There’s a wide world of barbecue rubs and sauces on the market: I get plenty of them sent to me, and I love to scan the grocery-store aisles for new flavors. These are a handful of the Texas products I’ve really enjoyed using at home and make sure to stay stocked up on. There’s a good chance you can get your favorite barbecue joint’s seasonings and sauces in-restaurant, but these smoked meat helpers are created for folks who specialize in packing flavor into every bite.
Verde Chimichurri Grilling Sauce, AXEL Provisions
Axel Brave is a Houstonian with Argentinian roots. In 2018 he launched a line of grilling sauces and seasonings, which includes three types of chimichurri, the national condiment of Argentina. Each of these herb-heavy sauces can be used as a marinade, brushed on during grilling, or drizzled on as a garnish. The “verde” version has that distinct oregano flavor you’d expect from chimichurri, as well as parsley and cilantro.
The Smokin’ Red Texas Style Hot Sauce, Boerne Brand
Every Texas pantry needs an everyday hot sauce, and this smoky red hot sauce is mine. The thinner consistency allows it to meld into a brisket-stuffed breakfast taco, and its comfortable heat is a welcome addition to smoked sausage slices or as a topper for a warm bowl of chili con carne.
Thundering Longhorn Beef Rub, Fire & Smoke Society
The label says this product is made in Arkansas, but it’s in the Austin kitchen of Paula Disbrowe, the company’s chief of flavor, that all the rubs, seasonings, and sauces are developed. I’m partial to the Thundering Longhorn flavor, which is a beef rub but also works well on poultry and pork. Disbrowe stays on the savory side with ingredients like ancho chile, espresso, and garlic, which means the rub won’t burn on a hot grill like many high-sugar rubs on the market.
Texas Tandoori Rub, Halal BBQ Pitmasters
A friendly backyard barbecue cook-off between a few Muslim friends in North Texas turned into a halal-barbecue competition team, a WhatsApp group with hundreds of members, and a line of unique rubs. Turmeric, cardamom, ginger, and cloves are as common as salt and pepper in Halal BBQ Pitmasters’ many flavors. The heat of the Texas Tandoori comes from chile powder, and it livens up the crisp skin of a half chicken on the grill.
Honey Hog BBQ Rub, Meat Church
Matt Pittman has turned his brand, Meat Church, into a behemoth in the barbecue-seasoning game from his home base in Waxahachie. The company is always releasing great new flavors, but I keep reaching for one of the old standbys. Honey Hog BBQ (also available in a hot version) works great to get that candy coating on a rack of ribs or add some zip to a pot of pinto beans.
Medium Salsa, PickleSmash
Though this salsa is red, it contains no tomatoes—the hue comes from annatto seeds. It has a refreshing mix of pickled cucumbers, onions, and jalapeños. The Austin-made salsa adds a cool crunch and a welcome acid kick to barbecue sandwiches and is great for tortilla-chip dipping.
Jalantro Hot Sauce, Sierra Diablo
Jalantro could be described as a smooth salsa or a spoonable hot sauce. There’s a “hot-ish” and a “too hot” version as well, but this particular blend of green chiles and jalapeños is right down the middle when it comes to heat. The San Antonio–based company calls it a cremosa without the cream. Spoon it onto a barbecue taco or over eggs, or just dip a chip into this umami-rich sauce.
Fried Turkey Seasoning, Hardcore Carnivore
Whether you’re frying, smoking, or roasting a turkey for the holidays this year, put down the stale poultry seasoning and get a fresher flavor from this blend of aromatic herbs and spices with a kick of jalapeño powder. Sprinkle a little in the gravy and the stuffing while you’ve got it out. This is a limited-edition item, so get a bottle before it’s sold out, like the Burnt Ends Sauce.
Bliss + Vinegar Wing Sauce, Yellowbird
Built on the heat of serrano peppers, this wing sauce has some unexpected ingredients, such as strawberries and dates. It provides a mellow burn that’s cooled a bit by coconut cream. Of course, it’s great on chicken wings, but it would also make a mean buffalo dip or dip for fried turkey. If you like to live on the edge, drizzle your pulled pork with it.
Gourmet Dijon Mustard, Bijan Mustardson
University of Texas running back Bijan Robinson released a punny mustard brand before the 2022 football season. Luckily for him, his performance this year has really cut the mustard, with 1,401 yards and sixteen touchdowns in eleven games. I hesitated to bring a bottle into the house because of my wife’s Oklahoma roots, but it’s a really good mustard, and I’m planning to whip it into a mayo-horseradish sauce for the smoked turkey I’ll be serving to my Oklahoma in-laws this Thanksgiving. You can also use it for a barbecue sauce base or as a pre-seasoning slather for brisket or beef ribs.
Bonus: Yuzu Japanese Barbecue Sauce, Bachan’s
There are barbecue sauces based on mustard, vinegar, and tomatoes, so why not one built on soy sauce? This isn’t a product with Texas ties (it’s made in California), but the original version of Bachan’s Japanese Barbecue Sauce has been a favorite dipping sauce and glaze of mine for a long while. I use it as a marinade base and squeeze it into the eggs I use for brisket fried rice. The new yuzu flavor gets some serious zing from the Asian citrus fruit and is one of my favorite commercially made sauces.