If you’re a fan of BBQ sauce and Trader Joe’s, then you’ve come to the right place.
Here, I’ll roundup all the BBQ sauces currently available at Trader Joe’s, then let you know which ones are the best according to consolidated customer reviews. I’ll even review two of the top choices and give you my honest opinion.
Types of BBQ Sauce at Trader Joe’s
As of February 2023, Trader Joe’s carries the following types of BBQ sauce…
- Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce (who makes it?)
- Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce (what to put it on, not discontinued despite rumors)
- Organic Sriracha & Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce
- Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce
- Organic Sweet & Spicy Pineapple BBQ Sauce
- Truffle Flavored BBQ Sauce
Trader Joe’s also carried a Korean BBQ Sauce back in the day, but it has sadly been discontinued despite being popular with customers. That said, rumors that TJ’s has discontinued their Gold Carolina BBQ Sauce are untrue as of 2023.
The TJ’s Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce, Organic Sweet & Spicy Pineapple BBQ Sauce are both seasonal and typically become available during the summer. The Truffle Flavored BBQ Sauce is a limited product and is only available at certain locations while supplies last.
At one point in 2022, TJ’s introduced a Cold Brew BBQ Sauce. However, they’ve since marked it as “unavailable” on their website, and it doesn’t seem to be available on store shelves either. Based on some not-so-great customer feedback, my best guess is that this experimental BBQ sauce got discontinued.
The Best BBQ Sauce At Trader Joe’s
Based on shopper input from across the internet, we’ve narrowed down the three best BBQ sauces at Trader Joe’s…
3. Organic Sriracha & Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce
Made primarily from tomatoes, sugar, and jalapeños, this Organic Sriracha & Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce is by far the spiciest BBQ sauce available at Trader Joe’s, which makes it an easy favorite among shoppers who love spicy food.
Like the other BBQ sauces on this list, this stuff is 100% vegan and gluten free.
Just beware of the sodium and sugar. In just 2 tablespoons, you’ll be eating 12 grams of sugar and 200 mg of sodium.
Each bottle of Organic Sriracha & Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce is available for just $2.99 for a 19.5-oz bottle.
2. Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce
The sweetest BBQ sauce on this list by taste, TJ’s Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce is made primarily from tomato purée and sugar (it contains three different sweeteners–cane sugar, brown sugar, and molasses). But that doesn’t change shoppers’ minds about this being one of the best BBQ sauces available at Trader Joe’s.
It’s completely vegan and gluten free, but watch out on that sugar content. Just 2 tbsp of this stuff contains 10 grams of sugar plus a whopping 250 mg of sodium. (Despite tasting sweeter, this stuff actually contains less sugar than the Sriracha & Garlic BBQ Sauce. Go figure.)
It’s unclear who makes this BBQ for Trader Joe’s, but it has consistently beat out Stubb’s brand BBQ sauces for flavor in taste tests.
Each bottle of TJ’s Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce is available for $2.99 for a 19-oz bottle.
1. Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce
Now, for the reigning supreme TJ’s bbq sauce… behold, Carolina Gold.
Despite being one of the most unique BBQ sauces at Trader Joe’s, this Carolina Gold BBQ Sauce has consistently been called the best BBQ sauce around. In fact, it used to be a seasonal product only available during the summer, but shoppers loved it so much that TJ’s made it a permanent offering.
Made primarily from sugar, mustard, and vinegar, this unique Carolina-style BBQ sauce is tangy, sweet, and rich in mustard flavor.
It’s both vegan and gluten free, although it does contain cornstarch. (While corn is not widely regarded as an allergen, some people live with severe corn allergies that can cause anaphylaxis similar to other serious food allergies.)
It’s not particularly spicy, but if you’re a fan of tangy mustard flavors, then you should definitely give this stuff a try.
Some of the most popular ways to use this sauce are by drizzling it on a burger, using it as a dip for pizza, or serving it alongside your favorite crispy chicken wings.
As one Reddit user puts it, it’s obsession worthy…
Another user mentioned that it makes for a great glaze on pork ribs…
And yes, it’s even been called a “favorite of all time” by one commenter…
My Review Of TJ’s Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce
I’m honestly not a huge BBQ sauce connoisseur, so one thing I’ll say about this review is that it’s going to be very honest… no BBQ sauce industry bias here.
Ingredients & Nutrition
This barbeque sauce contains organic tomato puree (water, organic tomato paste), organic cane sugar, organic brown sugar, organic distilled vinegar, salt, organic molasses, organic caramel color, natural hickory smoke flavor, organic onion powder, organic garlic powder, organic lemon juice concentrate, organic black pepper, organic paprika, and organic chipotle powder.
As mentioned above, it’s both vegan and gluten free. It contains 45 calories per each two-tablespoon serving, which includes 250 mg of sodium and 10 grams of sugar.
I can’t quite describe just how pleasantly surprised I was by this barbeque sauce. I think I might have even said “oh wow” out loud as soon as I took my first taste.
Like I said, I’m not the most knowledgeable barbeque sauce taste tester in the world, but this stuff is perfect, IMHO.
First off, it’s not nearly as sweet as I was worried it would be, despite containing three different types of sugar. It has just enough sweetness to give it that classic barbeque sauce flavor, and it also has a nice kick that I wasn’t expecting. It’s meaty, rich, and just a little bit spicy and sweet. As far as I’m concerned, that’s exactly what you want from a good standby barbeque sauce.
Granted, it won’t strike a true spice connoisseur as particularly spicy, but it has just enough spice to lift it out of the realm of being a bland sweet BBQ sauce.
For a classic batch of barbeque ribs, I wouldn’t hesitate a minute to use this Trader Joe’s Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce as my go-to glaze.
My Review Of TJ’s Organic Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce
This is the sauce I was most excited to try, because I’m a huge fan of roasted garlic (or really anything that contains garlic in any form). I also prefer my savory sauces to stay as far out of the sweet realm as possible, so let’s see how this spicy sauce measures up to the sweetness of Kansas City…
Ingredients & Nutrition
This sauce has an impressively long list of ingredients, including organic tomato puree (water, organic tomato paste), organic cane sugar, organic jalapeño puree (organic red jalapeno peppers, organic vinegar, salt), organic distilled white vinegar, organic molasses, natural hickory smoke flavor, organic roasted dried garlic, organic corn starch, organic worcestershire sauce (organic distilled white vinegar, organic molasses, water, organic cane sugar, salt, organic caramel color, organic garlic powder, organic black pepper, organic allspice, organic nutmeg, organic clove, organic ginger powder, organic cayenne powder, xanthan gum), organic garlic puree (organic garlic, water), organic garlic powder, salt, organic onion powder, organic caramel color, organic dried garlic, organic habanero pepper powder, and xanthan gum.
In each serving (two tablespoons), you’ll be consuming 60 calories from 200 mg of sodium, 12 grams of sugar, and 14 grams of carbs.
This sauce is also 100% vegan and gluten free.
While I was pleasantly surprised by the Kansas City BBQ Sauce, the opposite turned out to be true with this Sriracha & Roasted Garlic Sauce.
As a fan of spice and garlic, I really expected to love this stuff, but I ended up finding the flavors a bit unexpected and strange.
The flavor is fairly spicy on the front end but not overly so, but the immediate aftertaste is extremely sweet in a way that I really wasn’t expecting. It honestly tasted more like a spicy sweet and sour sauce to me than a barbecue sauce. I also didn’t really get much of a hint of garlic, which was a let down.
While I never actually tried Trader Joe’s Korean BBQ sauce before it got discontinued, I wonder if this was their idea for an alternative. I personally wouldn’t think to put this stuff on any classic barbecue dishes, but I could see it used in some Asian-inspired meat dishes.
As a side note, I do appreciate that Trader Joe’s offers such a wide range of organic
barbeque sauce options, especially at such low prices. It’s not hard to skimp on quality of ingredients for condiments, so I appreciate that Trader Joe’s goes the extra mile to keep these sauces as clean as possible.