Sweet Baby Ray's (or "SBR" to enthusiasts) is one of the most ubiquitous store brands of BBQ sauce. For the next 6 Mondays, The Condiment Bible will feature each available flavor, finishing up with the SECRET FLAVOR that few condiment lovers know about. This week's focus is on the Original.
FLAVOR - Very sweet and sticky, with a peppery vinegar middle and a mild smoky finish
CONSISTENCY - Very thick and gooey, coats food well
APPEARANCE - Typical BBQ sauce brown, with visible black pepper flecks when spread thin
SMELL - Sweet smoke with a mild vinegar bite
AVAILABILITY - Readily available
INGREDIENTS - HFCS, distilled vinegar, tomato paste, modified food starch, salt, pineapple juice concentrate, natural smoke flavor, spices, caramel color, sodium benzoate, molasses, corn syrup, garlic, sugar, tamarind, natural flavor
A friend of TCB was recently eating some less-than-acceptable BBQ sauce and remarked, "So this is what BBQ sauce tasted like before Sweet Baby Ray's." I couldn't put it better myself. When SBR went mainstream in the early 2000's, it pushed the envelope for store-bought BBQ sauce, and has since established an almost cult-like following among sauce fiends.
I have put SBR Original on everything. Spaghetti with tomato sauce? Check. Ice cream? Check. Mixed into soup? Check. It also makes a great base for homemade BBQ sauces, as well as slightly crazier concoctions (SBR mixed with ranch is a personal favorite).
If you haven't tried this sauce, please do so immediately. It may not be the absolute greatest BBQ sauce in the world, but I posit it is the best all-around sauce that is available in virtually every grocery store.
Like the Sweet Baby Ray's slogan asserts: "The Sauce is the Boss."
Note: Pictured above in all its behemoth greatness is the mega 40oz. bottle. That's right...2.5lbs. of squeezable goodness!