9 Best Sugar-Free BBQ Sauces Of 2023
We absolutely love a good BBQ sauce, but unfortunately, sometimes these can contain a ton of unhealthy sugars, only adding calories to an already calorie-dense meal!
So, what better way to reduce your sugar intake than by choosing healthier sugar-free BBQ sauces? This way you can still have a decadent juicy grill without any of the extra sugar!
So, what are the best sugar-free BBQ sauces? The best sugar-free BBQ sauces are ones that can be used as marinades, basting sauces, and dipping sauces. This is much easier if your product is sugar-free as the sugars won’t burn. Additionally, sauces with simple flavors and a tomato or vinegar base are preferable in a BBQ sauce.
Today, we will have a look at all the different types of BBQ sauces you can find, what makes a good sauce, how to pair them, and finally, what the best sugar-free BBQ sauces are.
What Is BBQ Sauce?
BBQ sauce, also known as barbecue or barbeque sauce, is one of the most versatile sauces because of its many uses.
It can be used as a condiment, a marinade, or a type of basting for virtually any type of ingredient. In fact, it is so popular that it has even been developed into a spice!
This sauce was originally developed during the formation of the American colonies around the 17th century.
Originally BBQ sauce only consisted of vinegar, salt, and pepper. Only much later did ingredients like sugar, ketchup, mayonnaise, and Worcestershire sauce become common additions.
Over the centuries it has developed to a point where we now have four common types of barbecue sauce.
Besides the four major types of BBQ sauce, different regions also have different types. For example, South Carolina has their very own South Carolina mustard sauce which consists of mustard, vinegar, sugar, and spices.
Texas’ BBQ sauces are much more heavily spices and usually also include fresh onions. Alabama has a type of white barbecue sauce that has a mayonnaise base.
As you can see, there are many, many different variations which can sometimes make it much more difficult to choose which you want or need.
Types Of BBQ Sauce
There are four main categories of BBQ sauce. These include vinegar-based, mustard-based, tomato-based, and mayonnaise-based.
Vinegar-Based BBQ Sauce
This is arguably the most common type and definitely the original version of BBQ sauce. These sauces usually have a more tangy flavor, can handle a lot more spices, and often has a thinner (or runnier) consistency.
These sauces only consist of vinegar, sugar, and spices. These spices almost always include salt and black pepper, but can also be used to create flavor variations. You can use cayenne pepper, chili flakes, or even cumin or coriander.
Vinegar-based BBQ sauces are extremely easy to use, especially with meats. Vinegar helps tenderize the meat and will also help add more flavor to the cut.
This means that you can basically add it to the meat at any time—be it as a marinade, a basting sauce, or even just as a condiment.
Vinegar-based BBQ sauces, as we mentioned before, works extremely well with meats.
If you want an even more specific flavor pairing, pork is the best type of meat to use with this type of BBQ sauce. The vinegar will cut through the fatty parts of pork and balance out the flavors nicely.
Mustard-Based BBQ Sauce
This category is usually where people love adding spiciness. It consists of yellow mustard, vinegar, spices (especially black pepper), and often other condiments like Worcestershire sauce.
This category of BBQ sauce usually works best as a finishing sauce because it doesn’t need to be cooked at all.
It can be paired with loads of ingredients, but in our opinion, works best with chicken (or other more neutrally flavored poultry), ribs, and smoked pork products.
Tomato-Based BBQ Sauce
These are the perfect all-rounder BBQ sauce. If you are not sure which to use, choose a tomato-based one. Like the vinegar-based sauces, these can be used as a marinade, a basting sauce, a finishing sauce, or a condiment.
Within this category you also get two main varieties: tomato-vinegar based and tomato-sugar based.
Tomato-vinegar-based sauces are much thinner thanks to the vinegar and are better used as for basting. What makes these fantastic is that you can use them during the cooking process from start to end.
The tomato-sugar-based sauces have a much sweeter flavor profile and work only as a finishing sauce.
This is because of their high sugar content which can cause the sauce to burn over high heat and if cooked for long periods of time.
These sauces have a wide range of flavor profiles so can be used with virtually any ingredient. For meat, we would recommend only beef, chicken, or pork.
Mayonnaise-Based BBQ Sauce
The last type of BBQ sauce we will discuss today are the mayonnaise-based ones. These are extremely creamy and tangy types of BBQ sauces that sometimes have a very peppery and slightly sweet flavor to them.
They definitely work best with lighter flavored meats like fish and poultry. We would also recommend using this type of sauce with grilled meats to balance the smoky flavor.
Mayonnaise-based BBQ sauces can be used as basting sauces or marinades, but also as condiments. If you have sugar in your recipe, again, only use it as a finishing sauce as the sauce can burn and ruin your meat.
What Is Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce?
Sugar-free BBQ sauces don’t contain any form of sugar. While this might seem obvious, this also includes granulated sugar alternatives like honey, molasses, and syrups like maple or golden syrup.
These BBQ sauces are sometimes considered to be healthier, but we would always recommend looking at the list of ingredients it contains.
If you look at the types of BBQ sauces we have mentioned above, you will see that many of them don’t contain sugar as the main ingredient, but this still doesn’t mean that they don’t ever have sugar in them.
Now, sugar-free doesn’t necessarily mean that the sauce will not be sweet. There are tons of ways your sauce can still be sweet without actual sugar.
If you are only looking to reduce your calorie intake, there are many “sugar-free BBQ sauces” that use artificial sweeteners to still add sweetness to the sauce.
However, if you simply want an unsweetened sauce, you have to make sure that it doesn’t contain any type of sweet ingredient, natural or artificial.
Some forms of sweetening ingredients you can look out for include granulated sugars (white or brown), syrups and honey (or ingredients like molasses), artificial sweeteners like xylitol or aspartame, and even fruits like peaches or plums.
The 9 Best Sugar-Free BBQ Sauces Of 2021
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of our favorite sugar-free BBQ sauces! If you’re looking for a new sauce to add to your collection, read on!
|1.||G Hughes Smokehouse Original Sauce||Best overall sugar-free BBQ sauce|
|2.||Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce with No Added Sugar||Goes great with pork, chicken, and fish|
|3.||Primal Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Barbecue and Steak Sauce||Whole30 approved, keto certified, and paleo-friendly|
|4.||Keto Primo Oh So Sweet Super BBQ Sauce||Sweetened using monk fruit|
|5.||Lillie’s Q Zero Sugar Carolina Barbeque Sauce||No preservatives|
|6.||Rufus Teague Sugar BBQ Sauce||Sweetened using Stevia|
|7.||Yo Mama’s Keto Classic Barbecue Sauce||Perfect for marinades|
|8.||Simple Girl Variety Organic BBQ Sauces||Gluten-free|
|9.||Good Food for Good Organic Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce||Dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, and wheat/grain-free|
1. G Hughes Smokehouse Original Sauce
This BBQ sauce from G Hughes Smokehouse is definitely one of the most popular sugar-free sauces you will find. Its flavor profile is simple yet rich and complex.
This is a tomato-vinegar-based barbecue sauce and contains crushed vine tomatoes, cider, and white vinegar, a variety of spices, and some hickory smoke.
The slight sweetness you may pick up comes from the vine tomatoes, which are known to have highly concentrated sweet flavors.
These flavors allow you to use this sauce with virtually any type of meat or vegetable. And what’s even better is that you can use it as a marinade, basting sauce, finishing sauce, or a condiment!
This product is sugar-free, high-fructose corn sugar-free, and gluten-free. The thickeners used to give this sauce a thicker consistency include corn starch and xanthan gum.
This is the perfect sauce for diabetics, people with celiac disease, or if you are simply trying to cut back on sugar. This is a must-have staple sauce for your pantry!
2. Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce with No Added Sugar
Sweet Baby Ray’s has been a trusted and extremely well-known award-winning producer of barbecue sauce, so naturally, their sugar-free bottle will be on our list.
This is a vinegar-based BBQ sauce even though it does have some tomato paste in the recipe.
It also contains distilled and apple cider vinegar, some natural smoke, and some thickeners like xanthan gum and corn starch.
It also has a beautiful blend of spices including garlic powder, onion powder, mustard flour, and some paprika.
This is a very versatile sauce that we would highly recommend using as a marinade. It will go great with pork, especially fattier pieces, however, you can also use it with chicken or grilled fish.
3. Primal Kitchen Organic Unsweetened Barbecue and Steak Sauce
Primal Kitchen is a brand we absolutely love.
This 3-pack of barbecue and steak sauces are all made from organic products and have no GMO products.
It’s also whole30 approved, keto certified, and paleo-friendly.
It doesn’t contain any soy, sugar, or gluten. It is arguably one of the healthiest BBQ sauces you will find.
This variety pack includes their Classic BBQ sauce, their Golden BBQ sauce, as well as a Steak Sauce.
Their Orginal BBQ sauce is a blend of tomato and mustard-based sauces, so you can only imagine the incredible flavor it has!
The Golden BBQ sauce, in our opinion, while equally delicious, contains a simpler blend of spices, making it great for different reasons.
The Steak sauce is perfect for beef products and contains a bunch of spices that pair well with those flavors. These include sage, allspice, and cloves to name a few.
4. Keto Primo Oh So Sweet Super BBQ Sauce
This is a very interesting barbecue sauce that we would highly recommend to people who love experimenting.
This is a tomato-vinegar barbecue sauce, but what makes it unique is how it has been sweetened.
This is a sauce that doesn’t contain any sugar but still has been sweetened using monk fruit and erythritol.
Monk fruit is very similar to Stevia, another sweetened obtained from plants.
This BBQ sauce is perfect for grilled meats, smoked products like pork or chicken, and a wide variety of slow-cooked meat cuts.
It is also a product that prides itself as keto-friendly, low-carb, gluten-free, and GMO-free.
5. Lillie’s Q Zero Sugar Carolina Barbeque Sauce
This is a very traditional Carolina barbecue sauce, just with less sugar.
It includes classic ingredients like vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and some delicious spices.
It has no preservatives, modified starches, high fructose corn syrup, gluten, or MSG.
This sauce goes exceptionally well with pork, grilled chicken, and brisket, however, you can use it with virtually any type of meat and vegetable.
6. Rufus Teague Sugar BBQ Sauce
This is another sweet barbeque sauce that gets its sugar from alternative, more healthy sources.
This sauce contains Tamari soy sauce that does contain small amounts of sugar. The other source of sweetness is Stevia, a natural sweetener obtained from plants.
Other flavors you will find in this sauce include tomato paste, spices like garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika, and then some spiciness from added dried chipotle and chili peppers.
We would highly recommend using this sauce as a marinade with poultry, pork, fish, and of course beef, but it can also be used in other ways.
7. Yo Mama’s Keto Classic Barbecue Sauce
This is a much more smoky and boldly flavored barbecue sauce. It contains simple ingredients that have been perfectly balanced to make it a well-rounded all-purpose sauce.
You can expect a tomato vinegar base with a ton of spices like chili powder, black pepper, onion and garlic powder, some mustard seeds, and some bay leaf extract.
This BBQ sauce also contains some monk fruit extract so you can expect a tiny hint of sweetness.
This sauce is fantastic as a basting sauce, marinade, finishing sauce, condiment, and even a dip on its own. You won’t regret keeping a bottle (or ten) on hand!
8. Simple Girl Variety Organic BBQ Sauces
This BBQ sauce variety pack from Simple Girl includes three delicious flavors.
These include Carolina Kick, Southern Blend, and their Original Country Sweet BBQ sauce.
All of the ingredients used are organic and of the highest quality.
The Carolina Kick will add some smokiness, spiciness, and a touch of sweetness to your meals.
It makes a fantastic gluten-free dipping sauce but can also be used in other ways.
The Organic Southern Blend is a great all-around sauce that can be used to flavor chicken, beef, virtually any vegetable, and even vegan ingredients like tofu.
It is a well-balanced tomato-based BBQ sauce and it has the perfect balance of spice and sweetness.
And finally, the Organic Country Sweet sauce is just the sauce for those not wanting to sacrifice sweetness. It goes great with beef, chicken, pork, and much more!
9. Good Food for Good Organic Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce
The final sauce on our list today is this delicious tomato-based sauce. What we love most about it is the delicious dates used to help sweeten it.
So again, this is another sauce that doesn’t contain any granulated sugar, only natural ones.
The sauce is dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, and wheat and grain-free—pretty much perfect for anyone wanting to cut back on calories and carbs and enjoy healthier ingredients.
All the ingredients are also all-natural and organic certified.
This BBQ sauce pairs very well with white meats like chicken and fish, but will also go great with lighter meats like pork.
Now that we’ve gotten to look at our absolute favorite sugar-free BBQ sauces, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
Can you modify the flavor of your sugar-free BBQ sauce?
You can definitely modify the flavor of your BBQ sauce, and it’s actually pretty easy! The most important thing to take into consideration is whether or not the additional ingredients will pair well with the rest of the recipe.
You don’t want to make your sauce spicier if you are going to use it in a spicy dish. There are hundreds of tips and tricks on the internet to help you easily adapt store-bought BBQ sauces.
How do you make your BBQ sauce less sweet?
To cut back on the sweetness of your sauce, even if it is already a sugar-free or less sugar sauce, all you have to do is add some more vinegar.
If there is apple cider vinegar on the list, use some additional apple cider vinegar to reduce the sweetness.
If the label doesn’t specify which vinegars were used, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, or white vinegar works best.
Can you reduce the smokiness of a BBQ sauce?
Fresh fruit juice (specifically citrus-based juices) helps balance out the artificial smokiness of your sauce. If you want to also add some sweetness to the mix, you can try something like mango juice or pineapple juice.
How can you reduce the spiciness of your BBQ sauce?
Sugar balances out spiciness, especially more caramel-flavored ones. We would recommend adding brown sugar, molasses, or honey.
How can you increase the spiciness of your BBQ sauce?
Simply add more spice! Any kind of chili or hot sauce works great! We personally prefer something like Tabasco, but there are hundreds of amazing chili sauces available on the market.
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