottle you should grab. They avoid the sweetness and instead opt for a more tomato and vinegar flavor profile to hit your palette right off the bat. And for those of you sensitive to heat, this original flavor is not spicy. And while the taste is important, Stubbs also gains a few extra points for its ingredients. They are able to achieve this good flavor without using any high fructose corn syrup or any artificial ingredients in general. As most people are now trying to become more conscious of what they put in their bodies, with Stubbs Original Bar-B-Q sauce, you can feel good about the ingredients used as you marinate that mouth-watering piece of meat. And if you still want Stubbs but prefer your BBQ flavors in a sauceless form, the company also produces some good dry rubs.
9. Rufus Teague Blazin’ Hot Sauce
While some of us are proud wimps when it comes to spicy foods, there are others who take great pride in their love for the hot stuff. You know them. Those people who actually do “put that thing on everything.” For those folks, may we suggest Rufus Teague Blazin’ Hot Sauce? Getting its heat from chipotles and chili peppers, this Rufus Teague offering provides a very nice balance of both heat and flavor. One frequent problem with many hot sauces is that they forgo the flavor in order to smack you with the spicy. But not here. In fact, while there is definitely a heat kick to it, it isn’t as hot as the “Blazin’” the name might suggest. Meaning, even some of us who avoid spicy foods might enjoy this sauce. Don’t get us wrong, it is spicy, just not so much so that it’ll melt your taste buds. It’s just the right amount. Rufus Teague’s sauces are typically well-balanced and non-destructive to your health, so you should be good to go with this one! This is another company that doesn’t use any artificial ingredients in the production of its product, which is something we can all feel good about. And if you want to try it but don’t want to get off your couch and go to the store, you can find bottles of the stuff on Amazon and have them delivered right to your door (maybe order a few steaks online as well).
8. Kingsford Original
If you’re thinking to yourself: “isn’t Kingsford the company that makes charcoal briquettes?” Well, yes, they are. Not only do they make charcoal briquettes, but they are the largest producer of the product in the country. So, while they may not be your typical food producer, they definitely understand the world of barbecue. And while they’ve been around for over 100 years, they didn’t decide to produce a BBQ sauce until just a few years back, coming out with Kingsford Original in 2017. As you might have guessed, given the size of the company, they decided to go with a pretty traditional with their first BBQ sauce outing. Producing a classic smoked hickory sauce that works great as a marinade as well. However, while they aren’t reinventing the wheel here, they are doing classic flavors and doing them well. It’s nice to see such a big company using good ingredients also. They use real hickory smoke and brown sugar to get the flavor they want – whereas many other brands in the same price range use artificial flavors. That is a big difference and one that allows Kingsford Original bbq sauce to stand out from the crowded mid-tier range of sauces that fill grocery store shelves.
7. KC Masterpiece Original
As many of you know, BBQ is a very regional thing in the United States. From California to Texas to Tenessee, every region has its own taste profile, style, and sauce type. And one of the most popular around is the one from Kansas City. Known for its thicker sauce, it’s usually a tomato-based variety with a little sweetness to it. And it is in that tradition that the KC Masterpiece Original lives. This is a mass-produced sauce that you can probably find anywhere throughout the country. And while “mass-produced” can often mean lesser-quality, that sure isn’t the case here. The folks at KC Masterpiece Original use quality ingredients and a kettle-cooking technique to produce a flavorful product. It isn’t hard to see why this one is so popular with anyone who tries it. Baked, broiled, or grilled, KC Masterpiece Original is a great choice for all of your meat cooking needs. And it won’t break the bank either. That is one of the benefits of mass-production – being able to offer the product at a lower cost to consumers. A good sauce at a good price – what more could you ask for? If you haven’t yet tried this iconic brand… What are you waiting for?
6. King’s Hawaiian Smoked Bacon BBQ Sauce
When it comes to the flavor of barbecue sauces, we usually discuss things in terms of sweetness and/or the prevalence of vinegar. Those are the two of the main aspects that tend to differentiate one sauce from another. But with King’s Hawaiian Smoked Bacon BBQ Sauce, it’s the bacon that makes it stand out from the crowd. Yes, bacon. They say that everything is better with bacon and King’s Hawaiian took that to mean BBQ sauce as well. And who are we to argue with that? Given how popular bacon is, it’s more surprising to see how more BBQ sauces haven’t gone down this route yet, but nevertheless, we’re more than are happy that King’s Hawaiian did. The strong pork flavor is definitely an original take and might catch a few people off guard at first, but rest assured, it all ties together. Unless you don’t like pork. Then maybe steer clear of that one. Otherwise, you definitely need to give this sauce a try. When it comes to food, the term “Hawaiian” can be a little controversial – as in Hawaiian Pizza and the belief, by some, that pineapple should never be put on a pizza. And there might be some folks who feel that way about bacon in a BBQ sauce, but if using bacon on, or in, anything is breaking the rules, then those aren’t rules we want to obey!
5. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Sensuous Slathering Sauce
While this one is a little harder to find in your everyday grocery store than many of the others on this list, that doesn’t mean that – like the dinosaurs themselves – it’s gone extinct. You don’t need to dig around in the ground to find it either, just through the shelves at a few local grocery stores. And when you do come across it, it is worth grabbing and putting in your cart because this is a yummy sauce that is well worth the price. Plus, more good news: it’s one of the least expensive bottles of quality BBQ sauce out there. As for the flavor profile, this sauce is rocking some of the lowest sugar of any other bottle on the list, and yet it still brings the perfect amount of sweetness to the table – mostly from the use of ingredients such as bell peppers. Add a little tangy and smokey, and your taste buds are going to be very happy. And so will your meat as this sauce comes with a nice consistency that makes it ready to baste right out of the bottle – no additives needed. And speaking of additives, the full list of ingredients is a very natural friendly one – imagine being able to pronounce every item on a label? Well, unlike many actual dinosaur names (what is a Piatnitzkysaurus or a Colepiocephale?), you can actually pronounce – and probably recognize – every ingredient!
4. Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce
This is another classic sauce that you should probably have no trouble finding at your local grocery store. And while it may not be gourmet or produced in small batches in a hipster smokehouse, there is a reason that Sweet Baby Ray’s is so popular… Because it is really good! It has a nice smokiness, great flavor, and the texture is just right for your BBQ needs. And the price point is great as well – whether you get it at the grocery store, on Amazon, at Walmart, etc. The sauce has a lot of fans. A quick online search will get you multiple hits for homemade sauce recipes that claim to be “copycats” and “just like” Sweet Baby Ray’s. You know something is good when people are trying to come up with ways to knock it off. Show of hands, who here has tried at least once to find a knock-off Big Mac Sauce recipe online? Exactly. And while Sweet Baby Ray’s original sauce is probably the most popular, the company has a whole line of sauces you can try. Flavors like teriyaki, honey mustard dipping sauce, and even Buffalo Wing sauce – which sounds like the perfect option for your next Super Bowl party. The stuff comes in a squeeze bottle, and the packaging isn’t anything that stands out, so you could easily ignore it if you hadn’t tried it before. But don’t ignore it. Grab a bottle on your next grocery run. You won’t be disappointed. And also, it’s kinda fun to say “Sweet Baby Ray’s.”
3. Bone Suckin’ Sauce
Not only is it a great sauce, but Bone Suckin’ Sauce is also a great name – albeit ripe with double-entendre potential. We shall try to keep it PG, though, as we tell you about this yummy jar of awesome sauce. The sweet level of a BBQ sauce is one of the most important flavor factors that people consider. While some like sweetness, there are others who rail against it. It really depends on what region you are from and where your BBQ-allegiances lie. We say all this to preface the fact that this Bone Suckin’ Sauce has definitely got a stronger sweetness to it than most of the other sauces on this list. In fact, we have seen it described as leaning more towards a sweet and sour sauce in terms of its taste. And is that a bad thing? Let’s face it, Sweet and Sour sauce is pretty great! Now, take that sweet and sour profile and throw in some nice hickory smoke, and you’ve got some of this awesome Bone Suckin’ goodness. For those used to a thicker, Kansas City-style sauce, this one might be a bit on the thin side – as far as its rib-sticking ability is concerned. But, if you’re willing to do a little cooking, a few minutes on the stove will be plenty enough to thicken it right up and make it ready to slather all over your evening’s meat.
2. Jayone Korean Bulgogi & Kalbi
While the rest of the list focuses its attention on classic American BBQ, we couldn’t leave out a delicious barbecue sauce… Korean style! If you’ve never experienced a Korean BBQ, then you need to get yourself to the closest one and order up a few of their signature dishes because it is a cuisine that you need to try. For those of you who have had the pleasure and want to bring some of that flavor back home to your kitchen, a great option is Jayone Korean Bulgogi & Kalbi. The sauce brings together a wonderful list of ingredients, including the likes of brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, pepper, Asian pear, and sesame oil. The sauce is a perfect combination of salty and sweet, and the thickness is perfect for marinades or to just brush it right onto your meat. This bottle is a must-have in your fridge for those times you want to change things up from how you usually cook your meat and experience a different flavor profile. It’s the perfect way to bring the Korean restaurant experience to your dining room table. Whether it’s beef or pork, this sauce is a tasty choice, but the real deal would be to use it on some traditional Korean meat, like bulgogi or kalbi, to get the full experience. You could even throw it on some veggies if you’re feeling really adventurous. BBQ sauce, of all kinds, isn’t just for meat anymore.
1. Drunk Fruit BBQ Sauce
Looking for something a little different from your regular BBQ sauce? Well, then you will definitely want to get your hands on a bottle of Drunk Fruit BBQ Sauce. Instead of getting sweetness from more typical ingredients like sugar, molasses, or honey, the Drunk Fruit sauce uses, you guessed it, fruits! It might sound a little out of the ordinary, but, oh, how well it works. And in case you were wondering about the “drunk” part of the name… each of the sauces also throws in a little bit of booze to complete the flavor profile. The company produces three sauces: Bourbon Cherry, Blueberry Rum, and Peach Tequila. All very distinct and all very delicious. You can taste each part of them – the fruit, the liquor, and the BBQ sauce are all prominent and present. There are even little bits and pieces of fruits that add a little something and are neither too sweet nor too savory – they’re just right. Trying all three is highly recommended. And while we know that this list is about “grocery store” sauces, these bottles are currently only available online at UncommonGoods. But we thought they were good enough to deserve mentioning anyway.