Your grilling game is only as solid as your sauce. But with so many BBQ sauces to choose from, it’s tough to know if you should shop by what you’re cooking, who you’re serving or the price point. So, in order to make your decision a little easier, we're highlighting our 15 favorite grocery store BBQ sauces. (It was a sticky job, but someone had to do it.)
Most Versatile: Annie’s Organic Original BBQ Sauce
Keep a few bottles of this vinegary sauce in your pantry, because it tastes delicious on absolutely everything. Especially Annie’s white cheddar mac.
Most Kid-Friendly: Tessemae’s Honey BBQ
You won’t have to hear, “Mooomm, it’s too spicy,” with this simply sweet choice in your arsenal. The kids will have no problem handling the mild tang of mustard behind all that organic honey. Pork and mustard are a classic match, so we recommend mixing it into a slow-cooker meal-prep burrito bowl made with pork shoulder, or drenching slow-cooker pulled pork in it for sandwiches.
Best Buy: Bull’s Eye Original Barbecue Sauce
If you’re looking for an all-around asset to your condiment shelf, look no further. Use this bold, thick sauce for dipping, spreading or grilling. Its molasses base and slight smoke flavor will give a hickory-laced kick to cauliflower nuggets or oven-baked wings. The only thing bolder than the flavor is the price.
If You’re Serving a Crowd: Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
This party essential is equal parts smoky and sweet and works wonders on everything from pulled pork to chicken thighs. Guests will love the flavor and you’ll love the price tag: A pack of six costs about $3 per bottle.
If You Like It Hot: Stubb’s Spicy BBQ Sauce
Black and red pepper take this Texas fave to a new level, which packs a punch without excessive heat. It’ll give a kick to crispy baked chicken burritos, cauliflower sweet potato burgers or beef empanadas. (If you want a sauce that’ll make you cry, try Pepper Palace’s Reaper, made from the world’s hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper.)
Most Foolproof Marinade: Lillie’s Q Smoky Barbeque Sauce
Slow-cooked ribs and brisket dream of getting dressed in this stuff. It’s a Memphis-style sauce balanced by sweet apple juice and brown sugar, spicy Southern cayenne and a dash of liquid smoke.
For Clean Eaters: Primal Kitchen Hawaiian Style BBQ Sauce
Say “aloha” to a sauce that’s 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.
If You’re Making Seafood: Stonewall Kitchen Smoky Peach Whiskey Sauce
While you can dress up burgers, wings, pork and beyond with this Southern-inspired sauce, we think seafood is its soulmate. It’s loaded with brown sugar, honey and smoked peaches. We see this bringing the best out of Vietnamese-style summer rolls, shrimp stir-fry or a salmon burger piled high with coleslaw.
If You’re Making Ribs: Montgomery Inn Barbecue Sauce
This sauce is from a world-famous rib joint in Montgomery, Ohio. “It’s more sweet than spicy and definitely saucier than it is thick, but it’s really versatile and a good general BBQ sauce,” says PureWow food editor Katherine Gillen, who grew up eating at Montgomery Inn. Use warm on any protein or for dipping.
Best White BBQ Sauce: Big Bob Gibson Original White Sauce
Don’t let the mayo base scare you. “This tangy, vinegar-based sauce is a regional fave from Alabama, and I love it on wings,” says PureWow executive editor Candace Davison. If you love dipping barbecue in ranch dressing, this one’s for you.
Best North Carolina Style: Bone Suckin’ Sauce
This sauce was developed in 1987 from a family recipe. Its traditional vinegar notes are softened by honey, molasses and natural hickory smoke. You’ll get zip from the horseradish and lemon juice, too. Try it on a salmon BLT or cauliflower “tater” tots.
Best South Carolina Style: Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold Barbecue Sauce
This type of mustard-based sauce is the tasty result of German immigration to the South. Spices, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar give this its signature zing. Try it on grilled pork chops, chicken breasts or veggies, or dare to dip with sweet-and-sour pork skewers with pineapple or crispy tofu bites.
Best Kansas City Style: 365 Everyday Value Kansas City Love Barbecue Sauce
Organic molasses keeps this pick true to its Missouri roots. It’s vinegar-forward with a surprising kick from crushed chili flakes and red jalapeño. Use it on mini bacon-wrapped meatloaf, pulled pork, chickpea burgers or baked quinoa chicken nuggets.
If You Love Korean BBQ: Bibigo Korean BBQ Marinade and Sauce
Can’t ever get your fill of bulgogi? Same. This acts as a marinade and topper that’s both savory and sweet (hello, soy sauce, ginger and apple and pear purees). Slather it on everything from beef to fish, or give pineapple Korean chicken thighs a whirl.
Most Convincing Sugar-Free: Guy’s Award Winning Original BBQ Sauce
Amazon reviewers aren’t shy about their love for this sugar-free staple. The tomato-rich, slightly spicy sauce is great for dishes like slow-cooker pulled chicken, coconut shrimp and one-pot mac and cheese. Don’t feel limited to the standard flavor, either: Smokey Bacon, Smokey Garlic, Spicy and Sweet Thunder are also all sugar-free.