Home Ideas These Are the Best BBQ Sauces for Pizza

These Are the Best BBQ Sauces for Pizza

9
images 1.fill .size 2000x1124.v1708467845
images 1.fill .size 2000x1124.v1708467845

Barbecue pizza is a stunning example of how flexible pizza can be. Tomato sauce is just one of many sauces you can slather on your pie, but the sweet and smoky flavors of barbecue sauce make it a particularly appealing alternative. The challenge is that BBQ sauces vary widely in flavor and consistency, perhaps even more so than tomato-based sauces. I wanted to find the BBQ sauce for pizza, so I grabbed eight popular brands from my local supermarket and got to slingin’ pies. 

The competitors 

Eight barbecue sauces lined up on a counter.

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

I selected my contestants based on Reddit, what my supermarket had available, and what I figured might be available in different regions of the US. There are sauces in this list that are huge brands, and some that are slightly smaller operations. The brands are as follows: Sweet Baby Ray’s, Stubb’s, Sticky Fingers, Rib Rack, Kraft, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue, and A1. I know A1 is not specifically barbecue sauce (it’s just labeled “sauce” actually), but it counts as a barbecue sauce to me, so it’s here. I’ll tell you right now, it was not the loser.

What makes a good BBQ pizza sauce?

Each of these brands has an “original” and between three to eight different sub-flavors—sweet and smoky, hickory and brown sugar, Carolina gold—it’s a little overwhelming in the condiment aisle of my ShopRite. I decided to keep things simple and chose the “original” flavor of each brand. 

BBQ sauce for barbecuing is different from BBQ sauce as pizza sauce. With this in mind, I couldn’t just taste sauce straight from the bottle and give you a flavor run down. When assessing each sauce I was considering the flavor and consistency when it went on the pizza, and also how it tasted after cooking. I made two pizza options: a plain pizza, simply topping the sauces with shredded mozzarella, and a pizza where the sauces are topped with cheese, grilled chicken, and red onions (classic BBQ pizza toppings in my book). I was prepared for the ratings for each sauce to reflect across both pizza types, but the toppings actually made a big impact on how the sauce came across. 

Without further ado, here’s how these sauces ranked overall and by their strong suits.


Close-up of Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce bottle

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Sweet Baby Ray’s

Best overall BBQ sauce

I was impressed by Sweet Baby Ray’s. The sauce is sweet, but not cloying. The sweetness is quickly followed by a smoky flavor and finishes off a tad bitter, but that’s not a negative. This is the barbecue sauce you want to use for that classic barbecue pizza flavor. It compliments other flavors while holding its own. 

This was the only sauce that tasted great both with plain cheese and with toppings, which means it can play well with other ingredients or alone without being overpowering. Sweet Baby Ray’s has a thick consistency, so it’s not running off anywhere. You can adjust how much sauce you want on your pie for a more or less robust layer.


Close-up of Kraft barbecue sauce bottle

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Kraft

Best BBQ sauce with toppings

Kraft surprised me on pizza, and I’m not mad about it. Tasting it alone, this barbecue sauce is smoky first, sweet second. The experience is rounded off on a buzzy peppery note, which I thought was going to overpower the pizza. This was not the case.

Kraft tasted like classic BBQ sauce on a cheese slice, but it actually improved with toppings. If you know that your pizza will be laden with meats and veggies, you may want to select Kraft. Although Kraft and Sweet Baby Ray’s are both thick in consistency and begin their ingredient lists with high fructose corn syrup, Kraft rang up almost $1.50 cheaper at my grocery store. 


Close-up of Rib Rack barbecue sauce bottle

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Rib Rack

Best BBQ sauce for a plain pie

Rib Rack starts molasses-sweet with a caramel earthiness, but it’s balanced with a strong tangy presence. Paired with a simple mozzarella topping, this sauce really sings. The sauce’s tangy profile makes the mozzarella taste creamier, and the dairy seems to need nothing more. With toppings, however, I felt this sauce fell short. The complexity all fell away and only the sweetness came through. This sauce is perfect if you’re a plain pie lover and toppings just aren’t your thing. 


Close-up of Bachan's barbecue sauce bottle

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce

Best BBQ sauce for savory flavors

Of all the sauces on this list, I will incorporate this Bachan’s into the ranks of my fridge door. While not a classic American-style barbecue sauce (clearly) in either flavor or consistency, this one rocks. Most BBQ sauces start off sweet and acidic, but not this one. Bachan’s is garlicky, savory, salty, and sweet. 

The only reason this sauce didn’t win best overall for me is because of the consistency. Its first ingredient is soy sauce and that watery consistency is hard to control on pizza dough. I wouldn’t care, but the thin consistency means you can never get a thick layer on your pizza. The flavor is amazing, but it barely creates a coating. However, you can serve it on the side and dip your crust in it. I would suggest this to anyone who would prefer savory flavors to the traditional sweet barbecue sauce.


Close-up of Stubb's barbecue sauce bottle

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Stubb’s

Best tomato-forward BBQ sauce

Stubb’s offers a tangy, tomato-y sauce with a peppery finish and tastes best with a simple cheese topping. I found it faded to a bland tomato flavor when the pizza was topped with chicken and onions. Stubb’s sauce has a medium consistency, so you can spread on a sizable layer but don’t pile it on too thick or it’ll weigh down the crust. Use this sauce if you want the best of both marinara sauce and barbecue sauce on a pizza. 


Close-up of Sticky Fingers barbecue sauce bottle

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Sticky Fingers

Best sweet BBQ sauce 

I shouldn’t have been surprised at the sweetness from a sauce called “Sticky Fingers Carolina Sweet.” This sauce is sweet from the jump, with a veil of acidity lingering far behind. Overall, this sauce was too sweet for my liking. It improved when toppings were added, presumably because the other ingredients diluted the sweetness a bit. I think this sauce would be lovely for anyone who prefers a sweet barbecue sauce to something more complex. 


Close-up of A1 barbecue sauce bottle

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

A1 Sauce

Best BBQ sauce if you don’t like sweet

A1 sauce is a confusing condiment, and that’s because you can use it to accent anything from hamburgers to stew or pizza. I was asking for a lot when I threw A1 down on my pizza crust, and oddly, I didn’t hate it. Well, I did hate it for a plain pizza, but it grew on me once I added toppings. A1 is a thin sauce that’s vinegar forward to the point where you need a moment to decide if this is all a bad idea. It’s also earthy, peppery, and floral, and I think that’s where credit can be given—it has a complex flavor profile. 

One thing it is not: sweet. If barbecue sauce bothers you because it’s always so sweet, try a thin (really, thin) layer of A1 on your pizza instead.


Close-up of Dinosaur Bar-b-cue barbecue sauce bottle

Credit: Allie Chanthorn Reinmann

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Best BBQ sauce for someone out there

This result really surprised me. I’ve enjoyed eating at actual Dinosaur Bar-B-Que restaurants in the past, so I thought this would be a solid choice for saucing my pizza. Sadly, this BBQ sauce is bland. It’s a tomato-based sauce and because of that there is a small amount of acidity but it’s hardly zingy. Otherwise, there’s a light sweetness and no spice at all. This sauce was fine with a plain cheese topping and all but disappeared when toppings were added. Perhaps if you have a “sensitive” palate then you’ll enjoy this as a pizza sauce. Maybe a child who has never had barbecue pizza before? Well, surely there’s someone out there who can appreciate it.

Source: LifeHacker.com