The word “BBQ” never means just one thing. BBQ has always been a hyper-local cuisine, a hallmark of a particular time and place. In Kansas City, BBQ means sweet rubs and plenty of rich, thick, sweet tomato-based sauce. The Carolinas are famous for their whole hogs and vinegar and mustard-based sauces. Memphis-style grew around ribs and a thin, tangy sauce, and the Texans are proud of their brisket—which shouldn’t need sauce if it’s cooked right, as many Texans are proud to say.
If there are four main styles of BBQ, there are at least three times as many styles of BBQ sauce. From mop sauce to Alabama white sauce to tomato-based sauces thick enough to stand a fork up in, there’s a sauce to suit any mood or palate.
Sweet sauces, beloved by those raised on Kansas City-style BBQ, are a complex blend of tangy, savory, smoky, and spicy, with sweeteners like brown sugar, molasses, and honey at the forefront. Sweet sauces are delicious on all kinds of smoked meats, but they pair especially well with ribs, pork belly burnt ends, pulled pork, and chicken.
Head Country Bar-B-Q Sweet Sauces
Oklahoma-style BBQ has been described as Texas meats with Kansas City sauce. We like to call it a rich melting pot of celebrated BBQ traditions—Texas to the south, Kansas City to the north, and Memphis to the east. We’ve been making Oklahoma-style BBQ sauce for nearly 75 years, and the way we’ve brought the best of these BBQ styles together to create a sauce balances sweet, savory, spice, and smoke has been celebrated in home kitchens, at backyard grills, and on the competition BBQ circuit for decades.
Like everyone, we love to play with flavor. That’s why we created eight sauce flavors to choose from. For lovers of a sweet BBQ sauce, we formulated these favorites:
Sweet & Sticky
Rich, sweet, and full-bodied, with spoon-coating thickness. Our most dippable sauce yet. Fans of this sauce love it on wings, burnt ends, and as a dipping sauce at the backyard BBQ. (It’s great for kids who love to dunk their chicken tenders, too.)
Warm, toasted honey and smoke sweeten our signature spices—perfect with wings, pulled pork, and campfires. We turned down the heat to up the sweet of the deliciously complex flavor of honey in this sauce.
The BBQ Classics for Sweet BBQ Sauce Lovers
We’d eat sweet BBQ sauce on just about anything. We love it especially on pork, chicken, and appetizers like wings and jalapeno poppers. These are our favorite recipes to pair with a sweet BBQ sauce.
Fall-Off-The-Bone Spare Ribs
Pork spare ribs are a BBQ classic. A sure way to impress your friends and family at this summer’s cookouts is to serve up a platter stacked high with racks of ribs, each packed with tender, smoky flavor. This recipe and how-to for how to cook classic BBQ ribs step by step, from start to finish, is one of our most popular recipes, ever. Once our try our Apple Habanero sauce on these ribs, sub in our Honey flavor.
FULL RECIPE: Fall-Off-The-Bone Spare Ribs
Smoked Pork Belly with Sweet BBQ Sauce Glaze
We’re seeing pork belly more and more on the menus of our favorite BBQ joints. We’re cooking it at home, too—it’s an easy cook on your smoker or grill, and a seriously tasty treat. The meat-to-fat ratio is ideal for both crisping and juicy smoked meat, making this cut the perfect choice for dishes like ramen.
FULL RECIPE: Smoked Pork Belly with Sweet BBQ Sauce Glaze
Backyard BBQ Chicken Halves
No backyard BBQ is complete without the chicken. This recipe for the BBQ classic is one of our favorites—it’s basic, it’s easy, and the results are phenomenal.
FULL RECIPE: Backyard BBQ Chicken Halves
Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Chicken
All the right things show up for this recipe: fresh chicken breast. A cheesy, savory stuffing. Bacon. And plenty of Head Country Bar-B-Q Sauce. Make the stuffing ahead of time to get these bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken breasts on the grill in a hurry on a weeknight, or break out this recipe the next time company comes over. Serve with whipped mashed potatoes and creamy macaroni and cheese.
FULL RECIPE: Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Chicken
BBQ Turkey Breast
We love the flavor of a smoked bird. Plus, it’s fun and easy, and cooking the bird on the grill or smoker saves oven space for your favorite sides and pies. This recipe for turkey breast is perfect for smaller holiday gatherings and delivers moist, flavorful meat and skin your guests will fight for.
FULL RECIPE: BBQ Turkey Breast
Mop Sauce Pork Steaks
We’re big fans of the BBQ glaze around here, but we’d never turn down a rich, sweet-and-savory mop sauce. A mop sauce is less viscous than BBQ sauce, washing over the meat and caramelizing in thin layers as it cooks. The result is layered sweet, smoky flavor, a light bark, and brag-worthy color. Whatever your favorite flavor of Head Country Bar-B-Q sauce is, it’ll be perfect in this mop sauce. Though we will say, our Honey sauce really shines here.
FULL RECIPE: Mop Sauce Pork Steaks
Easy Barbecue Baked Beans
One of the best side dishes in BBQ is just a few ingredients and a slow simmer away. These BBQ baked beans come together quickly and easily while the brisket or ribs you just pulled from the smoker take a rest. Be sure to taste often for seasoning—you have our permission.
FULL RECIPE: Easy Barbecue Baked Beans
Family Dinners for Sweet BBQ Sauce Lovers
Smoked Pork Belly & Pineapple Skewers
Need to pull together a dish for a party but don’t have a ton of time to spend in the kitchen? We nominate these skewers of pork belly and pineapple to come to your rescue. Not only do they look amazing served up family-style on the patio, but the flavors from hickory wood, slow-smoked pork belly, and the mellow sweetness of pineapple come together with very little hands-on time. The crisp glaze from your favorite flavor of our Bar-B-Q sauce takes these skewers from great to craveable.
FULL RECIPE: Smoked Pork Belly & Pineapple Skewers
Sweet BBQ Sheet Pan Chicken Drumsticks
Why are drumsticks so fun to eat? We’ve known it since we were kids. These drums are the excuse you’ve been looking for to sit at the kids’ table again, even if it’s just for one night, and chow down on a pile of these, paired with a scoop of creamy mac and cheese.
FULL RECIPE: Sweet BBQ Sheet Pan Chicken Drumsticks
Sweet BBQ Sheet Pan Ribs
This recipe for BBQ ribs, slowly braised in the oven in their own juices and then caramelized under the broiler, is an easy and fun way to feed a crowd. While the ribs tenderize in the low, slow heat of the oven, you’ll have the opportunity to rustle up plenty of napkins. You’ll need them. Did we mention that these ribs need just 10 minutes of prep time?
FULL RECIPE: Sweet BBQ Sheet Pan BBQ Ribs
Sweet & Sticky BBQ Steamed Buns
This recipe offers an Asian-inspired twist on the BBQ chicken sandwich—and looks beautiful on the plate. Pair with some broccoli slaw and some good company.
FULL RECIPE: Sweet & Sticky BBQ Steamed Buns
Company’s Coming (Game Day, Holidays, or Just to Hang Out)
Smoked Armadillo Eggs
If you’ve never heard of Armadillo Eggs, here’s what you’ve been missing: a cheese-stuffed jalapeno pepper is wrapped in sausage, wrapped again in bacon, smoked over a slow fire, then painted with a BBQ sauce glaze. These BBQ appetizers are one of our favorite things to show off during on game day or at the backyard cookout. They’re fun and easy, and everyone gathers around to watch when it’s time to slice in.
FULL RECIPE: Smoked Armadillo Eggs
Savory BBQ Funnel Cake
Let’s face it: The food is half the reason we all go to the local fair. Funnel cake always tops our list of annual must-have snacks to go with our carnival games and Ferris wheel rides. This funnel cake recipe not only shows how we can have this deep-fried treat at home, but also how to pair it with one of our favorite smoked meats—oh, and plenty of BBQ sauce.
FULL RECIPE: Savory BBQ Funnel Cake
BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
Nothing stops the line at the appetizer table like these BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp. The sticky, sweet-and-savory glaze comes together in just a few ingredients, and our instructions show how to keep shrimp tender while getting the bacon crispy. As far as holiday appetizers go, this one promises to please a crowd (good thing this recipe doubles and triples easily) and is ready in just 30 minutes.
FULL RECIPE: BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
Tailgating Pull-Apart BBQ Chicken Bread
Everyone loves a meal where you can get messy. This Tailgating Pull Apart BBQ Chicken Bread is crazy fun, and not just because there’s no way to dig in and not get a little BBQ sauce and cheese on your fingers. The pull-apart chicken bread is perfect for a pre-game tailgate or to serve coffee-table style for your next game party.
RECIPE: Tailgating Pull-Apart BBQ Chicken Bread
BBQ Bacon Wrapped Sweet Pepper Poppers
Sweet, colorful, with just a kiss of heat, and a blast to fill, wrap, dip, and bake, these bacon-wrapped poppers are a hit with the kids. Try ‘em as an appetizer to welcome guests at your next cookout, or set them out alongside gourmet burger toppings like fried onion rings and homemade pickles.
FULL RECIPE: BBQ Bacon Wrapped Sweet Pepper Poppers
Smoked Bacon Wrapped BBQ Fatty
There’s not much that makes people more curious than the words “bacon weave.” Take that and wrap it around a mac and cheese-stuffed pork roll and it’s a return to childlike excitement with the added benefit of grown-up appreciation of all our favorite foods literally rolled into one.
FULL RECIPE: Smoked Bacon Wrapped BBQ Fatty
Slow Cooker Recipes for Sweet BBQ Sauce Lovers
Classic Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Slow cooker pulled pork is versatile, easy, and delicious. Simply add a pork butt together with the right seasonings and sauce, and while you work or spend time with the kids, magic happens. Make a big batch of slow cooker pulled pork on Sunday and use it through the whole week: Add to browned buns for sandwiches, corn tortillas for street tacos, fold into flour tortillas and fry for quesadillas, or stir into your favorite macaroni and cheese.
FULL RECIPE: Classic Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
Classic Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken
Slow cooker barbecue chicken is versatile, easy, and delicious. Simply add a few pounds of chicken, together with the right seasonings, sauce, and vegetables, and while you work or spend time with the kids, magic happens. Make a big batch on Sunday and use the crockpot BBQ chicken through the whole week: tacos, nachos, empanadas, baked potatoes, pizza, and casseroles.
FULL RECIPE: Classic Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs
Chicken thighs might just be our favorite part of the bird. They’re the most flavorful of the chicken cuts, and the juiciest, too. Plus, they’re easy on the budget. These slow cooker BBQ chicken thighs get fall-off-the-bone tender braised with your favorite flavor of BBQ sauce, making them the perfect comfort food for folks who don’t have all day to spend in the kitchen.
FULL RECIPE: Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Thighs
Slow Cooker Classic BBQ Pork Spare Ribs
On the rare occasion that it’s just too cold to smoke or grill (a true rarity, in our opinion, but it does sometimes happen), this slow-cooker recipe for barbecue ribs is an easy way to feed a crowd with just 5 minutes of prep time and 8 servings. The juices from the ribs are combined with our BBQ sauce to make a baste/glaze that is deeply flavorful and satisfying on frigid nights.
FULL RECIPE: Slow Cooker Classic BBQ Pork Spare Ribs