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The Best BBQ Sauces for 2021

Barbecue sauces are an extremely popular condiment that BBQ enthusiasts relish along with barbeque meat. The sauces boast a unique flavor among condiments because the companies that make them include a variety of ingredients along with various herbs and spices. The United States is home to some of the best BBQ sauces in the world.

The flavor of each type of BBQ sauce varies by region in the United States. Some parts of Texas, for example, prefer tomato and mustard-based sauces. Carolina prefers a vinegar base, while the Kansas City residents usually prefer a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce with tomato and molasses as the base.

That said, I explore some of the best BBQ sauces you can find on the market in 2021.

ebg-table__imageCattlemen’s Carolina Tangy Gold BBQ SauceCheck Latest Price
ebg-table__imageStubb’s Original Bar-B-Q SauceCheck Latest Price
ebg-table__imageAlternaSweets Sweet & Smokey BBQ SauceCheck Latest Price
ebg-table__imageTraeger Grills SAU027 Sweet & Smoky BBQ SauceCheck Latest Price

The 8 Best Barbecue Sauces Reviewed

You should be able to find a sauce that delivers your desired flavor. From the sauces I’ve reviewed below, I hope you find the best one for your needs. However, not all sauces are made equal.

With the tips, I hope you get the best out of your favorite BBQ sauce.

Cattlemens Carolina Tangy Gold BBQ Sauce

If you’re looking for a delicious Carolina-style BBQ flavor, Cattlemen’s Carolina Tangy Gold BBQ sauce is a great choice.

This BBQ sauce boasts a balanced blend of No. 1 grade mustard seed, apple cider vinegar, and aged cayenne peppers. The sauce gets a lot of flavor from the turmeric, paprika, and salt. The corn syrup and tomato paste give it body. It also contains flavorful oleoresin paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed, natural hickory smoke flavor, molasses, and just the right amount of spice.

Stubbs Original Bar-B-Q Sauce

Looking to add the taste of Texas to your smoked pork chops, baby back ribs, or slow cooker pulled pork? Then Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce is what you’re looking for.

This sauce uses premium ingredients, including vinegar, black pepper, tomato, and molasses, to deliver a robust flavor. It is verified not to have GMOs and doesn’t contain any high-fructose corn syrup. It derives its sweetness from brown sugar, molasses, and cane sugar.

What’s more, Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce comes in a selection of flavors to suit your specific taste.

AlternaSweets Sweet & Smokey BBQ Sauce

If you’re looking for a healthy and flavorful substitute for sugary barbecue sauces, you can’t go wrong with AlternaSweets Sweet & Smokey BBQ Sauce. This BBQ sauce steers clear of traditional sweeteners such as sugar and molasses.

It also doesn’t use bad rep sweeteners such as high-fructose corn syrup. The Sweet & Smokey BBQ sauce uses the plant-extracted sweetener stevia. According to studies, stevia offers a range of health benefits.

A 2009 review study revealed that stevioside and related compounds have anti-hypertensive, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and anti-diarrheal properties. This BBQ sauce is ideal for low-sugar diet plans, paleo, ketogenic eating, and other low-carb diet plans.

Other ingredients include tomato paste, garlic, paprika, onions, and red chili peppers for extra pizzazz. The butter, sea salt, natural liquid smoke, citric acid, spices, and natural flavors round out the ingredients. True to its name, the sauce delivers a robust, smoky flavor.

Traeger Grills Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce

Traeger Grills Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce delivers rich, bold flavors of buttery brown sugar, sweet molasses, tangy vinegar, mild acidity, and a touch of hickory smoke.

This amazing sauce is versatile and works best with poultry, beef, and pork. You can also use it as a marinade. Traeger Grills Sweet & Smoky BBQ sauce comes in a 16-ounce bottle.

True Made Foods Vegetable BBQ Sauce

True Made Foods makes some of the best sauces and ketchup. They sweeten their sauces naturally using a range of vegetables. They don’t use processed sugars.

The Vegetable BBQ Sauce is no exception. It has tomato puree, vegetable puree, distilled vinegar, and light brown cane sugar. The garlic powder, onion powder, natural smoke flavor, allspice, and salt add traditional ingredients to the flavorful sauce.

According to True Made Foods, this BBQ sauce has 50 percent less sugar compared to major brands. What’s more, it is GMO-free, allergen-friendly, and paleo-friendly. The Vegetable BBQ Sauce is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a delicious Kansas-style BBQ Sauce.

Cattlemens Original Base BBQ Sauce

If you’re looking to prepare a signature, homemade BBQ sauce, Cattlemen’s Original Base BBQ Sauce is a great place to start. Starting with Cattlemen’s Original Base BBQ Sauce when preparing your own sauces can save you time, money, and effort.

Nonetheless, it will help you achieve more consistent results. The smooth, strong, and tangy BBQ sauce boasts a rich, lip-smacking flavor profile with a touch of garlic. A balanced blend of spices enhances the sauce’s traditional tomato flavor.

The versatility allows Cattlemen’s Original Base BBQ Sauce to be used straight from the bottle or as the base for a custom homemade sauce. The sauce works best with grilled chicken, seasoned pulled pork, and thick, juicy steaks.

Its ingredients include tomato paste, distilled vinegar, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup. Further, it has mustard bran, onion powder, garlic powder, celery seed, sugar, salt, water, and natural flavors.

Stonewall Kitchen 4 Piece Classic Grille Sauce Collection

If you love exploring varieties, the Stonewall Kitchen 4-piece Sweet Grille Sauce Collection is the right choice for you. The set features four different sauces, which are perfectly crafted with premium ingredients to add a unique and spicy flavor to your favorite grilled meats and vegetables.

The four sauces are:

  • 11-ounce Maple Chipotle Grille Sauce
  • 11-ounce Roasted Garlic Peanut Sauce
  • 11-ounce Vidalia Onion Fig Sauce
  • 11-ounce Sesame Ginger Teriyaki Sauce

You can use this BBQ sauce set to marinate your foods or as part of an extraordinary dipping sauce arrangement. It is perfect for adding savory flavor to grilled meats and vegetables, stir fry dinners, and noodles.

HP Original Sauce

HP Original brown sauce has set the standard for quality since 1899. This sauce delivers a distinctive flavor, thanks to its high-quality ingredients.

HP Original Sauce has malt vinegar, tomatoes, molasses, spirit vinegar, and glucose-fructose syrup. The dates, rye flour, and tamarind add distinction, and sugar, modified cornflour, flavorings, salt, and spices round out the list.

It has no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, and no artificial preservatives. Ideal for vegetarians, this sauce works well with casseroles, soups, and stews. It is also great on sandwiches and bacon. HP Original Sauce comes in 255g, 285g, 425g, 450g, and 600g jars.

How To Use Barbecue Sauce

Using barbecue sauce seems like a straightforward process. You should realize that you can use BBQ sauce in more ways than just spreading onto slow-cooked spare ribs. Here are a few tips to help you get the best out of your favorite barbecue sauce:

  • Avoid applying the sauce too early during the grilling process. You don’t want the sugars in the BBQ sauce to burn at extremely high temperatures. Apply it later to avoid a burnt flavor and an unpleasant, tough texture.
  • The recommended time to apply the sauce is roughly 10 minutes before it’s done to ensure your meat caramelizes and imparts pleasant flavors. Read more on the timing below.
  • Don’t apply too much or too little sauce. Use a sauce mop or a brush to spread the sauce evenly on your meat. Apply at least two coats, being careful not to exert excessive pressure on the meat.
  • For low-and-slow cooking meats, avoid cooking directly on the flames. Use a covered grill and place your food between the sources of heat. Avoid lifting the lid every so often.
  • Consider using a meat thermometer to enhance accuracy and safety.
  • Your equipment should be in tip-top condition. For example, be sure the charcoal grill or smoker is clean to avoid excessive smoke and flare-ups.
  • You don’t want to burn your meat. It is advisable to give your grill a thorough cleaning a couple of times a year.

When is The Best Time to Apply BBQ Sauce?

There’s nothing more mouthwatering than a rack of ribs dripping a savory barbecue sauce. However, to get those ribs cooked perfectly with an excellent coating of sauce requires tact. BBQ enthusiasts typically apply sauce either too early, too late, too often, or off the heat. 

To get the best out of your favorite BBQ sauce, you should have some strategy and use restraint. So, when is the best time to apply the sauce?

According to BBQ connoisseurs, that is about 10 minutes before the meat is ready.  Cooking the meat with the sauce applied for 10 minutes ensures the sauce gets enough heat to start to caramelize. You don’t want to expose the sauce to too much heat that will push it to the burning stage.

With just the right amount of heat, the sauce will add rich flavor to your meat. Start spreading the sauce on your meat, add at least two more coats until you get the meat out of the grill. If there are flare-ups, move your meat to the cooler corner of the grill.

When it comes to ribs, however, there’s no harm applying sauce earlier in the grilling process. Many people love their ribs with a thicker BBQ sauce. Hence, you should use the sauce about 30 minutes before your ribs finish cooking.

Apply a couple of thin coatings to create layers. The result will be a sticky, flavorful surface on your ribs. Whether you are smoking or grilling, these tips will go along way into helping prepare the best food with a BBQ sauce.

Also, no matter what type of grill / smoker you use, you can get great results with a wood pellet grill, propane grill or even an electric smoker.

How Much Sauce Should You Use?

I’ve observed that you should use restraint when applying BBQ sauce. One to two coats is often enough.

Here are some rules to keep in mind:

  • For a full slab of spareribs with the tips still intact, you should apply at least ¾ cup of a thick barbecue sauce on both sides.
  • For a slab of St. Louis cut ribs, ½ cup of sauce should be enough
  • For a slab of baby back ribs, you’ll need 1/3 cup of sauce.

Also, it’s a good idea to have at least ½ cup of BBQ sauce in a bowl on the table for people who may want more. Remember to always sauce cut ribs before cutting them. Avoid saucing the cut sides.

Barbecue, the popular low-and-slow cooking technique, calls for more than just time to turn out mouthwatering meats. You should also learn how to apply BBQ sauces to get flavor-rich foods.