Yes, you can enjoy keto barbecue! But barbecue sauce often hides a lot of sugar, so make sure you pick a keto-friendly barbecue sauce to slather on your meat. These are some of the best store-bought keto barbecue sauces you can buy (with a homemade option for inveterate DIYers).
Summer is here (but not for much longer...) and that means there is the constant smell of something grilling. For those living by a ketogenic diet, it may seem as if only boring grilled bites are in the future. 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 ensure the big flavors you crave without the carbs 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 keto-friendly barbecue sauces for you to enhance your grilling game.
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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 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.
This condiment is everything you would expect from a barbecue sauce. It's sweet, spicy and tangy all at once. Containing no refined sugar (the sweetness comes mostly from dates), this product complements any cut of meat that's ready for grilling season and can add even more flavor to grilled vegetables as well.
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 ingredients, like apple cider vinegar, tamarind, ginger, allspice and arbol chile 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. Also, it's cheaper on Thrive Market if you have a membership there
This sugar-free barbecue 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 a recipe).
Homemade keto barbecue sauce
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 liking, which can make being keto an easier pill to swallow.