HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Store Bought BBQ Sauce Survey

Question of the day = My fav store bought BBQ sauce in Bullseye, I want to try other brands to see if I like any others better. What do you think about Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce? and what is your favorite brand of store bought BBQ sauce and what flavor?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. We really like Bronco Bob's Bacon Chipotle, but it is tough to find. Our AJ's used to carry it, but now only stock some of the others.

    Good luck,


    1. I won't be much help - I either make my own or buy Joe's BBQ sauce at the restaurant in Gilbert.

      Good luck on your hunt.

      Joe's Real Barbecue
      301 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234

      1. "Ladies and Gentlemen; I'm a cook" Not too sweet.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Surfwench

          That would be Stubb's, I believe..................

          1. re: Mayor of Melonville

            Stubb's is good. And I think is readily available at regular ol' grocery stores.

        2. I like the Sweet Baby Rays. It has a nice flavor. If I want spicy bbq then I add a little hot sauce. Either way is good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: juli5122

            I was introduced to Sweet Baby Ray by a slavic doctor of our acquaintance who said, (imagine with accent), "Is not comparison to pork with Sweet Baby Ray."

            1. re: juli5122

              Sweet Baby Ray's for us here too. The kids like the original, but I like sweet & spicy.

            2. I write on grilling and barbecue. Some of my favorites are the small batch online sauces like Firefighter's, Big Butz, Game Day Eats and Nephew's. On the shelf across a fairly decent area would be Allegro (and add their marinades too which are fabulous) and quickly becoming easy to find would be Stubb's. Bone Suckin' is quite popular as well (but I find it a little too sweet but still good).

              1. As far a big brand that should be readily available in any decent sized supermarket, I like Bullseye as well. I tend to buy Sweet Baby Ray's much more often because of the price. During holidays, Sweet Baby Ray's can be found for like 69 cents at a bunch of stores around here, so, it's my stock up brand of choice to always have on hand. I go for original flavor, or they make a "honey chipotle" which has a green emblem on the label. It has a decent creeper heat to it.

                  1. re: bbqboy

                    That was a good thread, my fav still GA Pig or Blue Front

                  2. I bought some stubbs and didn't think it had enough oomph, so I added a chipotle, some cherry & apricot preserves, lemon juice, molasses, tamarind paste, and some other things that I disremember and cooked it for a while, the result was the best thing I've ever tasted.
                    I admit I like a sweet element in BBQ sauce, along with some tartness, and a lot of flavor, then I don't use very much.

                    1. For sweet sauce - we love Sweet Baby Ray's. For not too sweet sauce, I usually make my own.

                      1. I like my own best, slightly sweet, tangy with vinegar, and a nice lingering of hot spice that doesn't kill your taste buds. However, when I eat store made, I like anything with heat, and one of the best I found at a farmers market, made with mango and habanero peppers, sugar, and not sure what else. I'd love to try to recreate that one, it was a knock out on baby baby back ribs.
                        The other more commonly made, like Bullseye, Krafts, I pass. I just hate the fact that if I buy a bbq sauce and I have to doctor it up to make it taste good, what's the point.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          All store-bought barbeque sauces require doctoring. For that reason, almost any sauce that is on sale will do for a base. I mix them half and half with mojo criollo (Cuban barbeque marinade) and some of the following:

                          Lime juice
                          pineapple juice
                          Thai chilies and garlic
                          passionfruit concentrate
                          guava nectar
                          Captain Morgan's rum (the vanilla flavor is nice)
                          A1 sauce

                          1. re: flavrmeistr

                            No, all store bought sauces do no require that. Gates and Arthur Bryant's, to name 2 KC
                            area sauces are fine the way they are. They would be unrecognizable with that stuff in them.

                        2. One more vote for Sweet Baby Ray's, either the original or honey chipotle.

                          Sonny's Real Pit Barbecue (a Florida-based BBQ chain) sells its own sauces in bottles, and its sweet sauce is one of my favorites as well.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                            Sonny's sauce is great... they changed the recipe for awhile and put cheaper ingredients in it (msg, ick) but apparantly that didn't go well and they've changed it back again.

                          2. Anything with less than 5-7 grams of sugar per 2 TBS is worth a try for me. So far, that narrows it down to D.L. Jardines Killer for me, homemade, or NC style, not Texas.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mcf

                              Lately, I've been loving another sauce by the same company, Jardine's... their Mesquite sauce is very smoky, very low sugar, got some bite.

                            2. I used to conduct taste tests for a grocery chain. The most popular bbq sauce we tried was Dinosaur brand, their original iirc.

                              I recently tasted a new one which is very good, Outta The Park! This is NC made and fairly new, so not sure of the distribution range.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: meatn3

                                I don't think Dinosaur is that widely available. We like it, too, but I usually buy it when I am in NY, close to their home base.

                                1. re: jeanmarieok

                                  Good point - I've seen it at Whole Foods across the country. Not so much at conventional groceries.

                                2. re: meatn3

                                  +1 for Dinosaur, but you're right, it's not available everywhere.

                                  1. re: sr44

                                    Do Wegmans stores outside NY sell Dinosaur products? Just the shelf-stable stuff, or the meat & beans in the meat case?

                                3. Make your own. it is so easy and odds are you have everything in your pantry.

                                  Here's mine which is a knock off of City Market in Luling, TX. It's a traditional central TX sauce...

                                  1 8oz can of tomato sauce
                                  1/2 cup yellow mustard
                                  2 Tbs white vinegar
                                  3 Tbs brown sugar
                                  2 Tbs Louisiana hot sauce (not Tabasco)
                                  2 teaspoons black pepper

                                  Simmer for 30 minutes. It's money.

                                  1. Roadhouse, available mainly in the Midwest. A little more expensive, but well worth it for the taste and quality of ingredients.

                                    1. I use this for ribs... mixture of KC Masterpiece original flavor and Open Pit original (either equal parts or a little extra KC because it is sweeter). Open Pit is hard to find but Walmart carries it (one of the only things I buy threre!).

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: melpy

                                        Melpy, if you happen to live in California, Nevada, Texas or Arizona, the "99 Cent Only" stores are selling Open Pit Barbecue sauce for (you guessed it) 99 cents a bottle.

                                        I look for a sauce that doesn't list HFCS or some form of sugar as its first ingredient. I read years ago in some cooking mag that a good BBQ sauce should list tomato as its first ingredient, so that's the first thing I look for. Bulls Eye's spicy sauce and Cattleman's are two that I've used and liked. I know Stubbs is very popular but I find it too acidic and vinegary.

                                        1. re: MysticYoYo

                                          The first ingredient for my own personal BBQ sauce is Coca Cola. Ketchup is second. Then again, I like a sauce that is on the thin side.

                                      2. We like Sweet Baby Ray's new chipolte flavor.

                                        1. I like Stubbs and Roadhouse.

                                          1. i use

                                            for picking new sauces to try...

                                            for just supermarket sauce...
                                            i usually go with kc masterpiece...
                                            or sometimes even kraft...

                                            5 Replies
                                              1. re: bbqboy

                                                when its bogo andi have a coupon and im making a large pack of bbq chicken for picnics...
                                                so no ..not all the time...

                                                i also like bone suckin sauce...

                                                1. re: srsone

                                                  Oh, its OK. Now Kraft I would have to doctor as flavrmeister described above. :)

                                                  1. re: bbqboy

                                                    usually when i have to bring chicken to our friends picnics..(they dont care so much for brand as long as it says bbq sauce on the label)

                                                    one time i dry rubbed ribs with mccormick mesquite rub and finished withkraft bbq sauce...they told me it was the best ribs they ever made/had...

                                                    so their bar isnt set to high...
                                                    i have been trying for years to elevate their tastes ....

                                                    1. re: bbqboy

                                                      When I first started doing barbecue competitions (mid 90's) most teams would use some form of doctored up Kraft. Not so much any more.

                                                      I like Gate's or Blues Hog.

                                              2. Stubbs does not use HFCS and is by far the best store bought sauce. Dinosaur is good as well but it does list green peppers as an ingredient. Strange.

                                                Stubbs makes a Hickory Bourbon and a Honey Pecan flavor which will knock your socks off.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: CDouglas

                                                  "Stubbs does not use HFCS and is by far the best store bought sauce."

                                                  Tastes differ.

                                                2. Annie B's for me. Order a couple bottles every few months. Lasts a while.


                                                  1. I've tried several of the grocery store available sauces, and for me, Sweet Baby Ray's is the only one worth buying. I have to buy two bottles at a time because my husband uses it as a condiment on almost everything.

                                                    1. My favorite store-bought is probably Cattlemen's Still on the sweet side for me, but I can doctor it different ways, depending on what it's going to sauce. Sweet Baby Ray's is good, but just too sweet for my tastes. I think I tried SBR's "Sweet and Spicy" or something like that once, and liked it better. My favorite bottled sauce is not really a store-bought sauce, at least not here in Ohio, but it would be Rudy's, from the San Antonio and Austin area chain. I like that stuff a lot.

                                                      1. The most praise I've gotten from folks I've had over for ribs were the times I've used Sweet Baby Ray's or KC Masterpiece - both bought on sale with coupons that ended up being pretty much free. Not my personal favorites, but most folks tend to like sweet sauce for ribs. Pretty sure there's a style of KC - maybe the original - that doesn't use HFCS.

                                                        1. just tried "garland jack's secret six" texas style bbq sauce (original flavor) from kraft. wins in head to head with kc masterpiece (original flavor) in yesterday's test.

                                                          good texas=style tangy tomato-based not-really-sweet sauce, with medium not gloppy body. medium spice, with a little heat. having just gotten bbq from texas in south texas, this sauce was a dead ringer for the bbq joint stuff. two thumbs up.

                                                          though not tested head to head, i think i might take this over sweet baby ray's.

                                                          will do a head to head with cattleman's next.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                            I'm currenly using Rufus Teauge's as my sauce of Choice. I use the "Honey Sweet" but I like my sauce really sweet and not really spicy at all, so someone with more conventional tastes might do better going for the "Touch of Heat" (or for people who like to burn, the "Blazin' Hot")

                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                              KC Masterpiece original gets my vote for store bought. However, I always pick up two jars of Williamson Bros when in the Marrietta GA area which lasts me about half the year. .

                                                            1. I make my own - as others have said, it is so easy and so much better.

                                                              I will use Bone Suckin Sauce. It's very good and very close to what I make myself. It's becoming easier to find in stores, too.


                                                              1. I've recently found Peter Luger Steak Sauce at a local market. Not technically a BBQ sauce, but really, really good. A little pricey, perhaps, but I had to try it and have gotten hooked.

                                                                10 Replies
                                                                1. re: Midlife

                                                                  Luger's isn't even for steak. It's a sauce for their tomato/sweet onion salad.

                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                    Excuse me? The sauce I referred to (almost 2 years ago) had a different label than those in the link below, but was most definitely branded as a steak sauce. Not saying it wouldn't work on that salad as well, but it IS certainly for steak.


                                                                    I haven't been to the restaurant in 20 years, though. Do they Suggest it NOT be used on steak ? ....... I mean beyond the purist argument that a steak of their quality needs no sauce.

                                                                    1. re: Midlife

                                                                      Yes, they more than suggest that the sauce isn't to be used on their steak. I have heard the waiters get quite vocal about the sauce not being used on the steak. It is only served along side their app/salad of sliced raw sweet onions and ripe tomatoes.

                                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                                        Apparently, though, they're happy to let the vast unwashed public think the sauce is for steaks. I get the 'great beef needs no help' thing but Lugers just lost several points with me due to the seeming hypocrisy of this.

                                                                        1. re: Midlife

                                                                          Looking at their website and their info on the "steak sauce" it seems they may have backed down on their approach. When the daughter took over running the place around ten years ago there were a few small changes made.

                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                            All I can add is that the Luger Steak Sauce I bought didn't have much resemblance to anything I'd think to put on a salad. But then again, who am I to question one of the best steak houses in the world. could be that's why I remember it as being so good. Maybe a salad of tomatoes and onion WOULD work.

                                                                      2. re: Midlife

                                                                        Which makes me wonder why then, it is sold in the racks OVER the beef section of the meat department, rather than in the dressing aisle.

                                                                        I don't usually use sauces/marinades on beef, except:

                                                                        1. Stubbs Coffee/molasses on kabobs ont he grill
                                                                        2. Paul Prudhomme Steak blackening spice (not often, but nice onte h grill)
                                                                        3. Some place in TX (Black's or Smitty's maybe?) serveda thin sauce for meat. Great stuff. Never seent eh like again
                                                                        4. Jamie Oliver hasa great Worcestershire marinade for steak in his America cookbook

                                                                        1. re: Westy

                                                                          A big second on the Paul Prudhomme. However, the "Redfish Magic" is where it's at for beef and other all blackening applications. The "Steak Magic" has tarragon or some other herb that gives it a weird perfumey taste.

                                                                          1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                            Not sure I ever saw the redfish one. His salmon magic works well, too.

                                                                            I tried genuinely "blackening" a few dishes. Whoever invented must have been in a restaurant (big vents) or outdoors. I set off EVERY SINGLE fire alarm in our house. All of them.

                                                                            It was a pretty good meal, though. Minus the glares from my wife...

                                                                            1. re: Westy

                                                                              It's definitely an outdoor activity. In Florida, I do all my cooking outside. Up north, too, except in bad weather. Blackening makes a lot of smoke, but--oh, so good! I buy the 24 oz. container of Redfish Magic on line for about $15 including postage. It lasts me about a year.

                                                                  2. First i enjoyed kc masterpiece,then it was sweet baby rays,now i really enjoy Guy Fieri bourbon brown sugar sweet & sticky sauce,sold at local shoprite,Very Good sauce!!

                                                                    1. I like the Stubbs Spicy. But agree, tastes differ from person to person, YMMV...

                                                                      1. No votes for Head Country? Here's one! It's not too sweet, has some tang, and is flavorful, not one-dimensional. I don't know how widely available it is, but I'm in New Mexico, and I know it's not from around here. Only in certain stores, though. It's my and my SO's fave. Has anyone else even tried it? (mcf, it has 11 g of carb and 5 g of sugars per 2 TBS. not sure which you're looking at.

                                                                        1. I've liked a couple of the Jack Daniel's sauces. Don't really remember which but they had a touch of sweetness.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: chocolatetartguy

                                                                            I found them too chemical for my tastes. That being said, i had decent success suing their "marinade in a bag" while making some london broil.

                                                                            I sincerely loathed the "Southern Comfort" marinades that were out many years back. Cloying, awful, nasty stuff.

                                                                          2. My new favorite bottled barbecue sauce is from a homegrown restaurant empire on the rise, 4 Rivers Smokehouse, based right here in the Orlando area. They first opened in 2008 and now have three extremely popular local locations. They're probably the best barbecue in Florida, and their Signature Sauce is awesome (and well worth a try via mail order, for all you non-locals).


                                                                            1. Our favorite is Bone Suckin' Sauce, especially for pork.


                                                                              1. In this order:

                                                                                My own homemade to which I add Hickory liquid smoke.
                                                                                Sweet Baby Ray's (I usually use this in recipes like BBQ Ham & Pineapple pizza sauce).
                                                                                KC Masterpiece.

                                                                                1. I like a vinegary spicy sauce. With that in mind I go for either Stubbs spicy or Bone Suckin spicy. These are both more in line with what I make myself. KC and the others are just too sweet for me.

                                                                                  1. I love Maull's, but it's only available in St. Louis and nearby areas, so generally I make my own. Most nationally available brands are too sweet and not complex enough.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. I've stepped away from Sweet Baby Ray's because it has HFCS. Bought Bullseye for my pulled pork a few months ago and *love* it. Will be my go-to (with some doctoring as I did with the pulled pork).

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        I never bought it because its total sugar content was higher than most desserts I eat. In 2 TBS!

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          Hence the "Sweet" leading adjective in its name. :-)

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            Yes, I know, but with 1/3 the sugar it would STILL be sweet! There's sweet, and then there's SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET. :-)

                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                              Looks like a lot of people like SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET. :-)

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                I KNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW, RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT!? :-)

                                                                                      2. We like a variety of bbq sauces.
                                                                                        We are close to Dinosaur BBQ and we like the original and Wango Tango (for a kick). Their dry rub, Cajun Foreplay, is good too.
                                                                                        Been a big fan of Arthur Bryant's original on pork, pulled or ribs. Wonderful unique taste.
                                                                                        Regular choices are Cattleman's, KC Masterpiece, and Jim Beam.
                                                                                        We use Stubbs for a marinade.

                                                                                        1. Sweet Baby Ray's is my usual sauce, but more recently I've been dropping in at Buffalo Wild Wings to buy bottles of their Hot BBQ. That stuff has a good kick and is seriously addictive.

                                                                                          1. I like Trader Joe's All-Natural Barbecue Sauce. Besides tasting good (on the sweet side), it's probably healthier than some others; the ingredients list is water, tomato paste, sugar, distilled vinegar, corn starch, salt, spice, molasses, natural flavor, caramel color, onion and garlic.

                                                                                            1. I just posted this on another thread but since I have discovered Sweet Baby Ray's it is my go to BBQ sauce for all needs. If I want it spicey for BBQ wings with a kick I'll add some cayenne pepper to it...but by far hands down my favorite BBQ sauce.

                                                                                              1. Open pit

                                                                                                it is nice and tangy and does not have liquid smoke in it (don't like that stuff at all!)

                                                                                                1. Only on the internet but Jeff Foxworthy's Original Grilling Sauce is really good, however, the postage ups the price

                                                                                                  1. Sweet Baby Ray's is our go-to brand. I like the original and the hickory/brown sugar.

                                                                                                    I'm not sure if it is a regional thing, but if they sell it in your area, you should try Bone Suckin' Sauce. It's thinner than your typical bbq sauce, but it tastes absolutely fantastic.

                                                                                                    1. we did a blind taste test tonight. i don't know BBQ very well - i love it, but i'm not learned or experienced enough. i purchased two this weekend, and we had one in the fridge the BF bought a long time ago. i'm planning on making pulled pork this weekend, and want to do an overnight rub and then a slow cooking in the sauce, with a trip under the broiler for the finish (sorry, apartment living).

                                                                                                      all three of these were purchased at a supermarket, all tasted just by teaspoon.

                                                                                                      the first was a nice combo of sweet and vinegary, almost fruity (which the BF said almost tasted like pineapple), a tad smokey, but very mild as far as heat. kind of fell off in flavor at the end for me. but i think i'd like it if i made the rub spicy.

                                                                                                      the second was too sweet, with a chemically taste. very thick. smokey enough.

                                                                                                      the third packed an aggressive wallop of smoke and heat, with sweet/vinegar after tones, and actual chili flakes in the sauce. HOT. not ghost pepper hot, just hot for bbq sauce. the more i tasted this one, the more i liked it.

                                                                                                      obviously, my favorite was #3, with #1 closely following if it had had more heat, with 2 being the one i will pour down the sink when the BF isn't looking.


                                                                                                      1: Stubbs Hickory Bourbon
                                                                                                      2. Everett & Jones Hot (local Bay Area chain, which i really like - don't flame me, i already said i don't know that much about Q!)
                                                                                                      3. Kraft Hickory BBQ. bleah.

                                                                                                      i think i'd like to try a hot Stubbs next time.

                                                                                                      Thus ends this very scientific experiment. make of it what you will.

                                                                                                      1. Yeah............. I know.................BBQ sauce from a company in Beverly Hills? Probably like that Pace Salsa from Newww Yawwwk Citty. But no!!!!!

                                                                                                        Gayle's Sweet n Sassy sauces are really, really good. Not a huge distribution, I don't think. I can only find it at a local butcher/market, even though their site says they're at Ralph's markets. Trying Whole Foods next time.


                                                                                                        1. Anything without liquid smoke! yuk

                                                                                                          Open pit is the one I like the most now, Texas Best spicy is the one I miss the most

                                                                                                          ah well

                                                                                                          1. Lea & Perrins makes a good sauce. It is a little on the sweet side which I normally don't care for but this one is very good.

                                                                                                            1. Oddly enough, I've never bought commercial BBQ sauce. I make my own.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: njmarshall55

                                                                                                                Hey, we found the guy that used to make those Grey Poupon commercials, lol