BBQ Bob’s Hav’n A BBQ Sauce

We ran into our friend, Bob Trudnak from The BBQ Guru, at a recent BBQ competition in Harrington, Delaware. Bob was selling his newest “BBQ Guru” product – and this one uses no wires or batteries. It’s…

BBQ Bob’s Hav’n A BBQ Sauce


This BBQ sauce is a great balance of sweet and tangy with presence of fresh herbs, spices and a slight vinegar finish. Appeals to all ages from 2 to 102. Especially great on chicken, ribs, burgers, brats and all pork cuts.

“All pork cuts”? That’s good to know, as our first taste test with BBQ Bob’s is on pork skewers. But first, let’s look at the sauce up close.

Ingredients: Cider vinegar, tomato concentrate, vinegar, agave syrup, light brown sugar, water, sugar, vine ripened red tomatoes, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, oleoresin paprika, liquid smoke, spice, onion powder pepper, granulated garlic, caramel color, worcestershire seasoning, citric acid, cayenne pepper, natural flavoring, dextrose, oleoresin capsicum, sulfur dioxide.


Texture & Appearance: A reddish brown color is flecked with spices and seasonings. Black pepper flecks are prominent too. The sauce is also shiny and relatively thin in consistency – more of a corn syrup texture. Glossy.


Taste Straight Up: A silky coating on the tongue and mouth leads us into a classy sauce – there’s some pleasant black pepper spice or “heat” if you will. But overall, the sweetness from the syrups really carries the biggest flavor. A very light vinegar finish comes at the end. Let’s see how it tastes after we cook or grill with the sauce. Classic.

Packaging: A big 19 ounce glass bottle contains the sauce. The label and graphics are simple in colors and a cartoony pig adorns the label. The word “Original” is also prominent – is there another flavor to come? Nice layout.

BBQ Bob’s Sauce on food

We’re brushing BBQ Bob’s Hav’n a BBQ sauce onto some pork skewers as they cook over direct heat on the grill. And for fun, we skewered some pineapple chunks and brushed BBQ Bob’s on them as well.


Marilyn: There’s just a hint of a vinegar edge to the flavor of the sauce on the pork skewers. It’s a subtle sauce – not overpowering at all. A lot of the sweetness has cooked out and we’re left with a smoky and sticky coating.

I think this sauce would fare better on a fattier piece of meat – whether that be pulled pork, or even some chicken parts.

Marilyn’s rating: On our scale of 1 – 5, I would give this Rated 2.5 out of 5 Stars – it’s a pleasant enough sauce, but nothing spectacular.

Brian: I’m disappointed in how much this sauce “broke down” after cooking. It’s just a thin glimmer of what it started out to be. This is not a thick, gloppy sauce – especially after cooking.

Maybe it would make a great base to add to – to make it your own flavored sauce. Doctor it up a bit with either spices or other flavorings – chiles, or fruits would fit nicely here.

Brian’s rating: Rated 1 out of 5 Stars – 1/5 Stars from me. Perfect for a tame, mild bbq sauce. If this were the 1960’s, I could see this sauce on every red plaid tablecloth in the backyard.

Visit http://www.havenabbq.com/ to purchase.

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Our final thoughts:

This sauce is of the highest quality in overall taste and makeup. It is truly much better than any you’d find on the grocery shelf. It’s just a bit tame, timid and mild for our tastes. We like a bolder sauce, in both texture, taste, and overall flavor hit.

Disclaimer: We received this product courtesy of the manufacturer for review.

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  1. It has a few strikes right off the bat for me, without even tasting it….here are some examples: High Fructose Corn Syrup (meh)……oleoresin paprika, which is basically paprika extract (why not just use smoked paprika?)…..liquid smoke (blech)…. oleoresin capsicum (pepper extract, yuck)…and why do we need agave, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sugar and corn syrup in one product? I wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot fork.

    1. Thanks FH! You make a good point about why so many sweeteners are needed.

      I jumped off the HFCS train a long time ago. Not enough data. I’m ok with HFCS.

      I’m also ok with a little bit of liquid smoke – it IS all natural, after all.

  2. I designed this sauce for competition BBQ as well as backyard bbq. I wanted a well balanced sauce that pleases most people and allows the flavors of the dry rub and meat to shine through. I have personally won many awards using it including #1 Ribs in the World at the World Food Championship in Las Vegas in 2013. I have had nothing but rave reviews so far and I am very happy with my sauce and I stand by it 100%.

    1. And as you should, Bob. Obviously, from the comments below, your sauce is a winner on the comp circuit. We’re happy for you and for the teams winning with your sauce.

      For the record, I’ve emailed you and will state publicly here, that we may not have given the sauce it’s due. A simple brush over on pork kabobs doesn’t do this sauce justice!

      We plan to re-visit the sauce on some real meat. Ribs on the smoker!

  3. Hi Brian,
    I have to say that your review is very contradictory and that you didn’t really give the sauce a fair shot. To give it 1 star and then say that it’s better than anything you can get on shelf of a grocery store shows how little you know about the retail market as most store bought sauces are what the general public likes and if they didn’t like it, it wouldn’t be a billion dollar industry. Grilling (high heat) with sauce is very different than smoking or finishing with sauce. Most BBQ sauces aren’t meant for high heat as they burn such as this sauce did on your pork skewers. I would recommend smoking (under 300 degrees) a piece of chicken or pork with some dry rub on it and then glaze it with this sauce (don’t burn it on) and I think your thoughts will change. Like myself, I understand that you like bold flavors but unfortunately the competitive bbq world is getting away from bold and the judges are looking for something tasty and not offensive which makes this sauce perfect for any competition BBQ pitmaster. Lastly I know your opinion is very important to your followers but I was always taught that in life when you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all.

  4. Hmmm, very interesting. The reason you gave it 1 start is exactly why I’d give it 5. A bold sauce covers up smoke and rub and the natural flavor of the meat. This subtle sauce highlights those flavors and allows everything to work together in balance. Its become my go-to sauce for competition BBQ and at home.

    1. Dan, it’s remarkable how many cooks have come out in support of Bob’s sauce.
      Just goes to show that we should’ve done more in the research end of things.

      I’ve said before, we need to re-visit this sauce over some slow smoked meat to get the real end result.

      Thanks for the Comment!

  5. We’ve been using Bob’s Haven-a-BBQ sauce since it hit the shelves and I feel the reviews above seem REALLY off. This BBQ sauce is the perfect balance of sweet and spice. It truly is one sauce that we’ve been able to find that appeals to all palates and compliments whatever product you chose to use it on. We’ve used it on everything from meats, vegetables, and even pizza. With our second consecutive RGC under our belts this past weekend, everyone has asked us what we are doing different. Hint-Hint folks…grab a bottle of BBQ Bob’s Sauce!!! 🙂

  6. I am on the BBQ circuit and picked up some of this sauce a few months ago. Let’s just say…. the results have been amazing. I love the stuff and apparently the judges do, as well. I tweak it just a little bit but make no mistake, it’s this sauce that is getting my team’s name called week after week. I bring some home for family and friends and they love it, as well.

    “This sauce is of the highest quality in overall taste and makeup. It is truly much better than any you’d find on the grocery shelf. It’s just a bit tame, timid and mild for our tastes. We like a bolder sauce, in both texture, taste, and overall flavor hit.”– but yet you rip the sauce?!?! I don’t get it. If you’re going to give it a ridiculous one star then stand behind your ranking. Everyone has their likes and dislikes but I’d really hate to taste the stuff that you prefer over this.

    I’ll still read your stuff but you definitely lost some credibility with me after reading this review.

    1. Thanks William. I’m by no means an “Ardie Davis”.
      Even a 1 Star rating deserves explanation and reason for being.

      A 1 Star sauce is still good in our system!

      I hope you and the others’ will continue reading.

  7. I have some serious questions about this review. I tasted this sauce and immediately liked it. It’s not all about the sauce for me, it’s about how the sauce compliments the flavor of the meat to create a balanced product. I used this sauce on my ribs this weekend in Salisbury Maryland at the KCBS event, Pork in the Park. I won the category by a large margin. First place in ribs is no accident so I am going to have to completely disagree with this review.

  8. We tried this sauce earlier this year and immediately said we need to incorporate into our competion meats.
    After completing our first two competitions, using this sauce in two categories, our scores/finish are up!
    We have also been using it on other meats we’ve grilled at home…same end result…love it!
    This is a great sauce that complements the meat with both sweet and spice!
    We abasolutely disagree with this review.

    1. That’s awesome for you Feeding Friendz!

      I’ve already stated that I plan to re-visit the sauce, cooked properly, over some slow-smoked meats. Ribs are up next.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate it.

  9. Bob’s sauce is my go-to because it’s so well balanced. The flavors are subtle, but hits you on every level: sweet, tangy, smokey, and a very nice back end kick that is very complimentary. I have three kids and as a bbq competitor and also working in the industry, I have access to a lot of sauces and Bob’s Have’n a BBQ is their favorite.

    Judging by the high calls and checks some of best competitive teams are winning, the judges like it too. Some of the comments I’ve read above are from amazing pitmasters…that’s whose opinion carries weight with me!

  10. Your taste buds seem to be on the same level as your humor…wires and batteries dig right off the bat was unprofessional…as for the sauce your way off …I have used this on steaks, eggs, pulled pork, bacon and most recently venison cheese steaks….home run every time..its fine if you prefer a thicker heavier sauce that most of the time over powers what you put on it..but 1.5 is a joke… BBQ Bobs sauce blows away the competition! ! Perfect10!!!!!

    1. Hi Kevin. Thanks for commenting. I appreciate each and every one.

      I thought the little bit of humor was funnier when you see it as it is. This truly is a first product from the Guru house that is not wired. See? It’s a sauce! That’s funny!

  11. Full Disclosure: I know Bob personally. He also uses my company’s product, Bespoke Bacon, in some of catering and competition work. This said, I have no issues being blunt with him about my personal opinion of his cooking and/or products.

    With that disclaimer aside, as a backyard bbq fanatic (no competition mind you, just trying to cook good food for friends and family) I have had nothing but positive feedback from when I started using this sauce w. my ribs vs my previous scratch concoction(s). This isn’t Sweet Baby Ray’s, nor should it be. If you want heat, buy hot sauce or add it to your bbq sauce. I have found this product to consistent from jar-to-jar, pleasing to a variety of palates, and it has saved me a LOT of work from the days of my home-grown sauces. That is a winner for me. It is in rotation at my grill, at my smoker, and on our kitchen table as a condiment.

    The day Bob makes something that sucks, I’ll be the first to tell him, but I am telling you, reader, that day isn’t here. This is a killer sauce that is well worth a test drive.

      1. Thank you Brian for actually reading comments and responding. Good to see you are going to give the sauce another look w the feedback in mind. That, in my opinion, is a class act Sir. Kudos to giving a damn about your readers.

        1. @Bri Wolf, I care about my readers and what we publish here.
          When I’ve not done my job properly, and am called out on it, I take it personally.

          I’m looking forward to using Bob’s sauce on ribs and re-visit my thoughts about it.

          Again, thanks! ~B.

  12. I think this whole thing needs to be chalked up to a couple of things. 1 – Brian and Marilyn are first and foremost hot sauce focused. I knew that when I submitted my sauce for review and took it with a grain of salt. 2 – After having read their site for literally years now I can tell you any item, whether it be sauce, rub etc doesn’t fair as well in their reviews if they are super sweet.

    I say all of that to say this…..to each his own and Brian and Marilyn have a site where they express their opinions. Has my sauce received less than favorable reviews before? Sure, I dont expect everyone to love everything.

    Bob is a legend in the bbq world and I say none of this to discredit him, anyone who feels that this review doesnt line up with their opinions or anyone that has come here to have their opinion heard that they disagree.

    It’s all opinions folks…..and after having served my country I’m just glad we all get to express them. Bob I’m sure your sauces is great on the competition trail, I can tell that just from looking at it since it likely has EXCELLENT glazing qualities. Brian and Marilyn you reviewed a product that you didnt mark high on your scale and it’s your site and you have every responsibility to call them as you see them.

  13. I have to defend Brian and Marilyn on a few things:

    1) You can’t use the excuse, (and I’m paraphrasing) “well they’re hot sauce reviewers, what do they know?” I would bet people like them (and even me) have tasted more sauces than the majority of the commentors on here. Just because Brian and Marilyn often like it spicy, they’re also BBQ fanatics and love big flavor.

    2) I’ve tasted plenty of “big name” competition sauces, and a LOT of them are overrated. I can’t speak for BBQ Bob’s Hav’n A BBQ Sauce (never tried it), but I’m blown away at a lot of the overly-sweet, bland crap that passes for “award winning”. Maybe it appeals to those who have eaten nothing but ketchup mixed with liquid smoke all their lives…

    3) What and who was this sauce made for? Only the four core meats you’d find on the competition trail? Or the average backyard griller who’s more likely to grill up burgers and dogs? Is it for KCBS judges to eat, or the average American carnivore? As Bob stated above, it’s made for “for competition BBQ as well as backyard bbq”. Maybe it’s geared more towards the generalized palette?

    1. Scott, thanks for the comment and insight as to “…who was this sauce made for?”.

      I reserve further comment until we do some ribs with Bob’s.

      Bob tells us it’s made for both the comp circuit and the backyard cook.

      Well, this backyard cook will have to take it to the next level to see.

  14. Bob is a friend and a fellow competitor. He states the sauce is for competition and I’m confused by this review for a couple of reasons. First I do not want a sauce for home or competition masking the flavor of the meat. If you want a thick gloppy sauce to mask flavor go to the store and buy some Kraft. Second I’m not sure of the credentials of the reviewer. As a 17 time Grand Champion I believe my credentials as a competition cook speak for themselves. Our process is similar to most competition BBQ teams, mixing a little of this with a little of that to try to get the perfect balance of sweet, heat, vinegar and consistency. Hav’n a BBQ Sauce is one of the best all-around sauces we have in our stock without having to change anything. It enhances the flavor of the meat and doesn’t overpower. I highly recommend those reading these reviews to try for themselves and I guarantee you will be happy you did!

    1. Mike – “you point out, and support my statement in the review where I said:

      “Maybe it would make a great base to add to – to make it your own flavored sauce. Doctor it up a bit with either spices or other flavorings”

      After reading the Comments here, I believe we are looking at the next “Blues Hog sauce”. The one all the teams are using, doctored up, to win categories. Nothing wrong with that!

      Thank you for the Comment.

  15. Hi Brian

    My perspective is one of BBQ’ing on a grill for years but using a smoker for really only one year. Definitely a backyard BBQ point of view. I am friends with and a neighbor of Bob’s. I’ve known him for about a year. I’ve used different BBQ sauces for years and having tried Bob’s when he first developed it was a pleasant surprise. Personally, my taste is for a vinegar based sauce and my wife’s was as well. Since using Bob’s, my wife is a huge fan of the Bob’s Hav’n a BBQ Sauce and it’s what she prefers now in lieu of the vinegar based sauces that she has had in the past.

    We’ve used this on chicken and pork. On well rubbed and smoked pork butt and ribs, BBQ Bob’s Hav’n a BBQ Sauce is excellent. We have found, (as well as friends and family,) that it has a very good balance of sweet, savory, spice and vinegar.

    While it may breakdown over high heat due to the sugar/syrups, it gives a very nice mahogany red color that is desired in both backyard BBQ and on the competition circuit, (based solely on watching BBQ competitions on TV.)

    I agree with another comment in that your review seems very contradictory in stating essentially that it’s a good sauce but, you only give it one star. This is a good sauce that can be used as Bob has created it and on the flip side of that, the versatility of it is great. It pairs well with rubs and it can also be a good base that anyone from a backyard BBQ’er to a competition team can doctor up to their fancy.

    In our opinion, (and that’s what this forum is all about,) this is a great product and we will always have it on hand. Bob stands by his products and this is a great one!

    1. T&R – thanks for chiming in as a backyard cook, like us.

      Your point, and others’, about the 1 Star ★☆☆☆☆ rating is misunderstood. The fact that it got a 1 Star still makes this a good sauce. One Star is worthy of trying… just a tad below 2 Stars, and not 5 Stars. One star is 20% on the scale.

      One Star is still good stuff people! 🙂 As you may have seen above, T&R, we will revisit the sauce soon.

      Thanks for your comment. ~B.

  16. This sounds like a “letter writing campaign” drummed up by the manufacturer to defend his sauce. How many of these folks have even heard of Hot Sauce Daily, much less have read this review, if not asked by Mr. Trudnak to swing by an comment? Nothing wrong with that, it’s all good. Brian and Marilyn, should not apologize for the their opinions. An actor gets a bad review, and he moves on. It doesn’t mean he’s a bad actor necessarily. Kudos for defending your friend, but to say someone doesn’t know what they’re talking about just because they don’t agree with you is ridiculous.

    1. of all the replies, this is likely the most correct yet.

      Not everyone likes everything. Case in point, Blues Hog bbq sauces. I personally absolutely, positively without reservation cant stand 2 of their main sellers. There is a horde of KCBS judges followed by a throng of teams who have won millions of dollars in prize money who disagree with me. That doesnt change my dislike for the product, nor did it stop me from using that fire of dislike in my belly to fuel me creating my own like of sauces and rubs that I do like more.

      To each his own folks….to each his own.

  17. Additionally, just to show you that ANY press can be beneficial, I think I may buy some of this sauce this Summer, so I can use it in the application outlined by its supporters, and make judgment for myself. I am not a fan of all the sweeteners I listed earlier in this thread being used in one sauce (and I forgot to list brown sugar), but now I am curious.

  18. Firehead~ It’s a good sauce. Based solely on your name here, it may not have enough spice for you but, try it as is and then play with it a bit to suit your liking. I would be interested in hearing if/how you change it up and what your feedback is.

    And yes, you are definitely correct in any press, good, bad or otherwise can be beneficial!

  19. I believe Brian and I worked this out. All I asked for was a fair cook using the sauce (or any sauce for that matter) the correct way. BBQ sauce is meant to brush onto grilled or slow smoked foods toward the end of the process at lower temps so the sauce does not breakdown and over caramelize. It is meant to dip grilled or smoked food into or pour on top of a sandwich. It can be used as an ingredient to make an even more specialized flavor. Mopping bbq sauce onto unseasoned food that is going to be cooked over high heat before or during the cooking process is not the correct way to use the sauce and review it. I understand everyone has different opinions and not everyone will enjoy my bbq sauce. My “beef” was with with the inconsistency and quality of the cook. I appreciate everyones comments on both sides and happy Que’n to you!

  20. One star? Nah…
    This sauce is tremendous. It is, in fact, subtle. That subtlety is what make this sauce HIGHLY enjoyable.
    It does not take over the taste of the meat. And on a pulled pork sandwich?! OH YEAH! Want more heat? Shake on some cayenne, baby!

    We purchased cases of this sauce and gave them as Christmas gifts to coworkers and family in a gift basket. Everyone-and I mean EVERYONE, asked us where they could buy more. That speaks volumes about how delicious this sauce is.

    1. Wow. Nice job Foster, with the Christmas gifts. You probably scored lots of points with the family with this one.

      Thanks for the feedback.


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