I love barbecue sauce, so walking into the grocery store feels like heaven. There are so many options, but not all sauces are created equal. If you want to step up your game even more, you'll need the best BBQ sauce on the market. However, with so many choices, it's not always easy to decide which brand is worth your money. We can help. There's an art to barbecuing, and it starts with preparing the best meat. However, you also need to make sure you're using a top-quality sauce to achieve the perfect blend of sweetness, smokiness, and tartness.
When searching for the perfect barbecue sauce, you'll find dozens of tangy and sweet sauces. Many are available online from small producers. To find the best barbecue sauce in 2024, I, along with some other barbecue enthusiasts, gathered 15 spicy, smoky, vinegary, sweet, and tangy sauces for the ultimate sauce showdown. market.
What makes a delicious barbecue sauce?
It's all relative, but most pitmasters agree that balance is the key to a good barbecue sauce. Most sauces are made with a tomato base, vinegar, a sweetener such as honey or molasses, and heat. From there, tweak the sauce by adding spices and flavors like mustard, garlic, fruit, and smoke. Sources that are too strong in either direction usually don't work well. And super simple sauces without much spice or complexity often fail.
This list includes many traditional Kansas City-style sauces, vinegary Carolina-style sauces, keto-friendly sauces, Bachan's cult-favorite Japanese-style sauce, and to see which one really tickles your fancy. I tasted some Alabama white sauce. our taste. I'm pretty much a blank slate when it comes to classic grilled dishes, so I tried each one out with some unseasoned chicken breast. During the tasting, we focused on the overall balance, spiciness, sweetness, overwhelming flavor, and other things that stood out, both bad and good.
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Quick note: Up north, the sauce market is dominated by sweet varieties, but my taste testers and I also love vinegar-based sauces, so we've included some Carolina BBQ sauces (Japanese BBQ for umami) sauce and brown sauce (among other styles) – sugar-based recipes for that iconic sweet taste) to make this list as comprehensive and unbiased as possible.
Finding the best barbecue sauce in 2024 took a lot of napkins. That's it here.
Other BBQ Sauces I've Tried but Didn't Work
- full moon alabama white sauce: This sauce was addictive, but calling it barbecue sauce might be a bit of an exaggeration. Alabamians may not want to hear this, but Full Moon's white sauce is really rich, flavorful, ranch-like, with lots of mustard, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Jack Daniel's original BBQ sauce: This is also something we all really liked. It has great balance and strong spice, but ultimately a few others pushed it off the top.
- Keto BBQ sauce suitable for food: With just 10 calories and 3 grams of carbohydrates per serving, this sauce is definitely go-to, but it wasn't our favorite sauce.
- Kraft original barbecue sauce: This had very little dimension and tasted more like a slightly smoky ketchup than a good barbecue sauce.
- Heinz Calorie Navinegar BBQ Sauce: This sauce wasn't terrible, but it had too much vinegar for most people.
- Heinz Carolina mustard sauce: It felt more like honey mustard than barbecue sauce. Not bad, but it didn't meet the requirements for this round of testing.
- Kings Delight BBQ Sauce: This Carolina-style sauce is delicious, but it has too much vinegar, so it's more like a thin finished sauce for pulled pork than a traditional barbecue sauce.
See more backyard BBQ favorites