Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce, open, best by Nov. 2020—can I eat it?
April 18, 2021 5:07 PM   Subscribe

I have like a third to half of an open, refrigerated bottle left of Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce. It has a "best by" on it that's specifically "buy by" November 4, 2020. I think I've had it open in the fridge since sometime in mid-2019, after I moved in here. The scent is fine, but I don't know if it's safe to eat the rest. Can I eat it? I have a pulled pork sandwich that it would be great on.
posted by limeonaire to Food & Drink (11 answers total)
Best answer: I'd eat it without hesitation. I've eaten condiments over a decade old, five years after moving them from house to house, and they've been fine.
posted by kdar at 5:08 PM on April 18, 2021 [10 favorites]

Best answer: The salt and acidity of the sauce plus fridge would make me happy to eat this.
posted by freethefeet at 5:12 PM on April 18, 2021 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I’m usually pretty cautious about this stuff and I would eat this without hesitation.
posted by Mizu at 5:23 PM on April 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I wouldn’t, but I know I’m on the safe side of these “can I eat it” questions. It’s been open for a year and a half...I’d go get another bottle of delicious BBQ sauce and carry on! Also hot tip: write the date when you open it on the label with a sharpie and you’ll always know how long its been open!
posted by Champagne Supernova at 5:29 PM on April 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: In this case, if it smells fine, it's fine.

It's a "best by" date, not a "throw away after" date.
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:35 PM on April 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would definitely eat it. I've never been fussy about this kind of stuff -- and as far as I know, I have only ever had food poisoning once, after eating in a dodgy-looking restaurant in Eastern Europe.
posted by alex1965 at 6:01 PM on April 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I ate it, friends. It was delicious on my sandwich. I will let you know how it goes, or if it doesn't go well, I'm sure a MeFite friend will.
posted by limeonaire at 6:16 PM on April 18, 2021 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Sugar is also a preservative.
posted by theora55 at 7:04 PM on April 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: With things that are acidic, salty, and or sweet, I don't worry about the expiration date. I do look at the top of the contents for the formation of mold. (For myself, I just spoon out the mold with a little of the contents and eat the rest anyway. Not everyone would be content to do that.)

Which makes me want to add: if it would worry you to eat it, don't. It's not that much money.
posted by tmdonahue at 6:53 AM on April 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You'll probably be fine but 2 years after being opened is pushing your luck and I would not serve something that old that had been open that long to someone with digestive issues or a weakened immune system.

BBQ sauce generally does not have enough acid to inhibit bacterial growth. The sugar typically found in BBQ sauce provides a better amount of protection.

The best by date is meaningless in this case - the worst case scenario is that the flavor/texture will be a little worse unless the product contains something like nuts that will go rancid with time even in a close container. But once you break the seal, the safety that pasteurization provides is gone.
posted by Candleman at 12:42 PM on April 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I survived, by the way, with no ill effects thus far. I appreciate all the answers!
posted by limeonaire at 2:55 PM on April 19, 2021 [2 favorites]

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