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Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet Golden Mustard Barbecue Sauce

Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet Golden Mustard Barbecue Sauce

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Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet Golden Mustard Barbecue Sauce

Sweet Baby Ray's

Appx. $2.99 for 18 oz. at your local grocery

Yellow Mustard, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Apple Cider Vinegar, Tomato Paste, Distilled Vinegar, Water, Salt, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Molasses, Xanthan Gum, Natural Smoke Flavor, Natural Flavor, Mustard Bran, Sodium Benzoate, Spice, Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Garlic, Tamarind, Celery Seed

Sweet Baby Ray's Mustard


Sweet Baby Ray's story traces back to 1985 when Chef Larry Raymond entered his sauce in the Chicago-based Mike Royko Ribfest and took home top prize out of nearly 700 entrants. Larry then began bottling and selling his sauce in small shops around the Midwest under the brand Sweet Baby Ray's, which was Larry's brother's nickname. The sauce didn't grow into the nationally recognized entity it is today until 1996, when it experienced a rapid three year growth that turned the sauce into a nationwide supermarket staple. Today there's nine unique Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauces along with various other types of sauces, marinades, and glazes under the brand name.


This sauce delivers a very light pungent mustard aroma, with the tang and sharpness of mustard being subdued by a pretty equally weighted presence of sugar. There's still a mellow vinegar tartness in there, and with a deeper whiff, a hint of black pepper comes out. Beyond that though, the aroma remains pretty light and minimal.

Thickness & Texture

This mustard yellow sauce has a glossy sheen and is opaque, which may be one reason you can't see any spices in it. The sauce weighs in north of the medium line and it has a very syrupy consistency to it. From a suspended spoon, the sauce pours in an even stream at a medium speed, then switches to three or four slow drips before ceasing and leaving a medium coating of sauce clinging to the silverware.

Out of the Jar

The flavor starts out syrupy sweet and remains that way that way for several seconds before mustard begins to work its way in. At first there's a sweet mustard flavor with no pungency, but as the sauce settles on the tongue a bit longer, a slight sharpness is added and finally provides a contrast to the sugars. It's at this time that a vinegar tang adds more depth, along with a light spice layer which adds notes of smoke, celery, and garlic. As the sauce begins to exit the mouth, there's a slight notch upwards in the vinegar and mustard flavors, but the sugars still remain solidly in place to keep the aftertaste pretty sweet.

Sweet Baby Ray's Mustard

Slathered & Cooked

This sauce coated the chicken in a medium and even layer which baked down in a patchy manner over indirect heat. When moved to direct heat, there was very fast caramelization and blackening, along with a medium amount of sauce loss which had the chicken benefiting from a final brushing before consuming. The sugar was the main story after being cooked, with the chicken having a sweet flavor from start to finish. However, the mustard and vinegar were still accounted for, just in a more minimal manner than out of the jar. What was missing though was the more nuanced spices and smoke, leaving a pretty simple flavor profile.

Put to Use

For me, this is a clear example of a mustard barbecue sauce for people who don't like mustard. I've run into a few of this style of sauces in my recent reviews, and I'm coming to think of this as a category of its own. I feel a little conflicted on these sauces because if the bottle is advertising mustard, I kind of want that sharp pungent flavor, but at the same time, I still end up enjoying the sweet barbecue profiles these sauces deliver. So this kind of landed Sweet Baby Ray's mustard sauce in the middle of the road for me, but then it dropped a bit when it never really built much complexity out of the jar, and what little was tasted in that state was then non-existant after being cooked. I still liked my chicken leg though, so I can imagine this sauce having a home for some people, but there's also just many more well built mustard sauces out there that I wouldn't recommend Sweet Baby Ray's specifically, but if you do use it, I don't think you'll be unhappy with how it flavors your chicken, wings, ribs, and so on.

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  1. Ted Cattlemens is pretty good too