Does BBQ Sauce Go Bad? – It All Depends!

pouring bbq sauce

Does this sound familiar?

You found a bottle of BBQ sauce in the back of your kitchen cabinet and wondered if it was still good to use.

Or, there is that half-empty jar of BBQ sauce in the fridge for a while and you wonder if you can still pour it on your meat.

“If you ever had that question I will try to answer it here for you. “

Expiration Dates On BBQ Sauce Bottles

All food, including BBQ sauce, comes with a “best by” date. Many people think that after this date the product is not good or edible anymore.

“Best By” date means nothing less than that after this date the taste or texture can change. It has nothing to do with spoilage as you can see in this list that I copied from

food safety dates on pacakging

How To Find Out If BBQ Sauce Is Bad?

So, if the labeling has nothing to do with the question if the sauce is bad we can only use our eyes, nose, and taste to find out if we can still use that bottle of BBQ sauce.

  1. Smell

BBQ sauce should have an aroma that is hard to resist. So, if it smells funny, rotten or makes you gag. Toss it!

  • 2. Appearance

You know how that sauce is supposed to look! So, if it looks moldy, discolored, or liquid at the top I would toss it!

  • 3. Texture

Your sauce should be smooth and not slimy and or clumpy in most cases. So, time to toss it if it does not look right

  • 4. Taste

If all the above seems to be in order it is time for the final test.

“Take a spoon and taste it! If it tastes alright the sauce is still good to eat and you saved a few box by not throwing it out.”

Best Way To Store BBQ Sauce

The simplest way to prevent a BBQ sauce from going bad is to store it the right way!

Unopened: You can store an unopened bottle of sauce for at least a year in your pantry.

If after that year you test it how I described above I believe you can still use it.

Opened: Refrigeration will obvious makes it longer before your sauce will go bad. However it will not last for ever and you still need to check it it is after the “best by” date.

How To Store Home Made BQ Sauce

I like to make my own BBQ sauces and you can find my best BBQ sauce for pulled pork here.

Since it has a good amount of vinegar in it it is my experience that it last for at least 3 months in the refrigerator. How long it actually last I can’t tell you because I use it all the time.

In general I think it depends on the used ingredients, especially sugar is prone to spoil any sauce faster.

Also read:

What About Canned BBQ Sauce?

I have not tried to can my BBQ sauce to preserve it but I think next time I make a double batch and try this.

I read that all you have to do is the same as we do with our regular canning.

Pour the hot BBQ sauce in a sterilized jar and put the lid on. It will seal and the lid will “pop” when ready.

In my opinion canned food last for many years and in combination with the vinegar in my sauce my guess is that it will last a long time in the pantry.

In the stores you see BBQ sauce in glass jars sometimes and that means that they have to be canned either in a water canner or pressure canner.

food being dipped in bbq sauce

Does BBQ Sauce Go Bad? – My Opinion

I think in most cases the sauce you have sitting on your shelf for a while will not go bad that fast.

Most of the time a sauce gets use way before the best use by date.

However, if you run into that older bottle of sauce that you forgot about and have bees sitting on the shelf a long time you can use the tips I mentioned above to test it for smell, texture, appearance and taste to see if you can still use it.

Eddie van Aken

Eddie van Aken has years of experience in running his full-service restaurant and with this came working with using and dealing with all types of kitchen equipment. With his experience, he can find all the pros and cons of grills and add them to the grill reviews he is doing. You can read more on the about page for Eddie van Aken

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