The question of grilling with barbecue sauces brings to mind the argument of wet rub vs. dry rub. People who favor putting a wet rub on their meat often break out a bottle of barbecue sauce and then slather it on the meat before putting it on the fire. This approach is a mistake because it runs the risk of leaving a layer of burnt barbecue sauce on your ribs or brisket, which gives an unappetizing taste. Some pit masters maintain that sauce should be served on the side, leaving the smoke, spice rub, and the natural flavors of the meat to provide taste.
However, proper ways exist to use barbecue sauce on the grill.
For all types of meat, start with a dry spice rub. What goes into the rub is limited by your imagination. Typical spices include garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, and so on. One should apply the spice rub several hours before putting the meat on the grill to allow the spices to be absorbed by the meat.
When you are grilling meat that is cooked on direct heat, say ribs, chicken pieces, and links, apply the barbecue sauce at the last minute, using a brush. In this way, the sauce provides a tasty layer without getting burned.
For low and slow meats, such as brisket or pork shoulder, you should apply barbecue sauce about once an hour using a barbecue mop. These fatty meats will absorb the flavor of the sauce into themselves as they slowly cook, adding a certain succulent tenderness.