Best BBQ Sauces of 2024

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.

read more: Best Meal Kits of 2023

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.

full moon

Full Moon is a regional chain of barbecue restaurants that has been operating in Alabama and Mississippi since 1986. Full Moon's great sauce is rarely found on store shelves, but online you can buy it for just $7.49 per bottle. That's a blessing, because this classic-style sauce has a near-perfect balance of sweetness, smokiness, acidity, and spice.


If you want to scoop up barbecue sauce from the store, you can find Stubb's in most supermarkets and it's a great alternative to Full Moon. Like the winners above, Stubb's is well-balanced, with no single flavor dominating. It's rich but not sticky, and has a sweet flavor from brown sugar (no corn syrup) and plenty of black pepper.


I've been on the Bachan bandwagon for a while now and have no intention of jumping off. Bachan's differs from classic barbecue sauces with added Japanese flavor, giving it a big umami flavor. You can immediately feel the soy sauce flavor, followed by sesame seeds, ginger, and a hint of sweetness. It's probably best used as a finishing sauce, as it's one of the thinner sauces, so it might not stick or caramelize as much to the ribs or chicken as other sauces.

Bachan's is also pricey at $13 per bottle, but you can save a few bucks by ordering multiple bottles at once. (Trust me, you'll want more than one bottle.)

Carolina Q'

This rich, dark, smoky sauce is made by small producers in North Carolina. Probably the most flavorful sauce we tried, with a big sweetness cut by rich, smoky hickory and plenty of spiciness. There's a lot going on here, but it all works together to create a very tasty sauce.


At less than $3 per jar, this is a popular choice among “cheap” barbecue sauces and can be easily found at most grocery stores and on Amazon. Bullseye has a formidable sweetness, but it's a perfect balance of mustard, garlic, and natural hickory smoke. If you eat sauce like water, this is a great sauce to stock up on for ribs, chicken, and burgers.

texas pete

If you're a hot sauce fan looking for a barbecue sauce, Texas Pete's Eastern Carolina Sauce is the way to go. First and foremost, Texas Pete is good at making hot sauce, so this take on the vinegar-filled Carolina sauce is quite similar to hot sauce, but with a hint of sweetness and a hint of tomato tang. Made with only 5 ingredients and no corn syrup. At 15 calories per serving, it's probably the “healthiest” barbecue sauce on this list.

sweet baby rays

To be honest, this was not my It's a personal favorite, but some of the other tasters who like sweet foods really liked it. Sweet Baby Lays (it's in the name) are made with corn syrup and pineapple juice and are so sweet you'll be overwhelmed. It's quite thick, almost like barbecue jam or jelly. If you're a barbecue lover with a sweet tooth, this is the sauce you'll want to stock up on. And it's cheap at about $2 per bottle.

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.

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