Get out your sauce mops and fire up the grill, people. Summer is in full swing, and it’s time to get that bovine (or zucchini, because vegans like the ‘cue too) on the grill. We’re talkin’ barbecue and slow-smoked burnt end goodness — and we’re sayin’ it with a Southern accent (because I’m from Texas and have no choice in the matter).
Yeah, great barbecue takes a spell to cook, but one time-saving tip is to invest in the best store-bought barbecue sauces for homemade flavor you can’t shake a stick at. (OK, I’ll stop with the Texanisms now. Probably.)
The sauces on this list represent the best of the best available at the grocery store. We based our results on a combination of online reviews, input from our friends and personal preference. We’re for sure right, though.
Lillie’s Q Barbeque Sauce
Your slow-cooked ribs and tri-tip will get just the right amount of heat at the end from this smoky-sweet Memphis-style sauce.
Lillie’s Q Barbeque Sauce in Hot Smoky, $14.81 at Amazon
Rufus Teague honey sweet barbecue sauce
The bold tang of this honey-sweet barbecue sauce is not too sweet and not too spicy.
Rufus Teague honey sweet barbecue sauce (pack of two), $16.64 at Amazon
Bone Suckin’ Sauce
Some people might find it a tad vinegary, but Health magazine gives it an A-plus because it’s gluten-free, dairy-free and non-GMO (also, it’s kosher). But the honey and molasses will keep you hooked if you like the sweet stuff.
Bone Suckin’ Sauce, $12.51 at Amazon
Bootsies Delta Funk Hi-Tone White BBQ Sauce
Bootsies Alabama white has an excellent rating, but it got knocked down a peg because of its lack of versatility. Alabama white is for chicken (or, you know, french fries or mozz sticks). But if even a Texan knows it’s the right choice for poultry, you’ve made a bad life decision if you’re using anything else on your chicken.
Hi-Tone White BBQ Sauce, $5.99 at Bootsies Delta Funk
CaJohns Trinidad BBQ Sauce
The scorpion pepper makes it the spiciest sauce on this list. The fruity sweetness makes it the complex flavor you’d hope for in a barbecue sauce.
CaJohns Trinidad BBQ Sauce, $13.19 at Amazon
Dreamland Bar-B-Que Sauce
Slather it on ribs and sop it up with a thick slice of white bread. This Tuscaloosa tradition is thin, sweet and vinegary — just like North Carolina intended.
Dreamland Bar-B-Que Sauce, $12.99 at Amazon
The Salt Lick barbecue sauce
Very, very big flavor and very, very little spice. This one’s good for adults and kiddos alike.
The Salt Lick barbecue sauce, $12 at Amazon
Blues Hog Tennessee Red Sauce
If you’re a hog fan, there’s just something special about a Tennessee red. The sweet, spicy, vinegary goodness of Blues Hog can’t be matched by anything less than your granny.
Blues Hog Tennessee Red Sauce, $8.78 at Amazon
Sonny’s BBQ Sweet Barbecue Sauce
This sweetie is a cult favorite for a reason. Who knew Floridians knew barbecue?
Sonny’s BBQ Sweet Barbecue Sauce (21 ounces), $4.99 at Sonny’s
Gentry’s Barbecue Cakalacki Gold Mustard Sauce
This love letter for North Carolina is just as good on meat as it is on pretzels.
Gentry’s Barbecue Cakalacki Gold Mustard Sauce, $12.95 at Amazon
And, yeah… It’s a three-way tie for first, because you can’t choose between this goodness.
Stubb’s Original barbecue sauce
Since 1968, Stubbs has been a barbecue staple. If you’re not convinced by the balance and flavor, it also has no added sugar.
Stubb’s Original barbecue sauce, $11.84 at Amazon
Daddy Sam’s Bar-B-Que Sawce
Just slop it on is right! Molasses sweet with just enough mesquite, this West Texas original (shoutout, y’all!) puts the “sawce” in sauce.
Daddy Sam’s Bar-B-Que Sawce, $8.99 at Amazon
Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce
Sweet Baby Ray’s is the perfect balance of sweetness, vinegar and spice, making it an all-around fave for the whole fam.
Sweet Baby Ray’s, $10.11 at Amazon
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