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BBQ Sauce

Look.  Yes.  I am fully aware that it is rushing towards the end of November and that for those of us in the northern hemisphere, BBQ season was over two months ago.  I am also aware that for our friends in the southern hemisphere, BBQ season has just started, and for everyone who lives closer to the middle, BBQ season is a year-long affair.  My point is, I am completely unrepentant about giving you a keto BBQ Sauce recipe in mid-November.  Not only I am completely unrepentant, I am way more excited than I probably should be about this recipe.  Here’s the thing: I’m British.  I didn’t grow up with BBQ as part of my national heritage.  Brits typically don’t have barbecue grills the size of small cars, nor ones that have the ability to cook an entire gourmet meal on them.

As I recall, my family got our small, round, charcoal-powered barbecue when I was around 16, and we really had no clue what we were supposed to do with it.  We were hopeless at lighting it, and it took forever to get hot enough to cook anything.  All we ever cooked on it were frozen hamburger patties.  Oh, wait, I think we did progress to chicken kebabs at some point, but our repertoire was exceedingly limited.  Plus, the whole barbecuing thing was more of a pain than anything else.  Net net – when I landed stateside just about 14 years ago I was not a barbecue girl, and I wouldn’t know good BBQ Sauce if it hit me on the head.  Americans, I soon learned, will merrily barbecue anything that stands still long enough, and grilling – as they refer to the act of cooking outside on a barbecue – is as simple as turning a gas tap and pushing start.  Americans grill at the drop of a hat, in all kinds of weather, and with a ton of glee.  Americans love their BBQ.

Given that Americans also know their BBQ Sauce – I’m surprised it’s not their national dish – it was with a pretty major amount of trepidation that I finally finished procrastinating, heeded all the requests in my inbox, and bit the BBQ Sauce bullet.  How do you make a KETO version of something you’ve never made before?  How do you make a KETO version when you don’t really know what it is you are recreating?  Not to be outsmarted by a bottle of deep reddish-brown, viscous liquid, I began thinking about how I was going to get the same result without using molasses (black treacle, lovely English readers) and / or dark brown sugar, both of which impart a depth of flavor, color, and body all their own.  While xylitol or erythritol can replace the sweet part of the equation, color and flavor not so much.

I mused for several days, letting ideas marinade in my mind while I focused on other things.  Molasses-y thoughts occupied my mind in the shower, at the traffic lights, and at 1 am on Thursday when Mr. McHenry bounced on my chest and I couldn’t get back to sleep again.  I wandered around PCC and Trader Joe’s looking for inspiration.  And then it hit me. You’ll never guess in a million years, so I’ll give you a clue: root beer extract. | BBQ Sauce

I also ventured into the world of Liquid Smoke to get some hickory going on.  I’d always imagined that Liquid Smoke must be some horribly processed bunch of laboratory chemicals, but turns out it’s real live smoke from smoldering wood, that’s been collected, cooled, and condensed into a liquid (at least the brand I bought was).  Who knew??  (Yes, friends from England, you can buy this at Amazon and other places online if you can’t find it in your local grocery store.)

I was terribly excited when I’d finished dabbling and had a jar of finished sauce sitting jauntily on the counter.  It tasted just like other insane BBQ sauces that I had tried since being stateside.  Nevertheless I was eager for Wildman to show up for The Friday Night Dinner so he could give me his bona fide all-American, BBQ-expert opinion.  When he arrived in the kitchen – the air still heavily scented with BBQ – he headed straight for the jar with a spoon.

“Wow!  That’s *really* good!” he exclaimed.

Then I used the BBQ Sauce to rustle up Baked Barbecue Chicken.  I think you’ll love that too.  Wildman did.

I spent the rest of the evening and most of Saturday randomly yelling, “I made  KETO barbecue sauce! I made  KETO barbecue sauce!”  Because to me,  KETO BBQ Sauce is all kinds of exciting.  Not only that, but this is the first recipe I have created for you since March 7th.  To say that I am wildly enthusiastic to have my cooking mojo back is putting it mildly.  There were times when I wondered if I would ever cook again.

This BBQ Sauce is super simple to make and although it takes time to cook, the hands-on time is very short.  It’s really just assembly that gets simmered for 45 minutes.


BBQ Sauce

Author: Carrie Brown | Prep time:  10 mins   |   Cook time:  45 mins    |   Total time:  55 mins   |   Makes: 2 pints / 1 quart

What You Need

What You Do

  1. Heat the oil in a pan.
  2. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté until translucent – about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, xylitol, lemon juice, smoked paprika, salt, liquid smoke, and root beer extract, and stir well.
  4. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully transfer the sauce into a blender.
  6. Blend on high until sauce is completely smooth.
  7. Tap the guar gum through the hole in the top of the blender lid and blend for 5 seconds.
  8. Pour the sauce into a jar and leave uncovered until cool.
  9. Cover and refrigerate.


Top Recipe Tips

  • The root beer extract makes for a better flavor and color, but you can leave it out if you can’t find it easily.
  • Make sure you buy unsweetened tomatoes and choose the one with the lowest sugar content.
  • When choosing apple cider vinegar, find one with “the mother” in it.  It will have stringy “sludge” in the bottom of the bottle.  I use Bragg’s.
  • For a creamier, higher-fat version, add ¼ cup / 2 fl oz. heavy (double) cream to the blender before blending the sauce.
  • Check out the Ingredients Guide for information on ingredients.
  • Where Are The Macros and Nutritional Info?


Helpful Cooking and Recipe Links


Podcast Episodes | BBQ Sauce


PS. If you are not in the US, I wouldn’t drive yourself mad looking for root beer extract. Yes, I believe it’s a better flavor and color (definitely color!) with it in it, but the world won’t end if you leave it out.  If you can get it – great, if not, enjoy it without.  This is the brand that I use.  I also used this brand for my Riveting Root Beer Ice Cream.






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  • Gary J MossNo need to apologize for giving us a recipe for SANE BBQ sauce in colder seasons. Some of us like to bake our baby back ribs in the oven and a good sauce that’s also SANE is what I have been looking for.ReplyCancel

  • Dr Mike KeenYesssss…….mojo………SANE BBQ sauce……blogging… heart is singing…..welcome back me old China……we missed you!!ReplyCancel

  • CharlotteWow; so excitinge! No, it’s not late, I think of it as an early Christmas gift!

    I just used up my last bottle of inSANE sauce that my sister brought me this summer (I”m in China). I hated using it but it’s so yummy. Now need to place an order with Amamzon so said sister can mail the items in the Christmas package.ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl MathieuSo happy you’re back in the kitchen! Not that you’ve ever left mine! I make one of your recipes at least once a week. This week , Lasagna Soup.
    I’m on the hunt for root beer extract in the UK. What brand do you use? I might have to wait until my mother comes to visit in April and have her bring me some from Washington. Even Amazon just seems to have home brew kits and brands I’ve never heard of.ReplyCancel

  • DrewThank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, had pork shoulder in the Sous Vide last night and used insane sauce. Sourcing ingredients now. I wonder if SodaStream root beer flavouring would work, well I will try it and let you know.ReplyCancel

  • BonnieNever too late to bbq! Can hardly wait to make this but wondering where to find root beer extract? Great to hear you have your cooking mojo back!ReplyCancel

  • Creamy BBQ Shrimp » Carrie Brown | Life in the SANE lane[…] for the sauce has been mulling around in my brain for several weeks.  I wanted to make use of the SANE BBQ Sauce in a new way, but I didn’t want it to be overpoweringly barbecue-y.  Originally I was going […]ReplyCancel

  • Mike TickleSANE BBQ sauce where have you been all my life. This is one I’ll be trying this weekend (weather permitting)ReplyCancel

  • Linda KnappI can’t wait to try this sauce out! Thanks for all the great recipes! One question – I do not want to use Xylitol in any recipe if I can avoid it because it is so deadly poisonous for dogs. Can I just leave it out or substitute Erythritol for Xylitol in recipes? I know sometimes you say do not substitute. In the case of Xylitol vs Erythritol and/or Stevia what kind of issues would you expect to see?ReplyCancel

  • BBQ Sauce - Ketovangelist Kitchen[…] filled with sugar, chemicals and other assorted artificial yuck, then this recipe is for you.  The BBQ Sauce backstory shares how it came to be that an English chick even made BBQ Sauce in the first place, and […]ReplyCancel

  • MarleneCarrie, you have gotten me back in the kitchen with a vengeance! I am madly stocking my pantry with just the right things! This BBQ sauce is simmering as I type! After all, it is Labor Day! We HAD to have some to go with the racks of ribs in the smoker! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!ReplyCancel

  • LindaI’ve followed all the links in this post
    No where can I find the actual recipe for the sane bbq sauce.
    Where is it hidden?ReplyCancel

  • Happy Father’s Day[…] gathering with pulled pork in keto barbque sauce. If you are interested in the recipe follow this link to Carrie Brown’s recipe, she is the master of adapting recipes to ketogenic diets without […]ReplyCancel

  • Zesty BBQ Keto Crockpot Chicken Thighs | Low Carb Recipe - Eating Fat is the New Skinny[…] you can make your own homemade BBQ sauce from scratch. I usually prefer this method so that I have control over the ingredients used. I find […]ReplyCancel

  • Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders - Keto, Low Carb and GF Recipe - Eating Fat is the New Skinny[…] flavorful dipping sauces to complete this recipe include ranch dressing or a sugar-free BBQ sauce. If you pick these up from the grocery store, read the labels closely to make sure your choices […]ReplyCancel