Our Favorite Barbecue Sauces
*Updated 2020

Our Favorite Bottled Barbecue Sauces

Summer is barbecue time and I like grilling to be simple and easy.  I don’t exactly cut corners, (like serving take out and claiming it’s home-made), but if I can save time by using an equally delicious store-bought product, I will.  Good barbecue sauces that aren’t homemade are hard to come by, but we’ve beaten the bushes and come up with some suggestions our readers swear by.

Bone Suckin’ Sauce gets five stars and has been voted Best Barbecue in America for two years in a row!  It’s a North Carolina–style sauce, meaning that it is sweet and tangy.  It has tomato, cider vinegar, honey and molasses in the ingredients.  It’s thin so it’s great for marinating, basting or even dipping. Reader Anne F. says that the regular and hot versions are both ‘the best!’. $6.49 for a pint.

best store bought barbecue sauce

KC Masterpiece was well recommended by our all-star panel.  It has a smoky, tangy flavor and works well with chicken, beef and pork.  It’s full of garlic and molasses. $3.39.  Go to www.walmart.com and enter KC Masterpiece into the search box.

best bottled barbecue sauce

 Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Sauce Sweet Heat is a thick Texas sauce that has both smoky and sweet flavors.  It’s also great for basting or glazing meat.  An 18 oz. is $10.48.

best barbecue sauce

Maine’s Stonewall Kitchen makes Honey Barbecue Sauce that we love.  It is a sweet barbecue sauce, but with a kick.  It’s a combination of sweet and smoky flavors.  If you don’t go for a very sweet sauce, try the Maple Chipotle Grille Sauce.  It is sweet but not as sweet as the Honey sauce, and combines the spicy chipotle peppers.

Honey Barbecue is $7.95.best store bought bbq sauce

 Maple Chipotle is also $7.95. Best bottled barbecue sauce

I’m not someone who enjoys her mouth on fire, but I realize that many people do.  Dinosaur Wango Tango Habanero HOT BBQ Sauce comes from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que restaurant in New York City.  It is spicy, tasting of cayenne peppers and habanero.  The website describes it as ‘intensely raucous”! I’m scared. One 19 oz. jar is $5.99.

great barbecue sauce

McClard’s Bar-B-Q Sauce is also from a restaurant, this one in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It’s a 4th generation family-owned restaurant.  They’ve cooked a lot of barbecue!   It is a tomato-based thick, peppery, spicy sauce and is good on beef, pork, chicken wings, and pulled-pork. A three 18 oz. bottle package is $15.95.Best Barbecue sauceAnother Maine-made bbq sauce is DennyMike’s Carolina Style BBQ Sauce.  It comes highly recommended from reader Warren S.  It’s a tangy vinegar-based sauce that’s great on meat and seafood.  $4.00 for 14 oz.Best bottled barbecue sauce

I’m adding Calhoun’s B-B-Q Sauce to this list. A friend from Tennessee brought some as a house warming gift. I’m sending him back to get some more! $6.95  Great BBQ Sauce

Home Made

If you have some spare time and want to make your own sauce, the following recipe comes from our friend and subscriber Kathy A.  Having been on the inhaling end of many meals she has prepared I can tell you that she’s a fantastic cook and this recipe is a keeper.  Bringing a pint of this sauce to a hostess would be a huge hit!

Kathy A.’s BBQ SAUCE-

This recipe freezes beautifully and can be doubled…

4-5 large onions, chopped fine

One or two large bunches of celery, chopped fine

4 TBL white cider vinegar

8 TBL lemon juice

4 TBL brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cayenne red pepper powder

2 tsp. horseradish

2 Cups “real” ketchup

6 TBL Worcestershire sauce

4 tsp. mustard powder

2 tsp. sweet (NOT smoked) paprika

1 1/2 Cups water

1 Cup red wine (leftover or “off” red wine is fine in this dish!)

Make the sauce on the stove in a large stockpot by first sautéing the onions and celery until translucent. In a separate large bowl, mix up all the rest of the ingredients with a French whisk, and add to the sautéed vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer for an hour uncovered until it is thickened and sticky, and then simmer for another 30-60 minutes covered. This is not an exact recipe, and is best used as a base for your creativity (and whatever else you might have in the  refrigerator/pantry that day!)

Derrick Riches from The Spruce has his own thoughts on barbecue sauces. He has a lot to say about vinegar barbecue sauces and their origins.

Fire Up the Grill and some more ideas from A Sharp Eye

Get your barbecue just right so the sauce

Charcoal Grilling Tips


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