What to Eat with BBQ Sauce (Besides Smoked Meat)

Remember the time I bought way too many rice cakes and needed to come up with ways to use them? Well, I recently got myself into a similar predicament with BBQ sauce. See, Sweet Baby Ray’s was giving away free sauce at Smorgasburg (a weekly pop-up food fair here in L.A.) and I greedily grabbed one of each flavor. Now I have 12 bottles of BBQ sauce in my fridge and I desperately need ways to use it.

Luckily, BBQ sauce is an S-tier condiment. It’s smoky. A little sweet. Sometimes it’s even spicy. And it goes with lots of things. Here are some Sporked-approved products we think are perfect matches, even if you aren’t dealing with a ridiculous BBQ sauce surplus.

Great Value Popcorn Chicken 

I’ll fight anyone in the comments who says popcorn chicken isn’t the best form of breaded chicken you can get in the frozen section, and, boy, is it good with BBQ sauce. Good ol’ Great Value makes the Sporked crew’s favorite popcorn chicken. As editor-in-chief Justine Sterling said, “The round little balls of crispy chicken get nice and crunchy on the outside and they’re juicy on the inside (if slightly spongy).” A dunk in some BBQ makes them like an app at chain restaurant.

Read the full ranking of the best popcorn chicken

Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Tater Tots

Everyone knows that tater tots (and fries and…) taste great dunked in BBQ, but I’m taking things to the next level. Drizzle the sauce over a bed of hot, crispy tots and then add shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon, sour cream, and chopped chives. Voila. Loaded tots. And these Ore-Ida Extra Crispy tots are the best tots. Sporked managing editor Gwynedd Stuart described them as “extremely crispy (as advertised),” with a “crackly coating gives way to a hot, creamy potato center that contributes a convincing freshly fried feel.” You need a crispy tot to handle all that sauce and these are just right.

Read the full ranking of the best tater tots

Kroger Swedish Style Meatballs

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to throw a party to pull out the crockpot, fill it with BBQ sauce and meatballs, Midwestern potluck-styley. There couldn’t be a more perfect meatball for the job than Kroger Swedish Style Meatballs, which Justine called “small but not mini with a smooth texture inside that’s contrasted by tasty crispness on the outside.” They’re small enough to be poppable while the crispy outside helps them hold up to the sauce.

Read the full ranking of the best meatballs 

Newman’s Own Thin & Crispy Crust Four Cheese

As we’ve established, I have an ungodly amount of BBQ sauce to get through, so we’re getting creative. Make a delicious BBQ chicken pizza by grabbing a Newman’s Own Thin & Crispy Crust Four Cheese pizza, drizzling some bbq sauce on it (in a spiral, of course, or it doesn’t count), and then adding red onions and shredded rotisserie chicken. BBQ chicken pizza is usually thin crust, so that’s why we went with Newman’s Own. This pizza is almost exactly like a Domino’s thin crust—delicate but sturdy enough to handle toppings.

Read the full ranking of the best cheese pizza

Bubba Burgers Angus Beef + Food Club Onion Rings

I have a strong affinity for frozen burger patties from my time living in a frat house (we ordered based on price, not quality), and I’ll say with confidence they’re perfect for dousing with BBQ sauce, especially if you’re going full Western burger and adding onion rings, too. Now that I’m no longer subject to the shopping whims of frugal college students, I spring for Bubba Angus burgers, which Gwynedd described as “richer, beefier, cleaner” tasting than Original Bubba Burgers. Pair them patties with Food Club Onion Rings, which are dead ringers (pun intended!) for Burger King onion rings. Really want to go wild? Add some bacon, too.

Read the full rankings of the best frozen burger patties and the best frozen onion rings

About the Author

Vinz Karl

Vinz Karl is a freelance contributor to Sporked and self-proclaimed Guy Fieri superfan. He believes in breakfast supremacy and is on a never-ending mission to try every flavor of Oreo out there. Originally from the Midwest, Vinz now resides in Los Angeles, where you can find him going on hikes, checking out new restaurants, and preparing for his eventual casting on CBS's Survivor.

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