The 6 Best BBQ Sauces You Can Buy

We tried 12 store-bought BBQ sauces and these 6 came out on top — here's how they rank.

An assortment of BBQ sauce bottles floating on an orange background with an "Allrecipes Taste Test" seal on top
Photo: Sabrina Tan/Dotdash Merdith

Barbecue sauce is a staple in many homes. Whether it's sweet and smoky, bold and spicy, or acidic and tangy, there's something for everyone. As grocery store shelves continue to grow with new brands, varieties, and flavors each year, it can be challenging to know which one to choose. Especially if you're trying to branch out of your barbecue sauce-comfort zone. After all, you don't want to disappoint at the family cookout.

We wanted to sample the tried and true classics along with some new up-and-coming artisanal brands that you can feel confident next time you enter the condiment aisle.

How We Tested

We taste-tested 12 barbecue sauces and ranked them according to flavor profiles and taste, so that we could be sure you're getting your hands on the very best, the very tastiest, and the most unique, without breaking the bank.

Our Favorite Store-Bought BBQ Sauces

The Best Overall BBQ Sauce: Lillie's Smoky Barbecue Sauce

A bottle of Lillie's Smoky Barbecue Sauce
Sabrina Tan/Dotdash Merdith

Delicious, perfectly smoky, affordable, easily accessible — it's only right we give "best overall" to Lillie's. It's slightly vinegary and spicy, not too sweet, and has the perfect amount of smokiness. Its mildness and well-rounded flavor makes it the perfect sauce for family cookouts with people of all ages.

The Best Classic BBQ Sauce: Stubb's Sticky Sweet Barbecue Sauce

A bottle of Stubb's Sticky Sweet Barbecue Sauce
Sabrina Tan/Dotdash Merdith

This widely beloved sauce is a classic for a reason. It's exactly what we picture when we think of barbecue. Its smooth consistency, along with its very rich and sweet flavor, makes for the perfect coating to grill — well, pretty much anything. The smoky flavor comes from hickory smoke, which is balanced out with vinegar and caramel notes from brown sugar and molasses.

The Best Japanese BBQ Sauce: Japanese Barbecue Sauce by Bachan's

A bottle of Japanese Barbecue Sauce by Bachan's
Sabrina Tan/Dotdash Merdith

You'll be reaching for this Japenese-style BBQ sauce for all your meat, salmon, and rice bowls from now on. It's pleasantly sweet, has nice umami flavor, and tastes like the perfect combination of stir-fry sauce and soy sauce.

The Best Spicy BBQ Sauce: Trader Joe's Organic Sriracha & Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce

A bottle of Trader Joe's Organic Sriracha & Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce
Sabrina Tan/Dotdash Merdith

Trader Joe's does it again. As most things at this store are, this BBQ sauce is incredibly affordable coming in at only $2.99. It's sweet, tangy, flavorful, and most certainly packs in the heat with bits of chile pepper. If you like Sriracha, chili-garlic sauce, and BBQ, you're guaranteed to be a fan.

The Best Versatile BBQ Sauce: Ogre Sauce

A bottle of Ogre Sauce
Sabrina Tan/Dotdash Merdith

If you're looking to bring your taste buds on an adventure, this is the one. It's mustardy, tangy, acidic, salty, peppery, tomatoey — the list goes on. And because of its unique flavor, it tastes good on almost everything. Ogre claims "... customers have used it on ribs, wings, salmon, pizza… tofu, oysters, pretzels … pineapple … egg s…" and more, which led them to nickname it the "all-purpose" sauce.

The BBQ Sauce with the Best Bang for Your Buck: Sweet Baby Ray's Original Barbecue Sauce

A bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's Original Barbecue Sauce
Sabrina Tan/Dotdash Merdith

Sweet Baby Ray's is a household staple. It's cheap, it's everywhere, and it's unapologetically tasty. This OG sauce is exceptionally thick and sweet, so we can understand why it's so darn good on grilled ribs and chicken wings. It definitely deserves a place in your condiment cupboard. Because well, it's delicious. Need we say more?

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