I have been thinking about buying barbecue sauce to use as a condiment (to use as a dipping sauce). A local store has many different brands, such as Jack Daniels and others.

Is it safe to consume this sort of pre-made barbecue sauces uncooked (similar to e.g. ketchup or mustard)?

(None of the bottles say that the sauce needs to be heated up before consumption but I thought that I better ask here.)

  • 1
    I can't think anything on the shelf would need to be cooked for safety.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 15:40
  • Welcome to Seasoned Advice Stack Exchange!
    – EKons
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 15:49
  • 1
    If the sauce requires refrigeration after opening (many of them do), some people may prefer to heat some sauce in a bowl before using because they don't like the cold sauce on their warm food, but this is not a safety issue - just a preference. You may see many BBQ restaurants keep the sauce in a heated container because people want it warm.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 16:33

2 Answers 2


Unless there is local regulation that requires labelling of items unsafe for raw consumption, the only 100% sure way would be to ask the manufacturer.

However, a non-perishable sauce being unsafe without being boiled, but safe if doing so (just reheating will not matter much anyway!), would be an odd enough ingredient that you could expect a warning on the label. If there was a severe risk of microbial problems, that would either spoil the sauce right in the bottle, or make it unsafe in a way that heat will not fix.

Non-perishable but unsafe raw is more typical of DRY goods, since they can perfectly well harbor spores or small amount of bacteria without actively spoiling.

  • 1
    Do you have any examples? I can't think of any dry good that would be shelf stable but need to be cooked before eating due to microorganism contamination. There are some foods like dry kidney beans that should be boiled to remove toxins. But I'd certainly be delighted to find out I'm underinformed.
    – Eclipse
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 15:54
  • We have had spice recalls a-gogo due to salmonella contamination, and some spice importers tend to put blanket "do not consume uncooked" warnings on their packages these days. Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 8:42

These products are generally made to be shelf stable and do not require heating. Once opened, you should keep in the refrigerator.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.