About Best Loved Brands
When you’re looking for the absolute best, grocery shopping can be quite the ordeal—dozens of brands, hundreds of choices. From biscuits to brownies, hot sauce to hummus, it can be hard to know which product will make your recipes really sing. That’s where Taste of Home comes in. Our culinary and editorial experts put 100+ products to the test. After undergoing a thorough review, our Best Loved Brands emerged. Find out which brands you should be shopping for.
Finding the Best Barbecue Sauce
Whether your grilling, slow cooking or just adding a bit of kick to your bag lunches, the right barbecue sauce is essential for country-style dishes. If you manage to find the right one—the kind with the right amount of sweetness, tang, smokiness and powerful flavor—you’re set. But have you been to the grocery store lately? (Of course, you have!) There are more barbecue sauces than you could ever imagine. Don’t waste your time trying bottles of OK sauce—rely on our Test Kitchen who put 10 big names to the test. Our culinary and editorial teams judged sauces blindly according to these qualities:
We were set on striking gold with our selection of sauces. After all, a great sauce makes recipes like these slow-cooked country-style ribs. Since the results of this test are sure to make it to your next backyard barbecue, let’s not wait another second. Check out our favorites.
First Place: 365 Everyday Value
Ranking number one in our test: 365 Everyday Value—a Whole Foods exclusive brand. This sauces impressed our judges with its perfect balance of flavors. This BBQ gave us rich and sweet molasses balanced out with savory, smoky flavors. Texture-wise, the Test Kitchen found this Whole Foods brand to be right in the middle—not too thick or thin. This makes it easy to brush onto chicken or spread onto a sandwich without having to worry about it either dripping off. This brand was just a touch on the sweeter side overall—if you prefer something with a bit more bite, check out our second pick.
$1.99 for a 19.5-oz. bottle; available exclusively at Whole Foods and on Amazon.
Second Place: Austin’s Own
For folks looking for a sauce with a bit of a vinegar kick, grab a bottle of Austin’s Own. This barbecue sauce gave us a lot to work with: tangy vinegar, sweet honey, smoke and just a touch of heat. This brand also gained some extra points for its homemade appearance—we couldn’t get enough of the big pepper flakes inside (pssst… for homemade renditions of BBQ sauce, try these recipes). What took this sauce from our first place sauce to second place, was the consistency. Austin’s Own is a bit thinner than most brands. This certainly isn’t a problem when you’re mopping it over wings on the grill, but it’s worth noting if you plan on using it in recipes where you need a substantial sauce.
Available at select grocers, like Whole Foods and Costco.
Third Place: Sweet Baby Ray’s
Sometimes, you just want a good sauce to please everyone at the potluck. This sauce is Sweet Baby Ray’s. This classic brand offered a mildly sweet barbecue flavor with just a hint of vinegar. Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce also offered just the lightest touch of heat, too—perfect for adding just a little pep to your grill-out. As for the consistency, our Test Kitchen would like to call it perfect—not too thin or thick, just a great all-around sauce.
$1.99 for a 28-oz. bottle; available at grocers nationwide and on Amazon.
What to Make with Barbecue Sauce
It might be a silly question to ask what to make with barbecue sauce. The obvious answer is barbecue—now go light up the grill! But there’s a lot more to the condiment than just grilling. A good bottle of BBQ can make for some tasty slow cooker meals, like pulled pork. For a quick appetizer, just toss some meatballs in your slow cooker with some barbecue sauce and watch as your guests gobble them down. Better yet, check out our 50+ recipes that call for our best sauce.
As for those slow-cooked country ribs? Well, why don’t you just take a peek at how good they look made up. We promise you’ll be licking your fingers when you’re done.
Ready to grab a new bottle of the best barbecue sauce? Now, go check out our other Best Loved Brands before you make your next grocery run.