Sauces are essential to so many types of meals. Whether you use them as a dipping sauce for party food such as breadsticks and tortilla chips, or to dip samosas and spring rolls into, or even to add to your sandwiches and burgers, sauces are an important part of modern cuisine.
This is no different to bbq sauce. Variations of the sauce have existed as early as the 18th century, but it wasn't until the 1950s that it began to be produced and sold throughout America as the sauce we know today.Contrary to what the name may suggest, the sauce isn't only for when you have barbeques. Instead, it has a barbeque inspired smoky flavour that can be used both when you're grilling up in your backyard or even when you're not. We will be introducing you to some of the best store bought bbq sauce that you can enjoy to add a taste of smoky sweet goodness to all of your meals.
The best pick is the Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Que Sauce. This sauce comes in a variety of options such as sweet heat, sticky sweet or even hickory bourbon barbeque, which allows you to find the perfect barbeque flavour. The original version of the sauce is made with non-GMO ingredients, is kosher and does not include any preservatives so you can enjoy the sauce without feeling guilty. This sauce also does not include any high-fructose corn syrup which is linked to many health issues and is made with high-quality ingredients for the most authentic flavour available.
The best budget is the Bibigo Gochujang sauce in the barbeque flavour. This product is very unique as it is inspired by the popular Korean chilli paste called gochujang. In recent years, Korean food has become more widely accessible and available in many areas around the world, but it is always great to be able to get authentic tastes in your own home. The Bibigo Gochujang in barbeque is one way you can do this without sacrificing your wallet. It is made with tomato paste, apple paste, defatted soybean powder, red pepper powder (which includes wheat) and more. Though this product is not suitable for those who need to eat a gluten-free diet, it is a great option for others - especially as it comes in an easy to squeeze bottle.
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Store Bought Bbq Sauce
1. Stubb's Original Bar-B-Q Sauce
Let's begin with the Original Bar-B-Q Sauce by Stubb's. This sauce is made with non-GMO and gluten-free ingredients such as tomato puree, distilled vinegar, molasses, sugar, spices such as paprika, black pepper and chilli pepper, corn starch, onion, garlic and more.
This product also includes xantham gum which is used to thicken the sauce which is safe to consume as long as you don't eat more than 15g of this ingredient every day.
If you do, you may have bloating and intestinal issues such as excessive gas. Lastly, Stubb's does not include any high-fructose corn syrup which is an artificial sweetener that has been linked to the increasing rate of obesity and other medical conditions such as fatty liver disease.
This sauce is specifically great alongside all types of meat thanks to its tomato flavour and thick consistency. With 30 calories per serving (which is 2 tablespoons), 250mg of sodium and 5g of sugars, this sauce is suitable for everyone without being harmful to your health, just as long as you keep to the recommended serving size!
2. Bibigo Gochujang Sauce - Barbeque
The next item on our list is unique for two reasons. Firstly, it is a Korean brand that specialises in gochujang - a paste made from chilli peppers used in a variety of delicious Korean dishes. Secondly, the sauce can also be used as a glaze - making it versatile easy to use.
Don't worry about this sauce being spicy. Even though it is made with gochujang sauce which is made from chilli peppers, it is not spicy at all. Children and those who don't like spice can still enjoy the sauce without a worry.
This sauce is made from gochujang sauce which contains soy sauce, brown sugar, wheat, onion and water. It also has cooking rice wine, defatted soybean powder, citric acid, apple paste, modified corn starch and vinegar.It has 22 calories per 15g serving, 279mg of sodium, 7g of carbs and 6g of sugars. However, be mindful that this sauce usually does not work well with lighter meals such as salads and may be too overpowering in such dishes.
3. Bull's Eye Original Barbecue Sauce
The next item on our list is the Bull's Eye Original Barbecue Sauce. This sauce has been going strong for the last 30 years. It has a strong flavour that is smoky with a hint of spice and honey.
You can use this sauce for both spreading and dipping, making it a great versatile option for many kinds of dishes and meals, especially as it is thick in terms of its consistency.
Each 2 tablespoon serving contains 50 calories, 280mg of sodium, 14g of carb and 11g of sugar. The sugars, especially in this product, are quite high especially considering the recommended daily amount of sugar is 37g for men and 25g for women.
The first and main ingredient that this sauce is made from is high-fructose corn syrup. This is an artificial sweetener that has been linked to obesity and fatty liver disease, so be very careful with how much of this product you use.It is also made from tomato puree, vinegar, molasses, modified food starch, salt, apple cider vinegar, mustard flour, natural hickory smoke flavour, dried garlic and onion, honey and a preservative called potassium sorbate. Though this preservative is great for the longevity of the sauce, it is not the best option for those who prefer to eat and natural and clean as possible.
4. Daddy Sam's Barbeque Sauce
This next product comes in a vintage-looking glass jar which not only looks great but is also reusable and better for the environment than plastic bottles.
This sauce is impressive and doesn't include a range of ingredients that could cause issues for people with allergies or certain dietary requirements. For example, Daddy Sam's doesn't have any artificial flavours, preservatives, MSGs, artificial thickeners, no added water or dairy, high-fructose corn syrup, nuts and peanuts, has no cholesterol or fat, and no crustaceans or soy.
To put it simply, this sauce is clean and suitable for those with health conditions like high cholesterol and also for those who are allergic to soy. It is also certified Kosher and is suitable for those who are gluten-free. Ultimately, this sauce is made with all-natural ingredients just as it was when it was first made by Daddy Sam himself on his old ranch.
Such ingredients include molasses, vinegar, tomato paste, mustard seed, paprika, turmeric, jalapeno pepper powder, lime juice, onion and garlic. The lime juice and jalapeno pepper powder offer a slight kick of heat to this sauce and a unique twist on traditional barbeque sauce. There are approximately 80 calories per serving, 320mg of sodium and 19g of sugar. These are all quite high, especially the amount of sugar per serving.
5. Sweet Baby Ray's Original BBQ Sauce
This barbeque sauce is award-winning and famous all around the world. It is a popular brand of the barbeque sauce that many people have heard and think of first when you think of barbeque sauce.
It is made from distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, modified food starch, tomato paste, pineapple juice, corn syrup, garlic, molasses, a preservative (sodium benzoate) and natural smoke flavour.
With 70 calories per 2 tablespoon serving, 290mg of sodium and 16g of sugar, you may want to take care not to exceed the serving as you very well may easily consume much more sugar and calories than you may intend.
6. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Sensuous Slathering BBQ Sauce
The next sauce is the Bar B Que sauce by Dinosaur. If you're on the lookout for a barbeque sauce that isn't high in sugar, you're in luck as this sauce only has 6g of sugar per serving.
The main ingredient that this sauce is made of is crushed tomatoes and it doesn't contain any preservatives. It also has vinegar, brown sugar, spices, onion, garlic, natural smoke flavour, lemon oil, green bell pepper and xanthan gum which is used to thicken the sauce.
Unlike a lot of other barbeque sauces on the market, Dinosaur doesn't have an overpowering sweet taste. Instead, it has a slight sourness to it with a hint of spice in its aftertaste. This sauce is also low in calories - with only 28 calories per serving - and also only has 177g of sodium.
7. True Made Foods Vegetable BBQ Sauce
As a brand, True Made Foods aims to provide the healthiest options without sacrificing flavour. They believe in using vegetables to sweeten their sauces instead of high fructose corn syrup which happens to be the first choice of ingredient for many other brands.
They also focus on giving back to the local communities that they grow their vegetables from which also ensures that they get good quality ingredients.
True Made Foods also refuse to use any artificial flavours, colours, sweeteners or preservatives to sustain a healthy product that won't harm your health. It is made from tomato puree, vegetable puree that is made from carrots, spinach and butternut squash, vinegar, salt, light brown cane sugar, garlic powder, spices and onion powder. There are around 35 calories, 280mg of sodium and 7g of sugar per serving.
8. Stubb's BBQ Sauce - Smoky Mesquite
Though we've already mentioned Stubb's barbeque sauce to begin with, the smoky mesquite flavour is a little different to the original version of the sauce.
This version is made from mesquite which is a type of pea that is high in protein and potassium has many health benefits such as preventing strokes and high blood pressure.
This sauce is also made with gluten-free ingredients such as sugar, distilled vinegar, honey, molasses, xanthan gum and natural mesquite smoke flavour. If you prefer sweeter barbeque sauces over spicier ones, this sauce is a great option. It has 50 calories per serving, 390mg of sodium and 10g of sugar.
9. Rufus Teague Blazin’ Hot BBQ Sauce
Not only is this barbeque sauce non-GMO, but it is also gluten-free and kosher. Unlike other barbeque sauces that tend to be sweet, the Rufus Teague Blazin’ Hot BBQ Sauce is not just spicy, but ridiculously so.
Whether you can handle heat or want to challenge yourself, this barbeque sauce is suitable for you. Be wary if you have stomach issues as this could cause some discomfort for those who don’t eat spicy food often or who have certain health conditions.
It is made from all-natural ingredients that are free from GMO and which do not include high fructose corn syrup. Some ingredients that are used in its recipe are tomato puree, brown sugar, molasses, distilled vinegar, raisin paste, salt, tamari soy sauce, orange juice concentrate, spice, paprika, dried onion, chipotle pepper, anchovy paste and brown mustard. Be mindful of this product as it is not suitable for vegans or those who don’t eat fish.It has 60 calories per serving, 350mg of sodium and 13g of sugar. The sugar in this product is quite high so be mindful of how much you consume.
10. Trader Joe’s Carolina Gold Barbeque Sauce
Last but not least we have the Carolina Gold Barbeque Sauce by Trader Joe’s. This sauce uses mustard as its base and has a sweet and smoky taste. It has 60 calories per serving and 13g of sugar. It also has 410mg of sodium which is quite high.
The ingredients include cane sugar, yellow mustard, distilled vinegar, tomato puree, sea salt, corn starch, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, spices, garlic, onion, natural smoke flavour, xanthan gum.
If you like both sweet and spicy flavours, this sauce offers a mixture of both without being too overpowering. It has a unique flavour that can’t match any other barbeque sauce on the market but is delicious nonetheless.
Things to Consider Before Buying Store Bought BBQ Sauce
When it comes to food, there are always many things to consider before you purchase it, let alone consume it. This is no different to store bought bbq sauce that you may be thinking of getting. Whatever you consume should be analysed so that you can get a product with a flavour that suits you, and which won’t irritate you in any way.
Barbeque sauce has been used for decades to add flavour to potato fries, burgers, grilled meats and more. It is one of the most popular condiments in the Western world and comes in many variations. In this section, we will be going over some key areas to consider before you set out to buy a bottle of your own so that you're not confused when it's time to go shopping.
Of course, the flavour is arguably the most important aspect to consider first, as without it you will end up with a product you wish you’d never bought.
To decide what to look out for, think about the type of flavours you enjoy in your current diet. Do you have a sweet tooth and love the taste of meat with a splash of sugar? Are you into savoury and salty toppings that could season your dish? Or are you crazy for spice and love some heat with every bite you take? Depending on what you prefer, you may know which kind of barbeque sauce to go for.
Be mindful of the types of meals you will be using the sauce with and who you will be cooking for, as you may want to cater to your guests who have their personal tastes.
All in all, you will most likely expect a smoky flavour despite picking between salty, savoury and spicy variations of the sauce. We will be focusing on this a little later on.
In terms of flavour, think about how tangy you would like your sauce to be too. Some sauces include juices like orange juice or pineapple juice which can be citrusy and can add a layer of flavour to your meals that is unmatched.
The next most important feature to consider is the ingredients. This is crucial as it will not only give you more of an idea on how the product tastes but it will also tell you if it is suitable for all who will be consuming it.
Being aware of allergies or certain dietary requirements is always important, and reading the ingredients list at the back of the bottle will help you do this. Also, reading the ingredients list will allow you to know which healthy and unhealthy ingredients you will be consuming and whether there are preservatives or artificial sweeteners and flavours that are added to the recipe.
Depending on the brand and type of barbeque sauce you choose to get, you may also get some vitamins and minerals with every squirt. Barbeque sauce typically uses tomato puree as its main base which will offer some vitamin C and antioxidants, as tomatoes are high in both of these things.
It’s always good to know how many calories you are consuming too. Of course, this is important for those of you who are watching your weight or who are trying to be more healthy. You can expect a serving of barbeque sauce to have anywhere from 10-100 calories depending on the brand and bottle. If calories are important to you, make sure you read the nutrition label at the back of the bottle so you won’t overeat when you don’t intend to.
Making sure you know how much sodium you are consuming is also very important as consuming too much regularly is linked to health conditions such as increased blood pressure and can lead to other health complications. Though most bottles of barbeque sauce are pretty low in sodium per serving, make sure you know how much is recommended for your diet.
We recommend that you are especially cautious when it comes to sugar as barbeque sauce can be very high in the sweet section. The daily recommended amount of sugar for men is around 37g and for women it is 25g. You may find that in a single serving of barbeque sauce you can easily consume 13g of your daily intake in one go. The last thing we would want is for your health to decline in the process of eating tasty food, so please make sure you know what is going into your body exactly.
This section is not the most applicable to everyone who is on the lookout for great barbeque sauce. In fact, you may be thinking that as long as your sauce tastes good, you wouldn’t mind about the packaging at all.
However, we want to tell you that the packaging of a product influences the impact we have on our environment and also the overall taste and feel of the product. Of course, plastic bottles and packaging are bad for our environment, but they also may not keep the sauce as fresh as glass jars do.
Think about how you will be storing the sauce and the lifespan of it. In most cases, once you’ve opened a can, bottle or jar you will need to keep it refrigerated if you would like the store any leftover sauce. If this is the case, you may want to opt for sauces that come in bottles or jars as they are easy to secure and store away.
Also, consider how you will be using the sauce and on what. If you are planning on squeezing the barbeque sauce over pizza, fries or anything else, a bottle would be a better fit over a glass jar, as you can distribute the sauce without any hassle and very minimal effort.
This is also another important area to consider as it is always great when you can use one item for many different things. Thanks to barbecue sauce being versatile and delicious, to begin with, you can use it on a variety of dishes and meals in most cases. Just be wary of cooking the sauce as it is usually meant to be eaten cold and straight from the packet without being altered.
Some dishes and foods you could make to eat alongside the sauce are burgers and fries, as a dip for chicken nuggets or chicken wings, as a pizza topping, as a dip for chips or nachos and even to drizzle over grilled meat and vegetables.
Think about what kind of foods you will serve alongside your barbeque sauce for this section.
Sweet or Spicy?
Though we have briefly touched upon this before, choosing between sweet or spicy versions of the sauce is essential when it comes to picking out the perfect bottle for you. Yes, this is important for taste but it can also be damaging (or rewarding for health).
Though there aren’t many health benefits of sugar aside from giving you an immediate burst of energy, the same cannot be said for spicy food. Spice has many health benefits such as improving immunity and increasing your metabolism. It can also lower blood sugar levels, improve your mood and some studies show that it is linked to improving memory and how your brain functions.
Though spicy food can be great due to these reasons, it can also be detrimental to your health under certain circumstances. This is usually the case if you are very sensitive to spice, to begin with or have issues with your stomach. We wouldn't want your stomach to become inflamed or irritated, especially not overeating spicy food, so please be careful and consider your physical needs before choosing between sweet or spicy barbeque sauces.
There are some allergies and dietary requirements that are important to consider, especially if you are going to be sharing the barbeque sauce with other people. Even if you yourself do not have any dietary requirements or allergies, be mindful that if family or friends come over for dinner, they may end up consuming something that could harm them.
Be careful about any soy or wheat products in barbeque sauces. Most brands of the sauce on the market are in fact gluten-free and do not contain soy but simply reading the ingredients list at the back of the packaging can ensure that no complication will arise accidentally.
The majority of barbeque sauces are also suitable for vegetarians and vegan who do not eat animal products, as most of the ingredients used in a lot of barbeque sauces are vegetables, herbs and spices. Some barbeque sauces are made with anchovies, however, which will not be suitable for vegans.
If you or your loved ones follow a particular religion it is also always a great idea to see if the sauce you are interested in is kosher or halal. Even if you or someone else will not have an allergic reaction to eating a particular condiment, it is always great to be mindful of dietary requirements with certain religions and cultures just in case.
Food is not just about nutrition and fuelling your body. It is also about bringing people together, celebrating humanity and passing on traditions from generation to generation. Many barbeque sauces were first curated decades ago and have a deep history within the communities and families that created them.
You may find that a bottle of barbeque sauce is inspired by communities and music, and used to spread joy to one another over a dining table. We think it's important to know the history of any brand you buy, as this not only gives you an idea of what you will be contributing to economically but can also give you some insight into whether the brand and product are manufactured through ethical means.
We hope that through this article you have learned something new about bbq sauce and that you now know how to find your own best store bought bbq sauce. There are many things to look out for such as flavour, spice, ingredients, packaging and how versatile it is to name a few, that all add up to create a sauce that you can rely on.We hope that you can add the perfect condiment to your burgers, party foods and grilled dishes so that you and your loved ones can continue to make memories while enjoying great food, without having to sacrifice your bank account or your health in the process.