Top barbecue sauces

FRESNO, Calif.

Chicken, ribs, and all things barbeque are favorites at this restaurant. Chef Bosora says the secret to great-tasting barbeque is all in the sauce.

Chef Bosora said, "The sauce is what really brings out the flavor. That's really the key ingredient to barbequing anything."

Consumer Reports' trained sensory panelists spent weeks tasting 10 store-bought barbeque sauces.

Ellen Klosz said, "The testers tasted the sauces on broiled chicken tenders and on chicken thighs cooked in a slow cooker. But we rated them on how they tasted straight up."

Included in the tests, sauces from names like Emeril, Jack Daniel's, and Stubb's, and supermarket staples like KC Masterpiece and Kraft Original.

Ellen Klosz said, "Barbeque sauces can be a combination of tangy, sweet, spicy, and smoky, but to be good the flavors should be well-blended and complex."

Not surprisingly, no two sauces were the same. Consumer Reports found most improved when cooked with meat. But Jack Daniel's Original No. 7 Recipe was one of the exceptions.

Ellen Klosz said, "It was gelatinous, with an overwhelming smoky, ashy flavor, and the cooking didn't help it, either."

In the end, Consumer Reports rated four sauces very good, no matter how you use them. Among them, Target's Archer Farms Texas-Style Barbeque Sauce.

Ellen Klosz said, "The Archer Farms sauce was spicy and smoky, with lingering heat and a splash of cider vinegar. It worked well as a dip and in cooking."

If you like a thicker sauce, the least-expensive tested, Walmart's Great Value Original Barbeque Sauce, is a tasty choice, too.

Consumer Reports says the two other all-around good sauces are the KC Masterpiece Original, it's a bit sweeter, with a lingering heat, and Emeril's Bam B-Q Sauce. Emeril's is the most unusual, with hints of cumin and celery seed, a bit of sweetness, and a touch of smoke.

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