Supermarket Standoff: Barbecue sauces

Bon Appetit

When they're not busy tasting dishes over and over, Bon Appétit's food editors are tasting other stuff like different brands of chicken stock. Because while we're into making things from scratch, sometimes there just isn't time to brown veal bones for rich broth, or simmer strawberries into preserves. When we do cut corners, though, we want to do it in the tastiest possible way -- hence the taste tests of store-bought items.

Kraft Thick 'n Spicy
Photo courtesy of amazon.com

Today's item: barbecue sauce. Sure, Food Editor Hunter "Carolina Boy" Lewis might have a mean recipe handed down to him by his great grandfather, but most of us don't.

The good news? Many bottled sauces -- some of them made by big companies, some of them by two dudes with a passion and a big ol' stockpot -- are darn good. Here are six of our favorites.


Kraft Thick 'n Spicy

This is what we recommend using in place of our All-American Barbecue Sauce. (Don't worry: you'll still be very patriotic.)

It's balanced and so thick that it works well for dipping, too.

$1.99 at Fairway in New York City.

Bone Suckin' Sauce
Photo courtesy of buybonesuckin.com

Bone Suckin' Sauce

The thinnest of the bunch, this sauce is sweet and vinegary with a touch of chili heat. It would be great for pulled pork.

$4.99 at Fairway in New York City.








Rufus Teague Touch O' Heat
Photo courtesy of rufusteague.com

Rufus Teague Touch O' Heat

Leave it to the test kitchen cooks to have body builder-like palates. They detected anchovy, celery seed, tamarind, and raisin flavors in Teague's sauce. "This will stick to your ribs, literally," one of them said.

$4.99 at Fairway in New York City.


Trader Joe's Kansas City Style

"This is a total cheat sheet sauce." Translation: It's adaptable, and you could "put it on chicken and fake that it's charred." It's smoky, sweet, and has a pronounced tomato flavor.

$2.69 at Trader Joe's in New York City.




Bull's-Eye Original
Photo courtesy of amazon.com

Bull's-Eye Original

This is the smoky, thick concoction that we all grew up on. And we don't plan to stop using it, either.

$1.99 at Fairway in New York City.






Whole Hog Café #4

This world-class BBQ joint (with the trophies to prove it) in Little Rock, Ark., turns out a host of great sauces. Our favorite is the traditional Southern vinegar and spice.

$6.95 at wholehogcafe.com.


As for health -- not always a contradiction when talking BBQ--our nutritionist Marissa Lippert says go for the Bone Suckin' Sauce. "It's significantly lower in sodium than the others, a bit lower in sugar and about half the calories."


More from Bon Appétit:

25 One-Bite Appetizers

Junk Food Makeover: Healthier Chicken Nuggets

Top 20 Best-Tasting Burger Recipes

Healthy French Fry Alternatives

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