I just got a 10 liter bucket of Heinz BBQ sauce for free, and the expiration date is next week. Any ideas how to properly utilize it?

  • 10
    Chase down a huge pile of ribs and fire up the barbeque pit ...
    – CrossRoads
    Oct 26, 2018 at 16:57
  • BBQ chicken, BBQ pork, BBQ ribs, BBQ steaks...all kinds of thing Forrest!--Bubba
    – Rob
    Oct 26, 2018 at 19:27
  • Do you have a hunting license?
    – Beta
    Oct 27, 2018 at 1:16
  • 6
    Roast a couple of whole pigs (~100lbs each). You'll need your bucket of sauce, a paint brush to apply it, a couple of kegs of beer, and 200 friends.
    – ivanivan
    Oct 27, 2018 at 1:53
  • 1
    Look very closely. It's almost certainly not an expiration date. A "best by" date is not an expiration date and neither is a "sell by" date. They have nothing whatsoever to do with when the food is no longer safe to eat (except that they probably won't be after that date). Oct 27, 2018 at 23:56

4 Answers 4


As people have mentioned in the comments, you can freeze whatever you don't use right away.

One caveat with freezing is that when you thaw it out, it might* not be as good to use a condiment. That being said, you could use it as a marinade, a base for a different sauce, as part of a crockpot recipe, or to baste/slather on meat while you grill.

*I say might because depending on the sauce, it could have enough preservatives/coagulants/other science-y stuff in it that it's texture and consistency remain even after being frozen and thawed. Absolute worst case scenario is you now have ~10 liters of marinade in the freezer.


'Expiration' dates on anything that's not baby formula aren't. They're 'best used by' or 'sell by', but many restaurants will get rid of it for liability issues.

Although it should be good for many months past that date, it'd be better stored refrigerated, and I suspect most people don't have the fridge space for that sort of thing.

What I'd recommend is finding a soup kitchen or similar near you and donating it. They could slow cook chicken or pork in it for a very easy meal, or even glaze and grill it. If any of the churches near you do big dinners as fund raisers, that's another possibility.

  • 4
    If it's not Dairy it don't expire till the mold grows.
    – juanvan
    Oct 26, 2018 at 19:56
  • 6
    @juanvan and if it's cheese, just cut the mold off! Oct 26, 2018 at 20:03
  • 2
    @DrydenLong Or eat the mold! (Depending on what kind of mold grows on it)
    – anon
    Oct 26, 2018 at 23:02
  • @juanvan just watch out for stuff where you can't see the mold easily. An unopened tetra pak of premixed chai flavor (which I mentally put in the "lasts forever" category) put me out of commission for 3 days...
    – mbrig
    Oct 28, 2018 at 5:50
  • I thought I commented the other day but it's not here: many chilled things do go off in undetectable ways, and the dates should be treated with a bit more respect. Not all - some cheeses are barely ready to eat when their date runs out, and yoghurt usually keeps for much longer than stated. Some of us may allow a little reduction in the safety margin built into the dates, especially if we know that things have been kept cold on the way home from the shop, but I'm not inclined to recommend this
    – Chris H
    Oct 29, 2018 at 8:49

That's going to be a "best before" date, not a "use by" date (if it's the same ketchup-like stuff you get in the supermarket). So assuming it's sealed at the moment, open it when you want to use some, and then get through it within the "after opening" instructions (probably something like "keep in the fridge, use within 4 weeks"). You may need to decant into smaller containers to fit in a domestic fridge; you could also freeze some at that stage.

  • Can I freeze it? Won't it turn to sludge when I defrost it? If I can, then it works for me!
    – user70133
    Oct 26, 2018 at 18:06
  • I've never needed to freeze that sort of thing but bad on home made sauces I'd expect it to be fine. You'd need to freeze in small enough containers to defrost a whole container each time you want some, and defrost in the fridge. It might need a bit of a stir but that's all
    – Chris H
    Oct 26, 2018 at 19:18
  • 2
    Or, marinate all kinds of things you like marinated in that sauce in it, and freeze them marinade and all. Oct 26, 2018 at 19:55
  • 1
    Might I suggest to freeze in ice cube trays, you can then store the frozen cubes in plastic bags and it will be much easier to unfreeze small amounts at a time.
    – Michael
    Oct 26, 2018 at 22:17

I would definitely smother it all over whatever you have in your cupboard already. I would start with a packet of Penguins or Tim Tams, they are a great dipping substance.

You are going to be very happy for a very long time! But don’t be careless with it...

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