We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty ready for the sun to make a return now. And with that, the first thing that comes to mind is a good barbecue. But why wait until the summer? Sure, we might not be ready to cook over the flames again yet, but we can get pretty darn close to the taste with a smoky, sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. Whether drizzled on ribs or used to marinade pulled pork, veggies or chicken — we’re salivating just thinking about it!
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the best bottled barbecue sauces money can buy. Whether you’re wanting a jerk, American or Asian style sauce, there's something for meat-lovers, vegetarians and vegans alike. With offerings from BBQ sauce brands like Levi Roots, Sweet Baby Ray's and Rufus Teague, our recommendations can be found on Amazon, eBay, Tesco and Asda.
Most of us will have tasted BBQ sauce at some point — but what exactly is it? It’s a taste that's synonymous with the Southern and Eastern United States and although it's not truly known where the sauce originated from, it is believed to have come from the first American colonies in the 17th century.
The ingredients can vary wildly, but the sauce almost always includes some variation of vinegar, tomato paste or mayonnaise (or a mix of these) as the initial base, as well as molasses, black pepper, mustard and different spices to make its distinctive flavour.
The sauce is often used as a marinade or for dipping. For marinating, the times can greatly change depending on what you are cooking. A chicken should be left for around 12 hours, with steak going up to 24 hours and pork even taking 3-5 days. On the other hand, fish and vegetables should marinate for no more than 30 minutes.
In this segment, we'll look at the various factors you should consider when buying a BBQ sauce. We'll go into the popular types and flavours from all over the world, as well as how to determine if a product will be suitable for you, your family and your diet.
Where a BBQ sauce comes from will massively influence the type of texture and flavour that you're going to get. Whilst there are many individual places from these regions that lay claim to their very own style of sauce, we have rounded them up into three categories to make them easier for you to identify when you're picking one up.
This is by far the most common style of BBQ sauce and the one you've likely found stashed away in the back of your kitchen cupboard from time to time. There's a long-standing debate in the US over whose is the original (and best) sauce — whether it's Carolina, Texas, or Kansas City. Although we'd love to get involved, we've found it impossible to choose, so we've had to bung them all in together.
Generally speaking, BBQ sauce from the US has 3 main ingredients: vinegar, tomato ketchup (or mayonnaise) and tomato paste. This provides a sweet, salty, smoky taste — all at the same time. Throw in the different variations of other ingredients generally used like onion powder, garlic, black pepper, mustard, and molasses and you're going to be having a taste-gasm in no time!
Although jerk BBQ sauce had existed for many years in the UK, it rose to prominence with the famous Levi Roots, whose Reggae Reggae sauce (which we'll be seeing later on) made a splash after being picked up on the hit TV show, Dragons Den. From there it went on to be a staple in most major supermarkets in the UK.
Jerk BBQ sauce traditionally uses fiery scotch bonnets, thyme, and a Jamaican pimento spice mix to create its unique flavour. It's generally seen at it's best when used on barbecued chicken — although it can be used on fish, vegetables and other types of meats as well. This is a type of sauce for those of you that love a little heat with your BBQ flavours.
Asia is big, so summarising a whole continent's worth of sauce in one or two easy-to-read paragraphs isn't the easiest thing to do. However, for the purposes of keeping things simple, sauce wise, we'll say that BBQ sauces originating in Asian countries are typically much thinner and often utilised to baste or marinate foods rather than to create a dipping sauce.
Ordinarily, Asian style BBQ sauce will be made with a soy sauce and sesame oil base, as well as other ingredients such as honey, apples, or pears. This not only generates a sophisticated sweetness but an original tasting overall flavour, too.
Whilst BBQ sauces are often created using a base of simple ingredients, various flavourings are often used to create flair in individual recipes. So it's always a good idea to check the label if you have any dietary requirements or allergies.
For example, if you follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle there can sometimes be unwanted surprises in some BBQ sauces, such as fish pastes or honey. However, as we like to make life easier for you wonderful folks, this will be specified in our ranking so you can be sure of what you're getting when purchasing your sauce of choice.
It's worth mentioning that one of the main ingredients in BBQ sauce is sugar or another sweetener like molasses. This is what gives it its distinctive sweet-savoury flavour when mixed with its other herbs and spices.
The recommended daily sugar intake is 30g, so stick to those around 25-30g per 100g and you should have no trouble enjoying your favourite sauce. Unless you're consuming a whole bottle every day, of course!
However, if you're watching your sugar intake or are on a bit of a health kick, you may like to choose a BBQ sauce that isn't too high in the sweet stuff. BBQ sauces that contain only naturally occurring sugars or those with under 25g of sugar per 100g are your best bet.
Now that you're familiar with what you're going to get from each wonderful variation of BBQ sauce, it's time to check out our recommendations! From the smoky to the sweet and everything in between — we're sure we have something that everyone will find satisfying.
|Sugar Content (per 100g)||33g|
|Sugar Content (per 100g)||54g|
|Sugar Content (per 100g)||15g|
|Sugar Content (per 100g)||26.7g|
|Volume||3 x 315 ml|
|Sugar Content (per 100g)||26g|
|Sugar Content (per 100g)||32g|
|Sugar Content (per 100g)||34.7g|
|Sugar Content (per 100g)||11.8g|
|Sugar Content (per 100g)||29g|
|Sugar Content (per 100g)||43.2g|
Sweet Baby Ray's
Lee Kum Kee
Reggae Reggae Jerk BBQ Sauce
All Natural BBQ Sauce
Barbecue Sauce Full Flavour Smokey
Jamaican Jerk BBQ Sauce
Original BBQ Sauce
Korean Barbecue Soy-Free Sauce
Honey Sweet BBQ Sauce
Char Siu Sauce (Chinese Barbecue Marinade)
Original BBQ Sauce
Packed Full of Real BBQ Flavour
A Tangy Sauce With Added Sunshine
The Same Great Flavour, but Containing Only Naturally Occurring Sugars
Bursting With Warm, Smoky Flavours
A Little Spice and Lots of Flavour
A Sweet, Thick and Smoky British BBQ Sauce
A Delicious Asian Sauce Thats Perfect for Those With Allergies or Sensitivities
For Those Wanting Sweetness but With Less Sugar
Authentic Asian Barbecue Flavour
A BBQ Sauce for Those With a Sweet Tooth
|Volume||510 ml||290 ml||250 ml||260 ml||142 ml||3 x 315 ml||355 ml||198 ml||397 ml||300 ml|
|Sugar Content (per 100g)||43.2g||29g||11.8g||34.7g||32g||26g||26.7g||15g||54g||33g|
As you know, BBQ sauce isn't the only ingredient you need for making delicious meals every week; you'll need to stock up your pantry with all sorts of essentials to keep your taste buds satisfied. We've found some of the best condiments and sauces to buy online, so why not have a look!
Whether you're looking for a finger-lickin' sauce for dipping or something to add a bit of smoky goodness when cooking indoors — we hope you've found our guide and ranking of the many different types and styles of sauces handy. We'll see you at the cookout!
Author: Lewis Clark
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