Keto BBQ sauce means that low-carb lifestyle can still be delicious.
You can absolutely enjoy keto barbecue even if you're following a low-carb diet. Barbecue sauce often hides a lot of sugar, so you'll just need to make sure you pick a keto BBQ sauce to slather on your meat. And you don't have to find a keto BBQ sauce recipe -- if you want a hassle-free option, these are some of the best store-bought keto barbecue sauces you can buy. (Though we have included a homemade option for inveterate DIYers to try.)
We're looking ahead to cookout season, when lots of people start to let their healthy diet resolutions and weight loss goals slide. But, for those living by a ketogenic diet, it may seem like there's an endless future stretching ahead of you full of bland chicken and vegetables with the smallest number of net carbs. Not so. As keto has caught on as a healthy lifestyle, as have paleo and Whole30, a slew of keto products have flooded the marketplace to deliver the big flavors you crave without the high carb count you're trying to avoid. And one of these flavors is the big, bold taste of barbecue sauce.
We scoped out all of the barbecue sauces on the market that are keto-approved -- from classic flavors to specific styles -- and put together a list of the best store-bought keto barbecue sauce for you to enhance your braising, grilling and overall cooking game.
A cult favorite, Primal Kitchen has been on the cutting edge of healthy living for years. Its classic barbecue sauce has the bold flavor that those on keto may be missing from their lives, thanks in part to cumin and chipotle powder. It can be used as a marinade and dipping sauce for all sorts of meat, as well as brushing it on ribs and chicken wings in the last few minutes of grilling for a flavor boost. The product is organic, too.
Different than the classic sauce, Primal Kitchen's golden barbecue sauce mimics yellow mustard-based South Carolina barbecue sauce and omits the smoke for a sweet and tangy flavor instead (with the former coming from the natural sweetness in tomatoes and balsamic vinegar). Recommended for pulled pork and veggies, it also makes the perfect dipping sauce for grilled chicken strips.
Love North Carolina-style barbecue? Lillie's Q creates as close a match as possible to the real thing, except this one has no sugar added. Dubbed Western Carolina Tomato, the sauce has a slight tang to it, just like vinegary Carolina barbecue sauce should. The brand recommends using this on pulled pork, brisket and smoked chicken.
Sweetened with pineapple juice concentrate (which also adds a little extra tang), this keto- and Whole30-compliant barbecue sauce contains a delicious mix of spicy, smoky, tangy and naturally sweet BBQ sauce ingredients, like apple cider vinegar, tamarind, ginger, allspice and arbol chili powder. Be aware: It does contain grass-fed beef bone broth powder too, so is not suitable for anointing your grilled vegetarian and vegan dishes -- but it is extra savory and has a delicious smoky flavor. Also, it's cheaper on Thrive Market if you have a membership there
This sugar-free barbeque sauce contains sucralose, which is keto-friendly, but if you prefer to avoid artificial sweeteners, you'll want to skip it. Some reviewers suggest that it's a bit mild and like to add things like Dijon mustard and chipotle powder. Your mileage may vary, but it's affordable enough that it's worth a try.
Sweetened with stevia, this sauce only has two carbs per serving. If it's not spicy or complex enough for you, you can always doctor it with cayenne, smoked paprika, garlic and more. Or, just make your whole batch of barbecue sauce yourself (see below for an easy keto recipe).
Have a few minutes? You can make your own low carb, sugar-free barbecue sauce with just a few keto-friendly ingredients, including mustard, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste and a few spices. In fact, making your own gives you a chance to develop the sauce to your taste buds, which can make being on a keto meal plan an easier pill to swallow.