A Definitive Ranking of Fast Food Barbecue Sauces
The perfect sauce can make or break a fast food chicken nugget, so picking the right place to eat is key.
Which fast food spot has the best BBQ sauce around? We tasted them all and ranked from worst to best so you don't have to.
9. Popeye's – Bold BQ Sauce
To be fair, even our least favorite barbecue sauce on this list is pretty delicious. Popeye's Bold BQ Sauce tastes a little like brown sugar with some heat to it. But something tastes a little off about it.
8. Burger King – BBQ Dip
Burger King's BBQ dip is sweet and bright in a way that tastes almost fruity. We might like it even better if it were a little less sweet, but it's still tasty with the signature nugget from BK.
7. KFC – Summertime BBQ Sauce
If we had to sum up KFC's summertime BBQ sauce in one word, it'd be tomatoey. It's also layered with a bit of smokiness and peppery heat, making for a well-rounded sauce that's good, but not our favorite.
6. Chick-fil-A – Barbecue Sauce
Chick-fil-A's barbecue sauce checks all the boxes for what we want in a dipping sauce. It's sweet, smokey and bold all at once, and it's the perfect complement to the chain's nuggets and sandwiches. However, there's nothing special about it that pushes it over the edge for us.
5. McDonald's – Tangy BarBeQue Sauce
The name of McDonald's Tangy BarBeQue sauce doesn't lie. The sauce has a vinegary tang and with a tomatoey sweetness, which is a practically perfect flavor combination. It's not the most complex of flavors, but it gets the job done.
4. Jack in the Box – BBQ Sauce
Jack in the Box's BBQ sauce has a flavor that's a simple blend of sweetness and smokiness. It's not necessarily unique or sophisticated, but the flavors come together really well. It's a matter of less being more, and we're big fans.
3. Arby's – Tangy BBQ Sauce
The top three sauces on this list were near ties, but eventually we did manage to rank them. Arby's tangy BBQ sauce (not to be confused with their signature Arby's sauce) is super sweet and tartly tangy and filled with a delicious smoke flavor. We had to deduct points because Arby's doesn't even serve nuggets, so we have to resort to pouring this sauce all over a roast beef sandwich instead.
2. Carl's Jr. – Sweet & Bold BBQ Dipping Sauce
The last few times we've been to Carl's Jr., it came in a tiny clear plastic container instead of the traditional sauce cup, and we have a theory it's because the classic cups just can't contain the thick, creamy goodness of the sweet & bold BBQ sauce. It has the tang and sweetness of tomatoes, pervaded by a sharp smokey flavor. It deserves better than the chicken stars it's served with.
1. Wendy's – Barbecue Dipping Sauce
You may be noticing a trend by now. We love smoke flavoring in our barbecue sauce, and Wendy's has the smokiest sauce of them all. At the same time, it has the sweet taste of molasses. Those two blend together to create a flawless sauce.
If you're serious about sauces, click HERE to find out what your favorite Chick-fil-A sauce reveals about you.