Most barbecue experts tend to keep their secret sauce just that — a secret. It's their own homemade recipe, which they've tinkered, tweaked, and adjusted for years and years. Sometimes, though, even the experts will opt for the convenience of a store-bought sauce. So we asked four Texas barbecue pros to spill the details on their favorite store-bought sauces, and the good news is that you can get your hands on these too. (Just make sure you have plenty of napkins around.)
Jess Pryles: Author of Hardcore Carnivore, co-founder of the Australasian Barbecue Alliance, and resident of Austin, TX
- Meat Mitch WHOMP, $15 for 23.5 ounces: I have three go-to sauces. First there's Meat Mitch WHOMP. This is a classic Kansas City-style sauce, which is a luscious dark-burgundy color and perfect for brisket burnt ends.
- Kosmo's Q Peach Habanero, $14 for 16 ounces: The second is Kosmo's Q Peach Habanero. The hot kick is softened by the fruity notes — I like it with ribs.
- Code 3 Spices Patriot Sauce, $15 for 21 ounces: And lastly, Code 3 Spices Patriot Sauce. It's a great all-around classic BBQ sauce that gives a tangy finish to chopped barbecue sandwiches.
Trey Hutchins: Co-owner of Hutchins BBQ in McKinney, TX
- Sweet Baby Ray's, $3 for 18 ounces: My favorite is Sweet Baby Ray's because it reminds me of my dad's original barbecue sauce, developed in 1978.
Cuatro Kowalski: Owner of Freedmen's BBQ in Austin, TX
- Austin's Own, $3 for 18 ounces from H-E-B: Austin's Own is a very good, tomato-based sauce that doesn't need much in the way of doctoring. It has a great thickness and there's one with a good spice level that works for most palates. It caramelizes really well on chicken and pork too.
- Bibigo Korean BBQ Sauce, $4 for $16.9 ounces from Target: My other go-to for something different and less traditional is Bibigo Korean BBQ Sauce. I like that it's tangy and has lots of garlic and just the right amount of spice. It's also super if you want a barbecue meal over rice for a change.
Marlis Oliver: President, Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Q, in Leon Springs, TX.
- Allegro Gold Buckle Brisket & Fajita Sauce, $15 for 16 ounces: If I'm not eating Rudy's BBQ sauce, I'll opt for Allegro Gold Buckle Brisket & Fajita Sauce. It's got just the right amount of heat for fajitas and it's super versatile. It doubles as a tenderizer and marinade, and I like the smoky, mesquite flavor profile.
- Mark's Good Stuff Chicken 'N Ribs BBQ Sauce, $3 for 14 ounces from H-E-B: Another favorite of mine is Mark's Good Stuff Chicken 'N Ribs BBQ Sauce. I use it as a basic barbecue sauce. It's got a solid, traditional flavor, and I like to use it when I'm smokin' chicken.
Do you have a go-to bottle of barbecue sauce? Tell us about it in the comments below!