Food Network Staffers' Favorite Store-Bought BBQ Sauces

Sometimes homemade isn't the way to go.

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July 04, 2021
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You're inviting friends, curating a menu, watching the weather, running to the store — a lot goes into planning a backyard barbecue! How can you stress less this summer? We're going to let you in on a little secret: We don't always serve homemade barbecue sauce. But with so many delicious options on the market, how do you know which one to buy? We asked Food Network staffers to share their favorite bottled BBQ sauces so it'll be a bit easier for you to pick the right one for your next get-together.


Stubb's Spicy is my favorite barbecue sauce — just the right amount of sweet and heat for me. I love to use it as a chicken thigh marinade for an easy grilled weeknight meal, brushing a bit of the leftover marinade on as the chicken cooks. You'll also want to save some in the bottle for serving on the side.

- Julie Hines, Managing Editor, Food Network Kitchen App

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While this isn't exactly store-bought, the $6 sauce can be shipped nationwide. Full Moon Bar-B-Que is an institution in Alabama and the brand's white sauce is a pantry staple for everything from weeknight pulled chicken to a whole grilled bird. It's creamy, tangy and just right for summer barbecues. Order a bottle or two for your family this summer and I promise you'll need more come fall.

- T.K. Brady, Senior Editor

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Anytime we're barbecuing during the summer and need to marinade chicken or ribs for the grill, my go-to is Stubb's Barbecue Sauce. It tastes great with smoky flavors and adds its own sweet and tangy seasoning with any meat you're cooking.

- Lauren Tom, Associate Content Producer

This is a basic BBQ sauce, with great depth, but not overly sweet. It makes a great base to doctor up and works well with most proteins, except seafood. Readily available, affordable with artisanal-like qualities. There are other flavors, but I find Original is king.

- Richmond Flores, Food Stylist

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The BBQ competition circuit is intense; if you've ever been to an event, you know there is some dynamite BBQ out there. But that sticky, sweet and smoky blue-ribbon stuff is hard to find outside the judge's circle. That's why I'm so excited that award-winning Handsome Devil opened a brick-and-mortar BBQ joint, essentially in my backyard of the Hudson Valley in upstate New York. I love their Carolina Red BBQ sauce: vinegar-based and inspired by the flavors of the Piedmont Mountain range. It's perfectly balanced, subtly sweet and spicy with a nice smoke and tang. It's great on BBQ, but you can also slather it on fish or use it as a dip for fries.

- Leah Brickley, Senior Editor, Culinary

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I am obsessed with KYVAN's Honey Apple BBQ Sauce. It has just the right level of sweetness, and once it hits your tongue, its perfect mixture of spices dances on your tastebuds. Regular old BBQ sauce is already great on its own, but this one has this added touch of complexity that makes it super special.

- Maggie Wong, Editor

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Picking a favorite is not easy — I love trying new barbecue sauces, and I haven’t met many I didn't like! But this Twisted Tea-infused BBQ sauce is one of my current go-tos. Molasses and brown sugar give it an irresistibly sweet flavor that’s complemented with hints of vinegar and savory spices. I’ll be pouring this over grilled veggies all summer!

- Meghan Hynes Cole, Associate Editor

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This is it. The sweet-and-tangy Carolina mustard sauce that works just as well on grilled meats and pulled pork as it does by the spoonful. I could drink Lillie's Q Gold straight from the bottle. Try it on your next turkey club or use it as a salad dressing.

- Ethan L. Johns, Associate Editor,

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