Kansas City-style sauces are based on tomato paste, molasses and—when good like Smokin’ Willie’s—a complex layering of other ingredients. Photo by E.Z. Buyforyu | IST.





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ERIC DANTIS is a professional cook in THE NIBBLE’s test kitchen.



June 2010

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Rubs, Marinades & Glazes

Best Barbecue Sauce

Page 4: Smokin’ & Mustard Barbecue Sauces


This is Page 4 of a four-page article on the best barbecue sauces. Click on the black links below to read the other pages. Also, see Part I, Part II and Part III of our best barbecue sauce series for other favorites, including kosher and sugar-free barbecue sauces.


Smokin’ Willie’s

Smokin’ Willie makes barbecue sauce in Northridge, California, northwest of Los Angeles. We were contacted by Smokin’ Willie himself (Bill Kelley), who asked if we would taste his barbecue sauces: Classic, Fiesta With Chipotle and Shanghai. At first we demurred because in the avalanche of barbecue sauce we receive, mostly are simple, sweet and not worth the cost of the chicken or ribs we need to buy to try them.

But Smokin’ Wilies’ was worth our time. All three sauces are fine; one flavor, Smokin’ Willie’s Classic BBQ Sauce, was our favorite of the three. There was a good hit of a dark tomato-caramel flavor that was slightly sweet and tangy. The smoke and spice is also very delicately balanced. The combination was bold, but not so overpowering that we could not taste the chicken we slathered it on. 

INGREDIENTS: water, tomato paste, brown sugar, sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, laic acid, molasses, citric acid, onions, garlic, food gums, blackstrap molasses, distilled vinegar, unsalted butter, natural smoke flavor, salt, lemon juice, modified food starch, garlic, crushed red peppers, black pepper, mustard flour, dehydrated onions, garlic powder, onion powder, seasonings. CALORIES: 2 tablespoons, 45 calories.


smokin’ willie’S

Classic BBQ & Grilling Sauce

  • Smokin’ Willie’s Classic BBQ
    & Grilling Sauce

    19 Ounces

Buy online at SmokinWillies.com

You also may like a copy of Smokin’ Willie’s Guide To Great Grillin’, which includes sections for appetizers, sides, main dishes and desserts along with a special section on marinades, sauces and butters.

  • Smokin’ Willie’s Guide To Great Grillin’
    Published By Home By The Sea Press
    120 Pages

Buy online at a discount at

We were pleasantly surprised to love this super sauce, made with all-natural ingredients. Photo by Jerry Deutsch | THE NIBBLE.

This guide will show you how to get your grillin’ noticed.

Texas Tasty

This is not a typical Texas-style sauce (see the different types of barbecue sauce), but everyone enjoyed Texas Tasty. The mustard-based barbecue sauce has a nice, but not overwhelming, mustard flavor that gives the sauce a slight heat. The sweetness of the sauce helped cool down the tingly spice.

There was no smoke flavor (a characteristic of Texas-style sauces), which disappointed some of us hoping for a hit of smoke; but this sauce deserves its mark in the “win” column. 

INGREDIENTS: Water, tomato paste, mustard (vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, turmeric, paprika, spices, natural flavor, garlic powder), hot sauce (cayenne peppers, vinegar, salt, guar gum, sodium alginate, xantham gum, yellow 6, red 40), vinegar, brown sugar, black pepper, dehydrated onion and garlic. CALORIES: 2 teaspoons, 25 calories.


texas tasty

BBQ Sauce

  • Texas Tasty BBQ Sauce
    16-Ounce Bottle

Shop online at TexasTasty.net

It didn’t have smoke, but it sure had flavor! Photo by Emily Chang | THE NIBBLE.

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