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The 6 Best Ways To Use BBQ Sauce

Let’s be honest, there are many obvious (and awesome) ways to use BBQ sauce—as a dip for chicken nuggets, to sauce up your grilled meats, and to make those little meatball appetizers that have been at every party since…well, forever. Leave what’s expected behind and discover the best ways to use BBQ sauce to take your meals from boring to unbelievable. If you have a fresh bottle of spicy BBQ you’re dying to try, or have a near-empty bottle of a mild hickory-smoked sauce to finish, follow along for six of our out-of-the-bottle ideas to use every last drop of your BBQ sauce.

Sweet or Hot Homemade Salad Dressings

Whether you douse salads in a premade dressing or prefer to make it from scratch, you’ll love how adding BBQ sauce can totally transform the flavor of your favorite greens. BBQ sauce is a quick fix for a store-bought dressing that’s just not cutting it, and can make any homemade dressing nearly drinkable (but please don’t). Making your own dressing is simple: Mix olive oil, vinegar, and honey. Swap in whatever oil, acid, and sweetener you have, and then drizzle in a BBQ sauce to bring your from-scratch dressing to chef’s level deliciousness. Revamp the whole lineup of salad’s greatest hits (Waldorph, Chef, Cobb, or Chop) with any of our smoky, spicy, and fruit BBQ sauces to give them an extra kick.  

AVO-BBQ Spread for Sandwiches & Wraps

Move over, mayo. An avocado-BBQ spread is a fresh substitute for mayonnaise, plus it’s full of good fats and scrumptious flavor. Mash chunks of avocado to a smooth consistency and then stir in BBQ sauce. We suggest pairing creamy avocado with a smoky BBQ sauce to satisfy any appetite and bring next-level flavor to chicken wraps and cold cut sandwiches.  

Update Deli Salads With BBQ Sauce 

Don’t forget about your summer sides when picking out BBQ sauce! Shop for a smoky or spicy sauce to turn your traditional, cold salads into something new and fresh. Cut down on the mayo in your go-to coleslaw recipe and use BBQ sauce instead. What was bland and expected is now smoky, a little spicy, and perfectly complements pulled pork sliders or ribs. Change up your potato salad, too. An extra-spicy BBQ sauce pairs nicely with the creamy, cool potato salad. Stir in some shredded chicken or pulled pork to elevate this one from a side dish to a simple meal.

Sauce Store-Bought Sides With BBQ

When you’re short on time but have barbeque plans, count on BBQ sauce to make any store-bought side dish sharable. Wait, what? Yes, mix BBQ sauce (aka lifesaver) into store-bought side dishes for any grill out. Don’t worry, it’s not lazy, it’s genius and the perfect cheat-code to killer premade sides. Go ahead and save yourself time with deli sides or canned baked beans, and sauce them into something you’re proud to serve. Hint: Pour your transformed side dish into a bowl from home, and no one will even know! But be warned: Pretending to make such a scrumptious side from scratch might prompt recipe requests. 

BBQ Sauce Mash-ups

Whether you find yourself mid-grillout without enough sauce to sufficiently slather your ribs, or you’re just looking to try something new, you can mix BBQ sauce with a whole slew of other sauces to create a brand new super-sauce. Stir two or more sauces together to create all-new dips, mix-ins, or marinades for all of your grilling and snacking needs. Some favorite sauce combos for BBQ are hoisin, mayo, and mustard, where the BBQ flavors can still shine but with a little extra sumpin’ sumpin’. 

Quick Dip Hack

Give your classic appetizer dips an overhaul with BBQ sauce. Quickly turn a go-to dip into a new favorite by stirring in a touch of heat, sweet, or mesquite flavoring. Visit the “dip packet” section of your grocery store and get creative! Give a basic ranch dip a Cajun kick.  Stir a tangy mesquite BBQ into a bacon ranch dip for tons of smoke flavor. Chipotle cheddar? Turn up the heat with habanero sauce. French onion? Go with a bourbon BBQ for a caramelly, rich dip. 

Don’t ignore your dippers either. These elevated appetizers call for sidekicks that are just as interesting. Add a fun selection of fresh veggies, soft pretzels, pizza bites, baguettes, and rye chips. Redefine what it means to dig in with these BBQ-inspired dips.

Have fun experimenting with many ways to use BBQ sauce as a solo condiment or in any of these perfect pairings. You’ll quickly see that BBQ sauce is the best way to add heat, smoke, or fruit flavors to traditional salads and sandwiches, and it’ll save you time (and pride) at barbeques when you need to bring a store bought, but sauced-to-perfection side dish.

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