Best Barbecue Sauces & Rubs

By Gayot Editors

BBQ Sauces for Ribs, Veggies & More

What’s the best barbecue sauce to use even when you’re not grilling outdoors? It’s an important question and after much taste-testing, we have the answer.

Whether you want your sauces to be spicy, sweet or smoky with just a hint of tang, GAYOT’s list of the Best Barbecue Sauces has just what you want. These BBQ marinades and rubs — which range from exotically gourmet to down-home Texan way — will be sure to keep your taste buds happy all year long.

> Check out GAYOT’s Barbecue Guide.

1. Chipotle Maple Bacon CattleBoyZ BBQ Sauce

Prep your barbecue with a burst of flavor and just a hint of spice.

They say bacon makes everything better, but we think chipotle and maple should also be included in the mix. Flavor your choice of meats, from chicken to steaks and even vegetables with this Canadian-produced barbecue sauce. We like that it’s not too sweet, a touch spicy and just thick enough.

> For more information, visit CattleBoyZ official website.

2. Goode Co. BBQ Sauce Original

A quintessentially good sauce from the Goode Company, a popular Texas barbecue chain.

Goode Company’s signature sauce is a sweet and spicy mix that’s packed with flavors of honey, bacon, chili powder and other spices. It has a thinner consistency than most sauces — think more marinade, less gravy — which makes it easier for meats to absorb its smoky flavor. It works best on ribs, chicken or smoked brisket, but you can also use it on sandwiches or as a dipping sauce.

The sauce is available in Original, Heavy Garlic and Jalapeño Garlic. On a diet? You can also try Goode Company’s assorted barbecue rubs, which offer intense seasonings without the calories.

> For more information, visit Goode Company official website.

3. D’Oni Marinades

D'Oni Marinades
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This all-natural brand of marinades, dips and glazes are just what you need at your next cookout… or cook-in.

Meats and vegetables can too easily be spoiled by sauces high in sugar, sodium or fat. D’Oni gourmet marinades, spreads and glazes, which are all fat-free and low-sodium, offer a health-conscious way to enhance your food without sacrificing creativity of flavor.

Musically-named marinades like What’s Goin’ On Soy-Pear-Ginger Korean Teriyaki, Happy Together Orange-Chile-Garlic and Moondance Marinade sing with unexpected combinations of flavors for marinating tri-tip, steak, poultry, tofu and vegetables.

4. Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce

Stubb's Original Bar-B-Q Sauce
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This thick and zesty tomato-based sauce hails from west Texas and works well as a marinade or a dipping sauce.

C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield formulated his BBQ sauce recipes after years of cooking, singing the blues, and finally, as a Mess Sergeant in the Korean War. After returning with a Purple Heart from the war, Stubb opened his first barbecue joint in Texas. He soon began bottling his all-natural marinades, with none of the artificial ingredients found in typical grocery store sauces.

We find the tomato-based flavor of the original barbecue sauce to be zesty and full of character. It’s thick and works perfectly as a marinade, but also doubles as a convenient dipping sauce. Stubb’s sauces come in a variety of flavors, including Smokey Mesquite (another favorite), Honey Pecan, Hickory Bourbon and Mild.

5. Memphis Championship Barbecue Sauce

Memphis Championship Barbecue Sauce
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Do your ‘cue like a champ with this flavorful barbecue sauce.

Memphis Championship Barbecue founder Mike Mills packs his sauces in two varieties: Original and Spicy. He recommends marinating meat with his packet of “Magic Dust” instead of sauce, which he suggests you save until the end of the cooking time and keep on hand to dip the finished meats. The original sauce has a sweet-and-sour tang while the spicy variation is a blast of chilies and vinegar.

6. Hickoryworks Pure Brown County Shagbark Hickory Syrup

Hickoryworks Pure Brown County Shagbark Hickory Syrup
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From the backwoods of Indiana comes a sweet, smoky concoction to replace sweeteners in your favorite glaze recipes.

Unlike syrups made from tree sap, this amber mixture is made from the bark of the shagbark hickory tree, which is native only to Indiana, Kentucky and Michigan. Produced by a husband and wife team from trees on their own land, the syrup has a rich, woodsy flavor that no industrially-made syrup can match. Combine with bourbon, and you’ve got the perfect marinade for ribs or any of your other BBQ favorites.

7. Steven Raichlen Best of Barbecue Chipotle Molasses

Steven Raichlen Best of Barbecue Chipotle Molasses
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It’s nice to know that chef, author and TV personality Steven Raichlen isn’t just slapping his name on his BBQ sauce—it’s really good stuff.

Not only did we find this Barbecue Chipotle Molasses to be a tasty topping on our grilled burgers, but we were also glad to see that it did not char or burn (as lower-quality sauces do) while spending excessive time exposed to flame.

This tomato-based sauce walks the line between sweet and hot, but never cloying or off-putting. We’re looking forward to trying it on other hearty molasses-friendly dishes, like ribs and baked beans. You can also try Raichlen’s Cabernet barbecue sauce, which is perfect when pairing your meal with great barbecue wines.

> For more information, visit Steven Raichlen official website.

8. Rufus Teague Honey Sweet Sauce

Rufus Teague Honey Sweet Sauce
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This flask-shaped bottle may be tough and manly on the outside, but it sure is sweet on the inside.

Rufus Teague’s Honey Sweet sauce is made of natural ingredients including raisins, molasses and Dijon mustard. There are no hard-to-pronounce ingredients or chemicals, which is evident upon first taste. The light honey flavor perfectly complements the smoky base, and the twinge of citrus keeps the sauce fresh. It’s ideal for chicken and other light meats and for those following a Paleo or Keto diet.

We could smell the sweet scent coming off the grill, and when the anticipation became too much, we dipped some veggies in — and boy was it good! As Rufus says, “Good sauce makes bad barbecue good, and good barbecue gooder.”

9. Sake to Me Hottie Marinade

Sake to Me Hottie Marinade
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For a little exotic twist to your meal, this teriyaki marinade does the trick.

Sake to Me Hottie Marinade incorporates fresh chili peppers and cayenne along with saké, the Japanese rice wine, which tenderizes meat and crystallizes veggies. This versatile sauce is great for grilling, stir-frying, dipping or mixing with olive oil for a zingy salad dressing. We found that a little goes a long way.

After only an hour of marinating, both our steak and veggies tasted fresh and flavorful. But if super hot isn’t your marinade of choice, we highly recommend the Sake To Me Sweet-Hottie. It still maintains the spicy taste but is evened out with a mellow sweetness.