Memorial Day is just around the corner, and we all know what that means: it’s barbecue season. It’s time to pull the grill out of storage, clean off the grates and start prepping for your big barbecue kickoff.1
One thing you’re going to need a lot of this summer in order to make your barbecue experience the best: sauce. If you’re like most people, you’ve seen the barbecue sauce aisle at your local grocery store and have quickly realized there are too many options to choose from.
The truth is, if you know your way around a grill, you can make any sauce work well. However, not all sauces are created equal and there are certainly some that stand above the others.
Below, we take a close look at some of the best store-bought (including direct-sale Internet stores) barbecue sauces, with the goal of helping you satisfy all your barbecue desires.
Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory and Brown Sugar
Because I do a lot of smoking, I’m a big fan of Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory and Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce. This sauce is a great option for those who love that sweet and smoky taste. It’s particularly delicious when heated and used as a dipping sauce for vittles. For example, try it with bacon-wrapped grilled chicken bites.
KC Masterpiece Original Barbecue Sauce
They know their barbecue in Kansas City, and the KC Masterpiece label is no impostor of the best stuff found in KCMO. The original KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce is an incredibly versatile sauce which can be jazzed up, brushed on, poured on or used for dipping. KC Masterpiece offers several different flavor offerings, and, considering their relatively inexpensive prices, they’re all worth the purchase.
Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce
This will not be your dippin’ sauce. No, it’s not exciting. However, if you’re barbecuing on a budget, you’ll need an option like Kraft. It doesn’t come in a cool bottle with original artwork… it’s just sauce. That said, it is a great brushing sauce for smoking chicken or ribs. It doesn’t have much kick, but it is sweet and tangy. Besides, you can always add some kick to a brushing sauce by mixing it with bourbon and cayenne, habanero, chipotle or whatever heat source you desire.
Uncle’s Barbeque Sauce
Do you like heat combined with sweet? How about a combination of habanero peppers and Louisiana raw brown sugar? Uncle’s is a legit Cajun barbecue sauce that’s hot, sweet and tangy. If you’re grilling an army of chicken drumsticks, this is a great brushing and dipping option. It’s also stellar for jazzing up burgers, shrimp or anything that tastes delicious with some kick.
Bull’s-Eye Carolina Style BBQ Sauce
If you’re tackling some pulled pork, and you wanna do it up Carolina style, Bulls-Eye Carolina Style BBQ Sauce is the easiest way to get it done. After slow cooking the pork for hours, the last thing you wanna do is cook up an authentic sauce from scratch. You can trust Bull’s-Eye. It’s got that definitive Carolina super-sweet and tangy barbecue taste.
Arthur Bryant’s Original KC Barbecue Sauce
If you’re hosting a grilling or barbecue party and want to make an impression, order up some of the best. Arthur Bryant’s is a Kansas City institution, and the sauce is sure to please. While nearly all sauces taste good, few of them possess a legitimate signature taste that really can’t be compared to anything else. Bryant’s stands alone. Use it on anything, but it’s magical on a rack of K.C.-style pork spare ribs.
SuckleBusters BBQ Sauce
I’ll admit it. There hasn’t been enough love for Texas barbecue on this list. I may have saved the best for last, however. Texans know how to grill, and they certainly know how to barbecue. When it comes to legitimate beef barbecue, Texas is king. Brisket, beef ribs and the best of the grilled burger world: Texas owns. SuckleBusters is an award-winning sauce, and is available in a variety of flavors. The original is pumped with just a little Texas heat, yet it’s still mild enough for anyone to enjoy when brushed on meat or drizzled all over a burger.
1 Hopefully, you had a chance to read David Woods’ post on grilling and barbecue mistakes. At the very least, read enough of it to understand the difference between “grilling” and “barbecuing.”