Texas Living

10 of the Best Texas Barbecue Sauces

By Peter Simek 8.10.21

How serious is Texas about barbecue sauce? Well, there are some parts of the state that will argue that sauce belongs nowhere near a well-smoked Texas brisket. There are other parts of Texas where sauce is an essential component, as in the Hill Country, where Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que finishes its famous pork chops by dipping them in a vat of steaming sauce.

Texas’ regional approaches to barbecue ensure that many styles and types of barbecue sauces thrive, from the thick, sweet red sauces of East Texas to the spicy, Mexican-inspired sauces of the Rio Grande country.

Barbecue sauce recipes are closely guarded secrets, the pride of backyard pitmasters and professional chefs alike. But Texas is also lucky to have many brands of barbecue sauce available at grocery stores throughout the state that can go toe-to-toe with any sauce brands in the country. Which is the best? We know better than to make that claim.  But if you are looking for a quick sauce option to pair with your next barbecue feast, these sauces won’t do you wrong.

Boerne Texas barbecue sauces
Jonathan Silverberg

Boerne Brand Original Jalapeño Texas Style Hot Sauce

This hot sauce-style condiment may not seem like a traditional Texas barbecue sauce at first glance, but in some ways, it is the most traditional style of Texas sauce. Back in the early days of Texas barbecue, when smoked meats were sold by German grocers in Central Texas, there was no sauce served alongside the brisket. Instead, grocers sold homemade hot sauces for customers who wanted to spice up their meals. Boerne Brand continues this tradition with a spicy jalapeño sauce that proves to be the perfect barbecue pairing.

Coopers Texas barbecue sauces
Jonathan Silverberg

Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que Sauce

Cooper’s unique direct-heat barbecue is finished with a dip in its signature sauce, which is thinner and more vinegary than many other sauces on this list. That makes Cooper’s sauce great as a mop or as a condiment to spice up your next batch of chopped brisket or smoked ribs.

Lewis Texas barbecue sauces
Jonathan Silverberg

Lewis Barbecue Hatch Green Chile Barbecue Sauce

A young legend in the Texas barbecue scene, El Paso native John Lewis turned heads when he moved his custom pits to Austin and began assisting Aaron Franklin at the legendary Franklin Barbecue. Lewis has since moved on to Charleston, South Carolina, where he evangelizes the Deep South on the secrets of Texas barbecue. Luckily, his signature sauce — with its distinctive hatch green chile kick — can still be ordered and shipped back to his native state.

LulingTexas barbecue sauces
Jonathan Silverberg

Luling City Market Barbecue Sauce

A hefty dash of Louisiana hot sauce and some yellow mustard have helped make this distinctive twist on barbecue sauce a favorite of frequenters of the Houston pit for 40 years. Those flavors also make this one of the more versatile sauces on the list, as it pairs well with brisket, seafood, or even a hefty egg breakfast.

Red River Bar-B-Que Sauce

Kevin and Ric Kiersh opened their League City barbecue pit in 2002. Their sauce stands apart for its rich, sweet flavor punched up with spicy cayenne and deep, smoky overtones. It makes this sauce a great addition to smoked meat as well as the perfect ketchup substitute on a grilled burger.

Rudys Texas barbecue sauces
Jonathan Silverberg

Rudy’s Bar-B-Q Sause

With roots that stretch back to a 19th-century roadside grocery north of San Antonio, Rudy’s began producing its sauce in 1989. It’s a pungent, strong-flavored delight elevated by plenty of pepper and a hint of clove.

Salt Lick Texas barbecue sauces
Jonathan Silverberg

Salt Lick BBQ Original Bar-B-Que Sauce

The signature ingredient of this Central Texas institution, Salt Lick’s sauce is as unique as it is delicious. The sweet, tangy flavor is achieved via a healthy dose of mustard, sweet tamarind, Worcestershire sauce, and not a tomato in sight.

Stanleys Texas barbecue sauces
Jonathan Silverberg

Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar B-Q Classic BBQ Sauce

East Texas is a region where barbecue sauce has often been an essential element of the meal, thanks to the area’s deep Southern roots. Stanley’s in Tyler bottles its classic sauce that works both as a mop and as a great accompaniment for smoked meat, chicken, burgers, and seafood alike.

Stubbs Texas barbecue sauces
Jonathan Silverberg

Stubb’s BBQ

No list of Texas sauces would be complete without this perennial favorite, which dates its recipe back to the legendary Austin joint that has long served up great barbecue with great live music. Stubb’s line of sauces has become ubiquitous throughout Texas grocery stores, and while the go-to original flavor is a Texas classic, the spicy and hickory sauces pack heaps of flavor.

Tin Roof B-B-Q Sauce

One of the reasons Texas barbecue sauce is so good is that the recipes were often perfected by some of the state’s most beloved barbecue joints. That was the case with Tin Roof’s original sweet and tangy sauce. The restaurant was founded in 2001 by Nancy and Ronnie Webber, a retired Houston Police Department officer. Tin Roof has since expanded and added a line of sauces, which are available in original, honey chipotle, and smokey jalapeño.

Spice up your Texas kitchen with these favorite local hot sauces.

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