The 15 Best Store-Bought Barbecue Sauces, Ranked

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Barbecues are an essential part of American cuisine. Various regions have their own styles that are influenced by the diverse cultures and traditions. The sauce is central to locking down this meal as it boosts the flavor and texture of the meat.

Everyone has their definition of the perfect barbecue sauce. But one thing we can all agree on is that the flavors should blend seamlessly. If it's too sweet, sour, spicy, or smoky, it's a miss. With grocery store shelves bearing so many barbecue sauce brands and styles, it's hard to find the best one without trying them all yourself.

Join us as we walk through the store aisles and look at some of the biggest brands of barbecue sauces, as well as some lesser-known options. We're examining the best barbecue sauces you'll find in grocery stores and ranking them based on taste, texture, price, and availability.

15. Dickey's Original Barbecue Sauce

Since Dickey's Barbecue Pit opened in 1941, it has remained a big name in the food industry, especially for its delicious barbecue sauce. At the very least, Dickey's Original Barbecue Sauce has a solid flavor that stands out but isn't repulsive. From the first bite, you'll get the flavorful tang of tomatoes with some smoky sweet notes. One Amazon reviewer said, "Barbecue sauce will make or break your smoked meats. This is an excellent barbecue sauce. It's tangy and not too sweet. My favorite barbecue sauce."

The problem with Dickey's Original Barbecue Sauce is the price tag, as some consumers can't understand why it costs so much. Yes, it tastes good, but several other store-bought sauces provide excellent flavors yet cost way less. Also, this sauce is a little runny. Therefore, you'll still need to tweak it to get the perfect texture. All this extra work, plus the high cost, puts this brand at the bottom of our ranking.

14. Franklin Barbecue Texas BBQ Sauce

This tomato-based barbecue sauce promises the Texas-style vinegary punch and hearty flavor. Franklin Barbecue Texas BBQ sauce is well-seasoned with red pepper, coriander, garlic, ginger, onion, cumin, and black pepper. For sweetness, it has cane sugar, molasses, and brown sugar, enough to balance the spiciness. This barbecue sauce brand can be a great choice if you generally love them sweet. On the other hand, people who desire more savory flavors may have to look elsewhere. Although this product has such an impressive list of spices and herbs, it's still lacking flavor.

One Amazon reviewer called the Franklin Barbecue Texas BBQ Sauce an "overpriced weak sauce." Another unhappy customer said, "It seriously tastes like watered down tomato sauce with a dash of black pepper. I have never before tasted this weak of a BBQ sauce." Additionally, you might find this brand a little too sour, even if you typically love tangy Texas barbecue sauces, and some consumers blame this on the Worcestershire sauce. The bland flavor plus the off-putting acidity doesn't do much to help this brand's placement on this list. 

13. Bull's-Eye Original Barbecue Sauce

Reviews for the original Bull's-Eye barbecue sauce are largely positive, but a closer look reveals this merely reflects its past glory. Shoppers at Walmart previously loved this sauce's bold, sweet, and smoky flavor from the "perfect combination of spices," making it an excellent addition to various dishes. This rich flavor and versatility earned this brand many loyal fans and racked up reviews.

Unfortunately, consumer satisfaction has started to shift recently. Reviewers now complain that the "new" Bull's-Eye Original Barbecue Sauce is a downgrade, with one person sharing, "They changed the recipe and added an extra gram of sugar (high fructose corn syrup). tastes nothing like the original."

With the new ingredients, buyers complain that it doesn't taste great anymore. One previously loyal customer spoke of the good days before the formula change and the drastic difference the addition of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) made. Unfortunately, many consumers are now moving on to other brands.

12. Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce

Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce is one of those well-known brands that just doesn't live up to expectations. This brand certainly has its lovers who appreciate its sweet and spicy flavor, but not everyone is a fan. Despite being such a popular choice, it's not packing as much flavor as you'd hoped. In fact, a few Amazon reviewers describe it as "tangy & unpleasant," adding that the product's "formula failed short somewhere."

A common complaint from reviewers is that this sauce is too sweet. It has high fructose corn syrup as the first ingredient, so this sickening sweetness is expected. One person said, "This sauce is cloyingly distasteful. It's nothing but a sweet, red sauce with no hint of BBQ flavor." Then there's the chemical taste that no one wants on their barbecue. Another reviewer summarizes their issues with this product: "Tastes like barbecue sauce and cough syrup."

11. Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce

For some, Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce is "One of the best sauces out there." Other reviewers are happy to add it to various dishes for its sweetness, followed by a spicy kick. Others appreciate that the brand is a small business that's been in operation since 1947. Over the years, the brand has held on to the features that customers love managing to be just spicy, tangy, and sweet enough. One Walmart shopper shared, "Been buying this brand from the '80s, still the same great taste."

Despite getting so many points for taste, Head Country still needs to catch up for texture. One shopper commented, "This barbecue sauce is so runny it will not stay on the meat during barbecuing." If you're only using this sauce as a dip, it's probably fine. Otherwise, you'll have more work to do in the kitchen before it's ready to use. Another issue some shoppers had with this sauce is that it's too spicy with an odd flavor.

10. Happy Belly Original BBQ Sauce

There's a general misconception that store-brand products are always bland and of lower quality. The Happy Belly Original BBQ Sauce from Amazon disproves this theory because it's so tasty. This tomato-based sauce is enhanced with natural flavors that enrich your meal.

One Amazon reviewer shared, "This Happy Belly BBQ sauce is good. It has a smokey flavor. It is not bland. It does not taste like catsup." For such a low-priced product, consumers are pleasantly surprised by its quality. This sauce costs only a fraction of what you'd pay for named brands, yet it offers nearly the same quality of taste and flavor as name brands.

The main problem some buyers have with this product is its texture, with a reviewer calling it "jello." You can always remedy this situation by throwing in items from your pantry until you get the desired taste and texture. Another issue is that it contains two problematic ingredients consumers may want to avoid, sucralose and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

9. KC Masterpiece American Original Barbecue Sauce

It's easy to tell that much effort goes into making KC Masterpiece American Original Barbecue Sauce. The KC Masterpiece website explains it's "kettle-cooked to produce rich layers of sweet, smoky flavor." This process smoothly combines tangy sweet tomatoes with the natural flavors of onion and spices. One reviewer on Amazon shared, "I BEEN A CHEF/COOK MANY YEARS BEFORE. AND. THIS IS THE BEST! YOUR GOING LOVE IT ! I USE IT FOR HOME MEALS NOW. MY RIBS ARE THE BEST WITH THIS PRODUCT !!!!" This sauce adds a nice smoky hickory flavor plus a rich dose of natural herbs and spices to grilled meat.

But there's one problem with KC Masterpiece American Original Barbecue Sauce: high fructose corn syrup, an ingredient many consumers would rather do without. Finding this sauce in local stores may also be challenging, so shoppers typically rely on online stores. Beware when shopping on Amazon, as several reviewers complain of getting exploded or unsealed bottles.

8. Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce

Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce has all the sweetness you can expect from a store-bought brand without a lingering bitterness or aftertaste. Its flavor is right in the middle between spicy and sweet. This sauce also has a thick texture that's great on meat, but you can use it as a dip as well.

One of the highlights of using Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce on meat is its rich smoky flavor. In the words of one shopper, the "hickory flavor in this isn't overwhelming or too smoky. Not too much vinegar or sugar either. Just right." Price is another place where this brand scores some extra points, making it an affordable hack for delicious meals.

The only thing keeping this product from ranking higher is that it has high fructose corn syrup. Many consumers don't like this cheap sweetener that's used in many food products and would instead prefer real sugar.

7. Heinz Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce

Partnering with Sam Jones, owner of the famous Skylight Inn BBQ in Ayden, Heinz creates one of the most authentic Carolina-style barbecue sauces in stores. Staying true to the theme, this sauce tones down the sweetness, a plus if you don't like too much sugar. It's vinegar-based, so anticipate the acidity.

The tangy Heinz Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce might need some getting used to if you prefer more mild flavors. Lovers of this sauce appreciate how well the condiments' flavors shine through despite the acidity. One happy Walmart shopper shared, "We love this so much! if you like your sauce tangy, with a splash of vinegar, this is the sauce for you."

Another positive feature of this brand is its versatility; consumers enjoy it with just about anything. Heinz Carolina Vinegar BBQ Sauce deserves its place as one of the best and could be closer to the top if it was just a little thicker. It's also a hassle to find this product in stores because it's such a crowd-pleaser.

6. Jack Daniels Original BBQ Sauce

You probably don't think of a liquor brand when looking for barbecue sauces, but maybe you should. Jack Daniels Original BBQ Sauce has just a moderate amount of hickory smoke flavor intertwined with natural spices. Buyers love using it for "grilling meat, veggies, and just add to hamburgers or baked beans for a little extra flavor."

This is a sweet sauce that consumers say beats many other popular store-bought brands "by a mile!" If you generally love sugary sauces but want to avoid corn fructose syrup, this brand may be a nice option. It's sweet with an intense flavor from the kettle-cooking process and the addition of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey. If you're getting the Jack Daniels Original BBQ Sauce, keep in mind that it doesn't come cheap. It's certainly a delicious sauce but blows the affordability category, especially when you can get better value for money from other products.

5. Ray's No Sugar Added Original Barbecue Sauce

If you don't like lots of sugar, getting a good barbecue sauce from the store is more challenging than finding a needle in a haystack. Common ingredients in famous brands are brown sugar, cane sugar, molasses, and corn syrup. The few sugar-free products available are just subpar in taste. Ray's No Sugar Added Original Barbecue Sauce is an exception, being sugar-free yet having a robust flavor.

One Amazon reviewer commented, "Really good stuff. Tastes perfect with the smoky somewhat sweet flavor and greatly complements the rib racks while cooking in the smoker and after you pull them of your smoker while eating and dipping." The biggest win for consumers who choose this product is that it's sugar-free. This allows people on sugar-restricted diets like keto to enjoy a delicious barbecue without stressing about the sauce.

Remember that this product has an artificial sweetener, sucralose. Still, many consumers think it's so tasty that they don't remember it has no sugar. It also has natural herbs and spices like onion, garlic, and paprika to improve the flavor.

4. Great Value Original Barbecue Sauce

Great Value Original Barbecue Sauce is the brand you get if you want a cheap and simple base to work with. Don't expect the flavor to blow you away, but it does enough to serve its purpose. This sauce has a delicious smoky honey flavor that pairs great with various kinds of meat, from hot dogs to pork chops.

One happy Walmart shopper commented, "I am very picky especially when it comes to BBQ sauce. I bought this because of the price. It tastes better than the name brand in my opinion. Most BBQ sauces have a "kick" to them. This has a smooth BBQ sauce flavor without the heat to it."

Great Value Original Barbecue Sauce allows you to bring more life to your cooking. By keeping the sauce's original flavors mild, this brand leaves room for you to customize it to your taste. One reviewer said they "mix it with other condiments" to improve the flavor. However, this is a small price for consumers who are more than happy with how budget-friendly it is.

3. Traeger 'Que BBQ Sauce

If you don't mind splurging a little as long as you get the best quality barbecue sauce, Traeger 'Que BBQ Sauce is an excellent choice. One happy Amazon shopper commented, "This sauce is simply the best premade sauce on the market that I've ever tried and I have tried every brand I've seen in stores or restaurants!" It balances spicy and sweet flavors without either note overshadowing the other.

One reason Traeger 'Que BBQ Sauce makes it to the top three is that it doesn't taste like it comes in a bottle. Consumers say it's so good that it doesn't need any extra tweaking; the taste and texture are magnificent. Therefore, despite being so expensive, fans think it's worth the money. Another shopper commented, "I can drink this because that's how good it is." One of the reasons behind its incredible flavor is the use of simple ingredients like vinegar, sugar, herbs, and spices. It also has a rich hickory smoke flavor to liven your grilled meat for an outstanding meal.

2. Organicville Original BBQ Sauce

"Sweet, smoky, and delicious" is how the Organicville product page describes this barbecue sauce. It has an extensive list of flavorful organic ingredients, including agave nectar, tomato paste, molasses, garlic, onion, cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper. The result is a rich blend that beats customer expectations. One Amazon reviewer commented, "The best organic BBQ sauce on the market! The whole family loves it!"

Organicville Original BBQ Sauce isn't overly sweet and has balanced hickory smoke with natural savory flavors. This reviewer shared, "My husband is a fan of BBQ sauce and we have been buying organic as much as possible and some aren't tasty. However the Organicville sauces are amazing!!!"

Besides a few comments about the difficulty of finding this sauce in stores, other consumer complaints are few and far between. Online stores can always hook you up with this sauce if you can't find some locally. Overall, Organicville Original BBQ Sauce deserves its place close to the top of this ranking.

1. Stubb's BBQ Sauce

When one Reddit user asked people what their favorite store-bought barbecue sauce is and why, Stubb's BBQ Sauce popped up as the most popular choice. The reasons are simple, clean ingredients, great taste, and affordability rolled into one.

One Redditor explained that they love Stubbs Original barbecue sauce "Because the first ingredient listed is tomato puree, not corn syrup like so many other brands." This sauce has a dominant tomato flavor, but many users still appreciate how the various flavors from other ingredients come together. A Walmart shopper described this sauce as a restaurant-style natural-tasting sauce with adequate seasonings and low sugar content.

Amazon reviewers share similar positive sentiments about Stubb's BBQ Sauce. Some buyers describe it as sweet but not repulsive or overpowering. According to one buyer, "Stubb's BBQ sauce is far and away superior to nearly all of the corn syrup based products that you typically see at the supermarket." Seeing how much fans love Stubb's BBQ Sauce receives, in addition to its fair pricing and rich flavor, it's worthy to be the top pick among store-bought barbecue sauces.