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3 Ways to Level Up Store-Bought BBQ Sauce

Spice up your life...and your sauce.

We know what you’re thinking: For the love of Sweet Baby Ray, why would you ever mess with barbecue sauce? It’s pretty much the perfect creation – sometimes tangy, sometimes smoky, often with a little kick. Trust us, though, these twists on the classic give you the sauce you love plus an easy upgrade (yes, we swear!) that will take your grill game to the next level. Try these super fly sauces however you use your usual BBQ sauce – as a marinade, dip, or spread (we went ahead and included a few of our favorite ways here).

Miso & Lime BBQ Sauce

½ bottle (9 ounces) store-bought barbecue sauce, such as Sweet Baby Ray’s 

¼ cup/4 tablespoons white miso paste

¼ cup/4 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lime juice (approximately 2 ½ limes) 

Yield: 1 ¼ cups 

Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.

How to use: Wrap a hot dog with one slice of bacon. Grill until the bacon is crispy, about 8 minutes. Toast the buns on the grill or in the oven until light golden brown. Brush the bun with BBQ sauce, add the bacon-wrapped hot dog, and brush or drizzle with extra sauce.

Pineapple & Gochujang BBQ Sauce

1 (18-ounce) bottle store-bought barbecue sauce, such as Sweet Baby Ray’s 

1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple

4–6 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste), depending on your spice tolerance

Yield: 2 ½ cups 

Directions: Blend the crushed pineapple to a rough purée using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender. Mix with the barbecue sauce and desired amount of gochujang until well combined.

How to use: Place eight bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, skin side down, on a grill pan (or oiled grates) over medium-high heat. Grill until the skin is starting to crisp but not burnt, about 5 minutes. Turn over and lower the heat to medium, or move to the cooler side of the grill, and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, 20–25 minutes, turning halfway through. 

Add 2 cups of the infused BBQ sauce to a bowl and reserve the remainder in an airtight container for another use. During the last five minutes of cooking, brush the barbecue sauce liberally on both sides to glaze the chicken and create a nice char.

Orange & Chili Garlic BBQ Sauce

1 (18-ounce) bottle store-bought barbecue sauce, such as Sweet Baby Ray’s 

1 (6-ounce) carton frozen orange juice concentrate, such as Minute Maid

1 tablespoon Cravings’ Chili Garlic seasoning (or more if you like it spicier!)

Yield: Just under 2 cups 

Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined, adding as much Chili Garlic seasoning as you need to get the heat you prefer. 

How to use: Make 2 pounds of your favorite pulled pork recipe with no additional seasoning. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour two cups of the barbecue sauce over the pulled pork in a baking dish, using tongs to incorporate it into the meat fully. Bake for 15 minutes stirring halfway through, or until heated through. Serve the pulled pork on a bun or over rice with an extra drizzle of sauce.

Stovetop: Mix the pulled pork and BBQ sauce using tongs. Cook on the stove on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. 

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