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Does BBQ Sauce Go Bad?

Though we highly doubt any of our BBQ sauces will go unused for long enough to need this information, sometimes  condiments get shoved to the back of the fridge or cupboard, fall on their sides, and effectively go missing from the rotation (just like how socks get lost in the dryer). We get it. So, you found a bottle of sauce, you have ribs on the smoker, and you’d like to know if you should use it up, or open a new one. Well, that depends on how the sauce was stored, how it looks, and what the date on the bottle says. Read on to see how to handle this saucy situation. 

Can BBQ Sauce Spoil?

Short answer: Yes, BBQ sauce does spoil. Long answer: It depends. BBQ sauce stays fresh for a long time, so the chances that one of our delicious sauces gets lost or goes unused is slim, but we realize things like this can happen. Always abide by the printed expiration date—it’s there for a reason. Even if it’s not yet expired, before using any BBQ sauce that’s already opened, you’ll want to give it a good once-over. Does anything smell or seem off? If yes, toss it. Chalk it up to a learning moment and open a new bottle. 

BBQ Sauce Shelf & Fridge Life Expectancy

How long does a bottle of BBQ sauce last? Like most condiments, an opened bottle of BBQ sauce has a long shelf life—maybe even longer than your lease. It also has a long fridge life once it has been opened. Always read the date printed on the bottle to know for sure. An opened bottle of BBQ sauce can last anywhere from six plus months. The plus is important because unless you’re taking a very detailed inventory of your BBQ sauce, you might not know exactly when it was opened. Treat the plus like roughly six months, and then some. 

How to Properly Store BBQ Sauce

How do you keep condiments from going bad? Proper food storage. How you store BBQ sauce is a super important piece to keeping it food-safe and fresh. This might seem like a no-brainer, but for anyone who needs to hear it: Opened BBQ sauce should be stored in the refrigerator. Unopened BBQ sauce should be stored in the pantry or cupboard out of direct sunlight. 

When putting away your opened bottle of BBQ sauce, go ahead and wipe up the drips around the rim of the bottle so the cap fits snugly (this will also help you avoid that crusty situation when you go to use it later). A tightly sealed bottle will help keep mold from forming prematurely, plus it’ll block fridge odors from invading your sauce.

How To Tell If BBQ Sauce Is Bad

The telltale signs that a BBQ sauce has gone bad include mold or changes in  texture, color, and thickness. If you see anything suspicious: Toss it, don’t sauce it. 

Can Old BBQ Sauce Make You Sick?

There’s a low likelihood that eating old BBQ sauce will make you sick, but—as with any expired food—it is possible. Most condiments have a Best By date, not a Use By date. The distinction is important. Items marked with a Use By date should be discarded once that date has passed, opened or not. Items marked with a Best By date are likely not hazardous to consume after that date, they just might not taste as good. 

For a bottle that has been unopened and has reached its Best By date while carefully stored in your pantry, it is likely safe to use, but don’t let this one hang around for long. We have a lot of delicious BBQ sauces, so consider taking a loss on this one and treat yourself to something fresh.

Using Old BBQ Sauce

You might have an iron stomach so expiration dates and storage seem more like tips rather than rules, but take it from us: to have the best barbeque experience, fresh BBQ sauce is a must. You deserve to taste the smoky, spicy, zippy flavor in full effect. Imagine the ultimate cooking experience: prime meat, sizzling grill grates, perfect timing, and then you sauce with slightly off BBQ sauce. That’s not a feel-good moment. So, do yourself a flavor favor and abide by the shelf life and sauce storage standards to make every slathered, smoked meat count. 

Remember to read the bottle—that’s where you’ll find the best advice. Follow the Best By date and use proper storage to keep your sauce as fresh as the day you bought it. There are tons of ways to use BBQ sauce so you can avoid tossin’ and keep on saucin’.
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