Like any other condiment, you should know how long barbecue sauce lasts in the fridge. There are a lot of risks if BBQ sauce is left out after opening, so you need to store it.
BBQ sauce is unlike other perishable food as it can last up to 9 months in the fridge even after it has been opened. If the jar is still sealed, then there is a chance it can last even longer.
It does not matter what type of BBQ sauce you have, whether it is a simple tomato-based BBQ sauce or a vinegar BBQ sauce, it needs to be stored properly.
You can freeze BBQ sauce as well, but it is not necessary. What’s important is knowing how long it will take for the BBQ sauce to last in the fridge before it goes bad.
There are proper ways to store it to avoid getting sick from eating old BBQ sauce. Once the BBQ or pizza sauce goes bad in the fridge, restoring it to its original quality is hard or impossible.
So with this post, I will be talking about what could happen when you leave an opened BBQ sauce outside for too long and if not opened so you can store it properly.
Does BBQ Sauce Go Bad?
BBQ sauce is one of the best condiments you can use for cooking, such as mustard and ketchup.
Even after opening the bottle of BBQ sauce, it can still last for up to months if you refrigerate it. BBQ sauce needs to be refrigerated after opening it to not go bad too quickly.
So why does BBQ sauce last longer than other types of sauce?
Because it usually contains vinegar, sugar, and even lemon juice. All these ingredients contain natural preservatives that help maintain the freshness of the BBQ sauce after opening the jar.
The best BBQ sauces, like the award-winning Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, can still go bad if not stored properly. If not opened and the seal remains intact, the BBQ sauce might last a little longer.
Homemade BBQ sauce is perfect for making an example. The shelf life of homemade BBQ sauce can be shorter than Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, so you need to store it.
Always check the label on the bottle of the BBQ sauce before using it, so you do not get sick from eating the BBQ sauce that has been used after the expiration date on the label or the jar.
How Long Does BBQ Sauce Last?
Opened BBQ sauce can last up to nine months if refrigerated, and it can last for a month in the pantry after opening the bottle, but you need to always check before using the BBQ sauce.
The shelf life of BBQ sauce also depends on the preservatives that are added to it. Some store-bought sauces are meant to last longer than homemade BBQ sauce.
1. Homemade BBQ Sauce
Unless your jar or storage container is completely sealed, your homemade BBQ sauce will last for about 2 weeks in the fridge.
I do not usually use artificial preservatives on my BBQ sauce to get as much natural taste as possible so I know that it will not last that long in the fridge compared to storebought sauce.
Make sure that the jar you use is sealed and airtight so it does not develop bacteria from the air and make it spoil earlier than you expected.
2. Storebought BBQ Sauce
Storebought BBQ sauces are meant to last for months on the shelf of a grocery store. That is why most store-bought BBQ sauces have preservatives in them to last longer.
If you bought BBQ sauce from the store and you opened it right away, you can store it in the jar it came in and it will last in the fridge for about 6 to 9 months.
Storing it in the pantry will make it last for a month so if you plan on using or finishing it within the month, you can save some space in your fridge and store the sauce in your pantry.
|BBQ Sauce||In The Pantry||In The Fridge|
|Homemade BBQ Sauce||1 week||2 weeks|
|Storebought BBQ Sauce||1 month||6-9 months|
So should you use BBQ sauce in the 9th month?
If you look up the results for this question, most of the answers would say that BBQ sauce lasts up to 9 months in the fridge. However, I would not suggest making it last this long.
In the 9th month, you will notice signs that the BBQ sauce is too old or expired. Use the BBQ sauce within 6 months to ensure your safety from bacteria and other risks.
If the BBQ sauce has stayed properly stored in the refrigerator for 6 months, you will still get the same good quality from it. After that, you might notice some decline in quality.
BBQ sauce goes bad in the fridge even if you store it properly.
So to still use it and taste the same savory flavors, I recommend using it within 4 months and maybe 9 months only if necessary.
Most BBQ sauce brands like Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, follow the 4-month rule.
That is why it is not uncommon that some still use BBQ sauce after the expiration date.
HOW TO TELL IF BBQ SAUCE IS BAD
There are obvious signs that the BBQ sauce has gone bad after opening even if you stored it in the fridge.
Here are the signs to tell if BBQ sauce is bad so you do not get sick.
1. THE DATE ON THE LABEL
you must check the label on the bottle. I practice this on other condiments, even the hot sauce bottle, as I ate expired BBQ sauce once, which wasn’t pleasing at all.
If the opened BBQ sauce has been stored in the fridge for months after the label on the bottle, then it is best if you err on the side of caution and just throw away the BBQ sauce.
2. VISUAL SIGNS
bacterial growth is the most obvious sign that the BBQ sauce has gone bad.
You might see some fuzzy objects on the surface of the sauce even with vinegar BBQ sauces.
These are bacteria that have developed over time.
Bacteria grow faster under higher temperatures, that is why BBQ sauce needs to be refrigerated after opening it.
If left out at room temperature, the bacteria will reproduce faster and
These bacteria make you sick from eating old BBQ sauce, so it is best to avoid using BBQ sauce after the expiration date.
3. TEXTURE CHANGES
Naturally, the BBQ sauce shows a little separation between the liquid and solid ingredients; this is especially true if the BBQ sauce is made with all-natural ingredients.
However, if you see too much liquid on top and the bottom of the jar contains a dense-looking substance, then the BBQ sauce has gone bad.
This can still happen even if not opened after purchasing it so always check the bottle.
4. SMELL AND TASTE
It is no longer good if the BBQ sauce emits a moldy or fermented smell.
The smell should give off something on the sweeter side.
The BBQ sauce might not show any of these signs mentioned above.
This is also how accidentally, I ate expired BBQ sauce.
I ate expired BBQ sauce and immediately felt sick, which did not surprise me.
That is why I am putting this last on the list of signs so that you should only try it if necessary.
Even with BBQ sauce recipes made with natural ingredients and effective preservatives, BBQ sauce does go bad in the fridge and might not show any signs.
So if none of the signs mentioned above are showing on the sauce, then that is the only time you should taste it. The BBQ sauce is safe to use if the flavor is still good.
Trust me, you will know if the BBQ sauce has gone bad or not immediately when you taste it.
How To Make BBQ Sauce Last Longer?
BBQ sauce remains good for use if you leave it at room temperature but it will decrease its shelf life. That is why it is best to store it right away in the fridge so it lasts longer.
Even BBQ sauces with preservatives will only last for a couple of weeks if you leave them somewhere at room temperature. Always keep the BBQ sauce in a cool and dry place.
Your main challenge is to keep bacteria out of the sauce. The BBQ sauce can easily gather molds and bacteria if it is not sealed properly.
Bacteria also develop faster at warmer temperatures, so to make your BBQ last longer, it is best to keep it somewhere cool, like the fridge.
Here are some tips:
- Always wash and sterilize the jar you will be used to store the BBQ sauce in by boiling it in water and killing the bacteria.
- Check the seal of the jar if it has damages or scratches.
- When scooping the sauce out of the jar, use clean and sterilized utensils, so they do not transfer any bacteria into the remaining sauce in the jar.
- Never put the leftover sauce back into the jar. It can be tempting, but it is best to throw away BBQ sauce taken out of the jar instead of putting it back.
- Never leave the BBQ sauce open for too long. Once you have scooped out what you need, close it immediately and 2put it back in the fridge.
- The longer the BBQ sauce stays at room temperature, the faster it will spoil.
Do Preservatives In The Store-bought BBQ Sauce Make It Last Longer?
Aside from the natural preservatives like vinegar we have mentioned, store-bought BBQ sauce also has extra preservatives added to make them last longer.
The most common preservatives added to BBQ sauces are sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate. They are popularly used in acidic food and do well with sauces.
They can help make the BBQ sauce last longer whether you store it in the pantry or the fridge. However, the best BBQ sauces contain little to no artificial preservatives.
Best Ways To Store BBQ Sauce At Home
How To Store Unopened BBQ Sauce
If you have a sealed and unopened BBQ sauce, there is nothing to worry about. It has not been exposed to air and bacteria so that it can last a year without refrigeration.
You must only remember that you should store it where sunlight cannot reach it. Your only problem is temperature so keep the unopened sauce in the pantry or cupboard.
BBQ sauce has a pH level lower than 4.5, which means it is acidic enough to kill or stop the growth of bacteria.
How To Store Opened BBQ Sauce
You should always store BBQ sauce in the fridge after opening it. Since it has slight exposure to air and bacteria, the BBQ sauce needs to be stored immediately, so it does not collect even more bacteria.
To do that, sealing it again in its airtight container is your best bet. Place it in the fridge so the cold temperature will at least slow down the production of bacteria – if there are any.
While storing the opened BBQ sauce at room temperature is safe, it hugely reduces the shelf life of the sauce so your best solution for this is to store the opened BBQ sauce in the fridge.
How To Store Homemade BBQ Sauce
Homemade BBQ sauce should be stored in the fridge. Since homemade BBQ sauce does not contain too many preservatives, it does not last as long as store-bought sauces.
Leaving it in the pantry will only make it last for a week. To prolong the shelf life for at least another week, store your homemade BBQ sauce in the fridge right after bottling it.
Make sure, however, to let the BBQ sauce cool down before transferring it to the jar. After cooking the sauce, allow it to cool down for at least an hour.
How Long Does Homemade BBQ Sauce Last In The Fridge?
When properly cooked and bottled in a mason jar, homemade BBQ sauce can last up to two weeks in the fridge. That might seem short but it is a lot longer than most cooked foods.
Other types of food that have been cooked can only last 4 days in the fridge. Since homemade BBQ sauce has natural preservatives like vinegar and lemon juice, it can last for long as long as it is stored properly.
If the homemade BBQ sauce is stored in the fridge, it can last for up to two weeks. You should also never leave the sauce outside of the fridge for more than 2 hours.
After 2 hours at room temperature, the sauce will start to warm up. Warm and damp areas are where bacteria thrive so make sure to put it back in the fridge once you get your BBQ sauce.
How Long Is BBQ Sauce Good For After The Expiration Date?
BBQ sauce can stay good for at least 2 months after the expiration date. While I do not usually let my BBQ sauce that far gone, it is still safe to use as long as there are no mold or spoilage signs.
This goes with sealed BBQ sauces, once you open it, you will have about 4 months in the fridge for the BBQ sauce to stay good and flavorful.
Most store-bought BBQ sauce has a shelf life of one to two years if the seal remains unbroken. The date you see on the bottle is the best-by date which is usually 1 or 2 years from the day it was bottled.
Beyond that date, you can still use the BBQ sauce, but the company does not guarantee that the BBQ sauce will have the same flavor and quality.
So if you have BBQ sauce stored in your refrigerator or pantry, use it as soon as possible to ensure texture, flavor, and overall quality in the sauce for the best cuts of meat!
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