Favorite BBQ sauce from scratch or bought for pork BBQ

We are going to smoke a pork butt/shoulder next Sunday for our family get together. I am from NC and am going to make an NC vinegar based one as my sons love NC Lexington BBQ.
All the different kinds of sauce slay me. I know Sweet Baby Ray’s is good but which one is the best?

I don’t like the really sweet ones on pork. If I were cooking i would use the Amy’s Organic Original bbq sauce if not making my own. It’s tangier than most and lower in carbs/sugar. ( And I can’t give you my home made recipe because I don’t use a recipe, just dump stuff together. Most of the time it’s good ?


Jones https://www.jonesbbqkc.com/. Black women owned business that was featured on Queer Eye. We love it on pork and chicken.

I prefer Big Bob Gibson’s red sauce on my pulled pork.

Lots of people like the Bob Gibson’s white sauce on chicken as well.

I like the Whole Foods Cherry Pasilla BBQ sauce. I also use a salt rub on the meet first - The Salt Lick Original Dry Rub.

We love Sweet Baby Ray’s (the one we use just says “Award Winning Barbecue Sauce”) but I usually make my mother’s sauce:

6 T. ketchup
4 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. lemon juice
4 T. Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup molasses
4 T. butter
6 T. brown sugar
2 t. salt
2 t. dry mustard

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for half an hour. Yield: 1 1/2 cups (I usually double)

Bone Suckin’ Sauce.

Lillie’s Q.

Far better than anything else I have tried, and I have tried many.

I met the maker of Sweet Baby Rays some years ago at Publix. I was impressed with his youth and vision and enthusiasm. So I’ve been buying his BBQ and Sweet and Sour ever since.

I like Rudy’s.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Sensuous Slathering BBQ Sauce

Dinosaur’s is one of the best BBQ joint left in Manhattan. We can get their sauce in the local grocery store, but it’s also at Amazon.

We’re Stubbs fans here, specifically Hickory Mesquite or something like that, but it’s not vinegar based like H’s NC style BBQ. There’s no tomato or molasses in a true vinegar based Eastern NC sauce. I think there is in Western NC’s sauce, but I’m not at all familiar with that. H is from Eastern NC.

Last time we had that he made his own, but it wasn’t as good as what we could get at Bill’s BBQ (now closed - turned into Marty’s) at Wilson, NC. That’s one I wish we could recreate.

But if you like Sweet Baby Rays you don’t want recommendations from my taste buds because we can’t stand theirs - too sweet for us.

Stubbs Smokey mesquite is good, definitely! But our favorite by far is Sticky Finger’s Carolina Sweet. Couple that w/ some Carolina Brewery Rib Rub and chef kiss

These all sound delicious.

My personal favorite is Trader Joe’s Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce Bundle. Really great.

I’ll look for Stubbs. I too find sweet Babby Ribs sweet.

Stubbs Smokey Mesquite is one everyone in our family + extended family likes. It may just be our taste buds, who knows? But any other sauce we get is often liked by some and disliked by others. Stubbs seems to hit a spot where we all agree - and agree with “love it” vs “it’s ok.”

I just don’t equate it to an Eastern NC BBQ sauce if that’s what the OP is looking for. Not everyone in our extended family likes Eastern NC style. I do, but it’s definitely unique.

Sweet Baby Ray’s original works for me.

Lillie’s Q has a ENC (Eastern North Carolina) style as well. I haven’t tried that version, but have tried many Lillie’s Q varieties, and the complexity of their flavors blows away other BBQ sauces.

I first had East Carolina vinegar sauce at a real dump of a dive in Trenton, NJ. Changed my life. (Ok, not really.) The place later got closed by the healh dept. (But years after our visit.)

I’m with @Creekland on this one. No molasses, smokey, tomato or other that turns it into a “dressed up” sauce. I’d guess a true ECV would use simple ingredients.

I haven’t found a recipe that duplicates what I had that day. I recently made one with ACV, a tiny amount of sugar to temper the tartness, and a dash of Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Still not it.