The Sauce is the Boss!

Sweet Baby Ray's Gourmet Sauces

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by Diane McMahon
Photography and recipes courtesy of Sweet Baby Ray's

Hay, ya’ll. May is OFFICIAL BBQ MONTH! It’s the month we Lowcountry people sweep the last of the pine pollen from our porches and patios and haul out the grill. It’s the month of Memorial Day cookouts when the neighborhood starts to fill with a smoky smell that signals summer guests and get-togethers. It’s time to move the cooking from the kitchen to the backyard! And who better to launch this BBQ blast than Sweet Baby Ray’s, one of America’s premiere BBQ sauce brands.

You have to be bossy and saucy about your gourmet sauces to proclaim this tag line: WITHOUT IT, FOOD IS BARELY WORTH EATING. Sweet Baby Ray’s is proudly both! Since 1985, Sweet Baby Ray’s has convinced millions that their award-winning family of awesome barbecue sauces and marinades can take any meal from boring to BOSS in seconds. The instructions are simple: remove cap, pour on Sweet Baby Ray’s and taste the flavor upgrade.

It all began with a local Chicago boy named Chef Larry. After eating hundreds of ribs and experimenting with ways to make his favorite food even better, he perfected his family’s recipe for a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. In the mid-eighties, he entered it into the largest rib cook-off in the USA—The Mike Royko Rib-Off. On the day of the rib-off, Sweet Baby Ray’s (named for Chef Larry’s younger brother David who got the nickname shooting hoops on Chicago’s west side) beat nearly 700 contestants, an amazing feat for a first-time unknown.

In the last 30 years the product line has grown to include over 20 sauces and flavors. What started in a basement is now in backyards, ballparks and grocery stores all over the country. The original award-winning sauce remains a classic. With all the success, Sweet Baby Ray’s has stayed true to its roots. They are constantly looking for new ways to improve your next meal with the best sauce possible and rest assured their motto will always be the same: The sauce is the boss!

Sweet Baby Ray’s has a fan base that Beyoncé would envy. They’ve developed a product line and opened an on-line store to encourage people to be part of their community with Sweet Baby Ray’s “Sauce is the Boss” t-shirts, caps, visors and even a sweet little stuffed pig.

Turn the page for a selection of some of our favorite saucy recipes that will make your summer entertaining sizzle. Enjoy!


1 bottle (40 oz.) Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce
2 large diced kielbasa
2 large mild diced Italian
sausage, cooked
2 cups white onion, small dice
¼ cup garlic clove, chopped
2 cans pink beans, drained
2 cans pinto beans, drained


Place all ingredients into a slow cooker/Crock Pot and cook on medium heat for 4 hours.


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3 oz. Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce
½ cup cheddar & jack cheese, shredded
3 oz. ground beef, cooked
2 tablespoons apple wood bacon, cooked, chopped
¼ cup red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon dill pickle, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato, small dice
1 flatbread dough, 4x12 inches


Top the flatbread with the Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce, getting ¼ inch from each side. Top the sauce evenly with the cheese, ground beed, red onion and bacon.
Bake at 425° until the crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted.
Slice and garnish with the chopped pickles and tomatoes and serve immediately.


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3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
2 cups Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce (any flavor you like), divided use
1½ cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
12 fajita-size flour tortillas
Cilantro, for garnish


Preheat oven to 375°. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add shredded chicken, chopped bacon and 1 cup of barbecue sauce. Gently stir to combine.
Lay tortillas onto a flat surface. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of Monterey Jack shredded cheese down the center of each tortilla.
Top cheese with ⅓ cup chicken/bacon mixture. Roll each tortilla up tightly. Place all rolled taquitos onto the baking sheet. Spray the tops with cooking spray.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until tops are golden-brown. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes to cool slightly before serving. Serve taquitos with the remaining barbecue sauce. Enjoy!


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2 cups Sweet Baby Ray’s Sriracha Wing Sauce
12 each St. Louis ribs, cooked, 2 bone-cut
¼ cup peanuts, pan roasted/charred
4 teaspoons cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, black


Using a large bowl, mix half the Sriracha Sauce with the ribs. Place on a sprayed baking sheet and roast in a 350° oven until an internal temperature of 165° has been reached.
Remove from the oven and glaze with the remaining Sriracha Sauce.
Serve 3 each spare ribs on a decorative plate garnished with 1 tablespoon peanuts, 1 teaspoon cilantro, and ¼ teaspoon sesame seeds


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1 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce
1 cup Italian dressing
4 boneless chicken breasts


Combine Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce and Italian dressing.
Pour over chicken and let marinate in refrigerator 4 hours to overnight.
Grill chicken approximately 15 minutes, or until done.


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1 package of bacon, cut into thirds
8 oz. package of pitted dates
SBR Barbecue Sauce for dipping


Preheat the oven to 350°. Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil.
Wrap a piece of bacon around a date. Make sure the bacon seam is placed facing downward on the cookie sheet. Repeat until all of the dates are wrapped in bacon.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Dip bacon wrapped dates in SBR!


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1 Box Triple Chocolate or Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce
1 package bacon, sliced, cooked crispy
1 tub cream cheese frosting


Follow the mixing and baking instructions on the box for cupcakes. Bake and cool.
Cook bacon, cut the strips into 24 half slices and chop the remaining bacon for garnish.
Fill a squeeze bottle with Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce. In the center of each cupcake, insert the squeeze bottle tip about ½ inch into the center of the cupcake. Squeeze approximately one teaspoon or one tablespoon of Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce into the cupcake.
Frost the cupcake with the cream cheese frosting using either a spatula or pastry bag. Be creative! Drizzle Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce on the frosted cupcake, sprinkle with chopped bacon and insert a half slice of bacon into each cupcake for a decorative look!

For Sweet Baby Ray’s sauces and products visit: or visit your local supermarket.



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