This keto BBQ sauce is sweet, smoky, and delicious on everything from ribs, pulled pork, chicken, to tofu. Sugar free and low carb, it’s quick and easy to make, and it keeps well in the fridge! Oh, and we’re from Memphis, so we know our barbecue!
What Makes This Keto BBQ Sauce So Good
- It’s got all of that amazing flavor you love from traditional BBQ sauce. Trust me, living in Memphis has given me some, um… very strong opinions about BBQ sauces, so when I tell you this one is amazing, I mean it.
- There’s zero added sugar, so it won’t spike your blood sugar or knock you out of ketosis. If you’ve ever looked at the label on a bottle of the store-bought stuff, you know just how much sugar (or high fructose corn syrup!) goes into them. And I get it! The sweetness of the sugar combined with the tanginess and spiciness of the other ingredients is *chef’s kiss*… but there are a lot of situations where that content is less than ideal.
- It’s fully customizable! With homemade sauces, you’re in 100% control, so you can adjust the types and quantities of spices you use to really perfect your sauce flavor.
- This keto BBQ sauce keeps really well, so you can make up a batch and keep it on hand for any of your barbecue needs. Refrigerate the sauce in an airtight container and it’ll last up to 2 weeks… assuming you don’t use it all before then!
Key Ingredients for Keto BBQ Sauce
Tomato Paste – As always, you want to be sure you’re using a tomato paste that’s as keto-friendly as possible. That means low carbs, low sugar, and no added sugars or sugar substitutes. Whatever sugar you consume should come from the actual tomatoes.
Liquid Smoke – A good BBQ sauce needs that rich, deep, smoky flavor, and liquid smoke is an easy and effective way to get it! It’s just what the name suggests – smoke in liquid form. It’s made by burning wood, capturing the smoke, and condensing it into a liquid. A little liquid smoke goes a long way, too, so a bottle will last you a while. If you don’t want to use it, you can leave it out – you just won’t have that intense smoky flavor to your keto BBQ sauce.
Brown Swerve – Brown Swerve mimics that delicious caramely-molasses flavor of traditional brown sugar without the actual sugar, so it’s perfect for keto. It’s a zero-calorie, non-glycemic, erythritol-based sweetener. I promise once you try it, you’ll want to use it for almost everything. If you’re new to this sweetener, add it to the sauce mixture 1 tablespoon at a time and taste as you go. This’ll help you keep the flavors just right.
- You can use your keto BBQ sauce on just about anything! It’s great on top of pulled pork, burger bowls, chicken legs or chicken breasts, or even on tofu. Pro tip: Cook up a serving of palmini pasta, top it with pulled pork, then drizzle on some keto BBQ sauce. Now you’ve got a keto take on BBQ spaghetti (a staple menu item at an amazing local BBQ restaurant) and you are very welcome.
- If your sauce simmers a little too violently, reduce the heat from medium to medium-low. You don’t want to overcook it.
- To get the best flavor long-term, store your sauce in a mason jar or similar glass container that seals shut. You can refrigerate the sauce up to 2 weeks or freeze it for 3 months.
- For a more sour sauce, add a little extra apple cider vinegar. Sweeter sauce? Increase the Brown Swerve in 1 teaspoon increments until you’ve got it just right. If you like your keto BBQ sauce really thick then you can start out with a little less water, or let it simmer a little longer.
Other Keto Recipes You’ll Love
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Keto BBQ Sauce
- medium saucepan
- 6 ounces tomato paste no sugar added
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup Brown Swerve
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1-3 pinches cayenne optional, for extra heat
- hot sauce optional, for spicy BBQ sauce
- Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan and whisk thoroughly. Bring mixture to boil, then reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened. If mixture simmers too violently, reduce heat to medium-low.
- Remove sauce from heat and serve immediately.
- If you’d rather not use liquid smoke, you can leave it out, but you’ll lose some of the smokiness that makes this BBQ sauce so good!
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Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.