A flavourful homemade sugar free bbq sauce that comes together in only 5 minutes! It’s spicy, smoky, sweet and tangy at the same time – perfect for grilling meat and for dipping. Low carb, Keto, gluten free and made with common ingredients.
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Buying condiments in the supermarket and staying sugar free (aka healthy) is a tricky business. Ready-made sauces are usually laden with added sugar, as well as large amounts of additives straight out of the chemistry textbook.
Sugar acts as a preservative. It extends the shelf life of products. It is cheap. It enhances taste. People love sugar because it triggers the release of dopamine in the reward centre of the brain. Eating sugar makes us want to eat more sugar.
All of this is GREAT for business – and bad for our health.
I don’t want to bang on about how evil food manufacturers are. They’re in it for the profit, not for charity. What we can do is read labels and make informed decisions about what we put into our bodies. 4 grams of sugar is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of table sugar. When you read that 100g of Heinz Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce contains 34g of sugar, for example, you know what you’re in for.
The good news is that you can make you own sugar free bbq sauce in minutes.
This low carb and Keto recipe uses common ingredients most of which you probably have in your kitchen right now.
When I made my sugar free ketchup, I used tinned tomatoes. This meant I needed to reduce liquid to get the right consistency. For this sugar free barbecue sauce I decided to use tomato passata. It’s already quite thick so your sauce is literally ready in 5 minutes.
Barbecue sauce needs to be 4 wonderful things at the same time.
I used Sukrin Gold, which is a brown sugar alternative made with erythritol. You can replace it with your sweetener of choice – and, as always, do increase the sweetener if you prefer a sweeter sauce.
Some of the sweetness also comes from the tomatoes, so it’s worth buying a quality brand of passata. If you wish, you could even use fresh tomatoes. In this case choose a sweet variety, make sure they’re really ripe. Blanch them so you can remove the skins and cook them with a little olive oil on a low heat until you have the desired consistency (my guess – this would take about 30 minutes), then puree.
Vinegar is essential to the barbecue sauce taste. My vinegar of choice is apple cider vinegar, which has a host of health benefits. I know people who drink a glass of water with a spoonful of apple cider vinegar every morning to support their immune system. Again, any mild white vinegar would work here.
Simple. Get yourself some smoked paprika powder. It will totally transform this sauce and it’s not expensive. Other sugar free barbecue sauce recipes in the blogosphere recommend using hickory smoked sea salt or liquid smoke. These are good options, but if you’re on a budget, smoked paprika will do the trick.
I even found this Paleo recipe by Healing Gourmet that recommends using 2 smoked bacon rashers. I thought that was a super interesting idea and do want to try it out one day. I’d leave out the salt in this case as bacon is salty. You’d also have to cook the sauce for 30 minutes and puree it.
You can go as little or as much as you want. Personally, I love spicy, but I’ve got kids in the house so I have to restrain myself. Either cayenne pepper or plain old chilli work. Start off with just a pinch and work your way up from there until you have reached your very own happy place.
Last but not least, I consider onion and garlic powder to be absolutely essential for this recipe. I used the powdered version for convenience and time-saving reasons. It is, of course, possible to use fresh onion and garlic – if you don’t mind the chopping and 30 minutes of cooking.
Note – Worcestershire sauce does contain a little sugar – but it’s only 1g per 1 tsp. With only 2 tsp for the entire recipe it does not increase the sugar content by much at all. It’s a condiment I like to use in beef recipes, for example when marinating steaks or for ground beef. The tangy/sweet notes of the tamarind in the sauce works really well in this recipe.
We have used this sugar free bbq sauce recipe in place of ketchup with sausages and I’ve marinated pork belly with it. I grilled the pork belly strips for 30 minutes, then added the barbecue sauce and returned them to the oven for another 25 minutes. Delicious. I bet it would also be good for bbq ribs and as a topping for burgers.
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Homemade Sugar Free BBQ Sauce Recipe (Low Carb)
A flavourful sugar free bbq sauce that comes together in minutes. Made with simple everyday ingredients that you'll probably have in your larder right now!
Put all ingredients in a pot. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes.
Serving size: 2 tbsp
Store the sauce in the fridge in an airtight container. It will keep for around a week.