Barbecue Sauce is like a good wine, there are many varietals and as each wine goes well when paired with different dishes so is the case with good barbecue sauce. You might want to use a sweeter thinner Carolina sauce for your chicken, a smoky, whisky barbecue sauce for your ribs and a Japanese or Chinese barbecue sauce for pork dishes.

Buying all the best sauces for each specific dish is pretty costly and will end up being wasteful. So my top 10 favorites will include bottled sauces that can be used for many barbecue dishes.

I’ve tried many brands and I have made my own barbecue sauce quite often, these barbecue sauces are in my pantry and ready to go at a minute’s notice.

Please note all 10 of these sauces are pretty good, it’s that some of them hold up better than others which increases their likeability.

Here are my favorites ranked last to first.

10. Heinz Original Sweet and Thick Barbecue Sauce

Heinz does an OK job of making good barbecue sauce, it is pretty sweet but I’ll use this in other sauces or dips that need to hold up. The price point for this sauce is good and the flavor isn’t bad.

9. Bulls Eye Original BBQ Sauce

While this sauce is pretty balanced, it has a pretty good smokiness to the sauce for store-bought sauce. It’s a bit sweet which I’m not so sure they need but in a pinch this will do for your bigger meats, ribs, and pulled pork.

8. Lillie Q Smoky Barbecue Sauce

Lillie Q has roots in the south and this sauce is a Memphis type of barbecue sauce that has a Memphis sweetness to it but the smokiness makes it a great all around barbecue sauce that is available at your grocery store.

7. Jack Daniel’s Original #7 Recipe Barbecue Sauce

This is a pretty good sauce that definitely has a more smokey flavor than most store-bought sauces. The sauce is comparatively not that sweet and the spice is soft and goes well with many of your barbecue dishes.

6. Sticky Fingers Memphis Original Sauce

The Memphis Original Sauce is a little sweeter than most sauces but not as nearly sweet as their Carolina Sweet Sauce. I like this sauce and use it for dips, or add in to my homemade sauce for a little sweetness.

5. Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack Original Sauce #1

This is a good sauce that’s not to sweet and has a little kick to it. It’s a Kansas City sauce but goes great with ribs, and pulled pork. I even used it on barbecue shrimp and it was excellent. Available at Amazon.

4. Rufus Teaque Whiskey Maple Sauce

While this has some sweet tendencies the whiskey and slight smoke flavor are pretty tasty. This is a thicker sauce that is made from natural ingredients. It’s is definitely in my favorites list.

3. Stubb’s Original

I like Stubb’s because it doesn’t have high corn syrup and it’s not that sweet. It has a nice pleasing spice and would go great on ribs, pulled pork, chicken and most barbecue dishes.

2. Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce

I’m a big fan of Sweet Baby Ray’s and don’t let the name fool you, it’s not named Sweet Baby Ray’s because the sauce is very sweet it was named for the little brother of the creator of the sauce, Chef Larry. Chef’s little brother David while shooting hoops on the West Side of Chicago was dubbed Sweet Baby Ray after his impressive appearance on the basketball court. This very tasty sauce is very good on all of your barbecue recipes and Sweet

Baby Ray’s now comes in many different varieties. They’ve been around for over 30 years and know how to put out a good sauce. For those watching your sugar, Sweet Baby Ray’s has an outstanding sugar-free sauce that is very good and I recommend it.

1. Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ Sauce

Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ Sauce is my favorite bottled barbecue sauce and it’s made right here in New Jersey.

I met a guy who has broken the myth and the notion that anyone north of the Mason-Dixon Line can’t cook good barbecue. I met Butch Lupinetti from Butch’s world-famous Smack Your Lips Barbecue! The guy has won hundreds of awards for his sauce and ribs and won a barbecue “throw down” with renowned TV chef Bobby Flay.

I have had many sauces, made my own, too, for years, but his is the best, bar none.

I got to know Butch quite well, went to his house to pick up sauce and used to see him every year at the New Jersey State BBQ Championship in North Wildwood. His sauce is so good and was the best that I had at the big BBQ competition. I use the sauce frequently and on all barbecue dishes.

Unfortunately, Butch who created the sauce and outstanding rubs, passed away a few years ago. The great news is that his daughter has so efficiently taken over and continues the great tradition of providing outstanding sauce and rubs. Sauce is available online at

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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