Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce (4/5)

  • Positives: Awesome flavor, recommended replacement for the good ole big cookout standby that you use today.
  • Negatives: Mass market ingredients, might be considered too sweet, squeeze bottle.

Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Barbecue SauceSometimes the stories behind the sauces are as tasty as their sauces. Here’s the Sweet Baby Ray’s story (from SBR website):
“It all began back in 1985 when a local Chicago boy named Chef Larry perfected his family’s recipe for a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce and entered it into the country’s largest rib cook-off, the Mike Royko Rib-off. Chef Larry called his sauce Sweet Baby Ray’s after his little brother David, who got the nickname shootin’ hoops on the west side of Chicago. On the day of the rib-off, Sweet Baby Ray’s beat nearly 700 entrants to come in second – an amazing feat for an unknown. The rest, as they say, is history.”

Sweet Baby’s Ray’s is now huge, with national distribution and availability at virtual any supermarket. And while I try to stay away from mass market BBQ sauces, I must say this one’s a winner. Although mass produced drawbacks such as high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and random ingredients such as “natural flavor” are apparent, it’s also undeniable that this is one damn tasty, and thick sweet sauce.

As a matter of fact, the only real negatives to the product were:

1. the package I chose – the squeeze bottle – and

2. the ingredients that mass produced stuff ends up putting in there to prolong shelf life and simplify and cheapen the production process. Lots of concentrates, preservatives, and goopy sweeteners.

So anyway, I opened the bottle and took my first sniff. Delightful. Smoky and sweet, with hints of garlic and onions, and maybe a little a little vinegar. Instantly I think to myself, I should put this stuff on ribs. But I had already purchased a package of chicken wings, so that would have to suffice this time around.

Before cooking it, I sampled the uncooked flavors using my trusty unsalted Saltine crackers. Smoky, sweet, and … bold I guess. Just a strong flavor that instantly makes your mouth water and think, let’s put away these friggin crackers and get on with it!

So I fired up the grill and got the chicken started; then gathered my tools, and started to prep the sauce. But when I opened the top, I realized I had opted for the wrong bottle! Don’t get me wrong – squeezable bottles are on my list of greatest all time food product enhancements – but only when you’re talking about condiments like ketchup and mustard. But a griller uses a bottle in a completely different way. I want an open mouth on my BBQ sauce, so I can pour it, unfiltered and unrestrained, watching it flow like lava into a wide open bowl in which I dip my basting brush. Sweet Baby! Next time I’ll get the big bottle.

Regardless, the sauce was nice and thick and made application to the meat a breeze. It clung onto the meat like glue… in a good way.

Post grill, I sampled my wings and they were as good as before if not better. The overwhelming sweetness got burnt off a touch, so the flavors smoothed out into a sweet yet hearty flavor. I haven’t tried their original yet, but this one is sure a winner in my book… er, site.Got a deal on this at a special 2 for $3 price. 18 oz squeezable bottle.

Smell: Very nice, round, complex sniffage. Just smells like a BBQ sauce should.
Taste: Sweet, hearty, bold, nice… could satisfy anyone’s palate I’d say.

Consistency: OK, I have a thing for thicker sauces. They made it thick – with modified food starch. Yum.

Packaging: Did I mention I didn’t like the squeeze bottle?

Overall Score: 4 out of 5

Ingredients: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Vinegar, Tomato Paste, Honey, Chipotle Pepper Sauce, Modified Food Starch, and less than 2% of: Salt, Worcestershire Concentrate, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Spice, Natural Smoke Flavor, Caramel, Sodium Benzoate for shelf life, Red Bell Pepper (dried), Natural Flavor (?), Garlic (dried).

Nutrition Info: 18G carbs, 0g Fat, 310mg Sodium, 70 Calories per serving (37g)

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Site Editor, BBQ Sauce Lover, Family Guy, Hi Tech Marketer by Day. He recently wrote the Ebook “How to Market Your BBQ Sauce” which can be purchased on this site.



  1. I also enjoyed this sauce but I was disappointed that the first ingredient is High Fructose Corn Syrup. I am going to try to replicate it this weekend using more honey and cane sugar. I got a habenaro to up the kick a bit also!

  2. you do know you can take the plastic retainer off the bottle so its not a “squeezable” bottle

  3. Edgar Supetran says

    Why High Fructose Corn Syrup that makes us Fat like as the feed the Pigs.
    Why not sugar from Sugar cane!
    Little profit but healthy Americans.

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