Some of the best barbecue sauces for pork + chicken.

Here are some of the best barbecue sauces for pork + chicken, both homemade and store-bought.

baby back ribs
Baby back ribs with red barbecue sauce.

The secret is in the sauce.

If you want the best barbecue pork or chicken ever, the secret is in the sauce. Even the best smoked or grilled meat needs a great sauce to take it over the top. In the South, the sauce often gets more attention than the meat.  Claims for  “the best sauce” vary by region, as almost every one has its favorite version. Growing up in North Alabama, my favorite sauce for barbecue pork and chicken is hands down Alabama white sauce. Most other Alabamians (and others) agree. 

My favorite barbecue sauces for pork + chicken.

I get asked often “what is the best barbecue sauce” for pork and chicken. In this post, I’ll share a few of my favorite recipes along with a few of my favorite store-bought barbecue sauces.  Every time I make my perfect pulled pork in the oven or buy smoked pork or chicken locally, I serve it with red and white barbecue sauce.  Over the years, I’ve tried many recipes and premade options, and I’ll share my favorites with you.

white barbecue sauce
Pork tenderloin with Alabama white sauce

The best white barbecue sauce (recipe + store-bought).

To start, let me clarify that when I say “the best,” I mean the best in my opinion:-) I know there are many fabulous white sauces out there. These are just my personal faves. My favorite recipe for Alabama white sauce is below.

Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

Yield: 2.5 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 2 cups mayo (Dukes is best)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper


  1. Allow mayo to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to take the chill off (ingredients will blend better).
  2. Blend in a food processor or shake vigorously until all ingredients are smooth and incorporated.
  3. Refrigerate a day ahead if possible, for flavors to fully meld together.
  4. Serve with pork or chicken.
Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 259Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 15mgSodium 414mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 0gSugar 2gProtein 0g

My favorite store-bought Alabama white sauce is Bob Gibsons white sauce.

How to use white barbecue sauce.

  • Pork sandwiches. Pour white sauce on top of pulled pork to make sliders or sandwiches. (Slaw is also great).
  • Smoked or grilled chicken. Chicken pieces can be fully submerged into a large bowl white sauce (this is how some competition smokemasters do it). Chopped or pulled chicken can be drizzled with white sauce for fabulous flavor.
  • Slaw. White sauce can be be used as a dressing and poured over chopped cabbage or bagged slaw.
  • Rotisserie chicken. Pull a rotisserie and chop the meat. Cover in white sauce and make chicken sliders.
  • Chicken fingers, nuggets, and such. Anything that is savory can be dipped into white sauce. Some folks even pour it on potato chips.

The best red barbecue sauce (recipe + store bought).

Sweet & Smoky BBQ Sauce

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan; place on stoveop.
  2. Bring ingredients to a boil, stirring continuously.
  3. Lower temperature to simmer.
  4. Simmer sauce for 10 minutes, longer for a thicker sauce.
  5. Remove from stovetop; allow to cool.
  6. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 58Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 185mgCarbohydrates 14gFiber 1gSugar 13gProtein 1g
My favorite store bought red barbecue sauce is Bull’s Eye Original BBQ Sauce. (This is also Cook’s Illustrated’s winner for store bought BBQ sauce).

How to use red barbecue sauce.

  • Smoked or grilled meat: chicken, pulled pork, ribs, beef brisket, and burnt ends.
  • Baked beans:  BBQ sauce is an easy way to make baked beans.
  • Burgers: Use sauce to make burgers taste extra rich and smoky.
  • Dipping sauce: And of course, it’s always a great dipping sauce for everything from chicken nuggets to veggie sticks to cocktail meatballs and more!

My favorite meats for barbecue sauce.

I hope these recipes or bottled sauces come in handy for you when you need to dress up your smoked meat or barbecue. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!

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  1. This dish looks delicious and nutritious. I really like it. Tasty. I have tried it many times but still not as good as today. I follow your recipe and I have a delicious meal. May I ask if I add more pepper to this dish is it okay?

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