Barbecue sauce acts as a perfect complement for various bbq styles. It is also a vital component to some of these food styles. What’s stunning about bbq sauce is its ability to get used as a condiment, to marinade, or baste your bbq. You can use it either for one, two, or all the above three purposes at once. Unfortunately, you may get out of bbq sauce or cannot access one.

In such a case, you can use a substitute. Like many bbq sauce lovers, you may not be aware of alternatives for a bbq sauce. But you need not fret; luckily, in this article, you shall get informed of the various substitute for bbq sauce, and you can use in the absence of a barbecue sauce. You may need to continue reading for insight.

Healthier Alternatives to
BBQ Sauce?

1. Make Your Own

If you run out of your bbq sauce or none is available for you to use, the best option is to make your own. If you’ve never made a sauce before, you may think that preparing one is complicated and takes much of your time. But you are wrong. The process is quick and straightforward. You only require;

  • An acid
  • Sugar
  • Spices

But this does not mean that you cannot add any other preferred ingredients. You get free to be creative in making your bbq sauce. The above components are only for a basic formula. If you are making a tomato-based bbq sauce, you can use either ketchup, tomato sauce or paste.

You also can add the sweetness by using either molasses, honey, or brown sugar. Spices are excellent in improving flavor, and you can add the ones you like. Most cooks love incorporating their leftover rub into the bbq sauce they make. You can borrow a leaf and try it out. Other ingredients you can consider are Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke.

Though it is famous, the tomato-based bbq sauce is not the only option you can make. You can also try making the mustard-based bbq sauce. It is popular in most parts of the US. If you want your bbq sauce to attain the smoke flavor, place it in a pot and put it on the bbq cooker alongside the meat or food you’re barbecuing.

2. Hoisin Sauce

It is a decent alternative to use in the absence of a bbq sauce. It is a famous glaze for Chinese meat dishes. Mostly, it gets used in Vietnamese cooking. Its flavor is like that of the ancient bbq sauce, though its ingredients are different. You might think that because the hoisin sauce has a Chinese attachment, it is difficult to find. That isn’t true.

You quickly get the hoisin sauce in any grocery or Asian market. Besides, you may go ahead and make your hoisin sauce. You only require sesame paste, vinegar, soy sauce, chilies, and honey. Use an equivalent amount of hoisin sauce like that of your bbq sauce on your barbecued food.

3. Plum Sauce

Like the hoisin sauce, it’s a great alternative to the bbq sauce and originates from Asia. It consists of plums, ginger, vinegar, and other fruit types as ingredients. Traditionally, the plum sauce gets used with fried dishes as a condiment.

For example, the won-tons and spring rolls. It is also excellent if used as a duck flavoring. Because of its fruity notes, its flavor is sour and sweet. It is the reason why it acts as an excellent substitute for bbq sauce. Sometimes, you may find the flavor mild. You get free to add your preferred spices to improve the intensity of its taste. Use the same quantity of plum sauce you use for the bbq sauce.

4. Root Beer

Despite being an excellent ingredient used in making bbq sauces, you can also use it as a bbq sauce substitute. Instead of basting your meat with sauce, you get to use the root beer. It has a bbq sauce sweetness with complex sassafras-like taste, making it ideal to use as an alternative to bbq sauce. Besides, it comes with its original flavor, making your barbecued meat or other food taste delicious.

If you want the root beer’s texture to thicken as that of a regular bbq sauce, put it in a saucepan and place it on a cooker. Then allow the root beer to simmer in low heat until it reaches approximately 50% to 60% of its original quantity. Allow it to cool and then apply it to your barbecued meat or food. Then sit back and enjoy your meal!

5. White Sauce

Since years ago, it is famous in Alabama, and the locals have been using it in their barbecues. It gets made with similar elements used in making a regular bbq sauce except that it used mayonnaise instead of tomato. Because of its likeness, it acts as a perfect alternative to bbq sauce.

But most of the above options contain a lot of sugar. According to LeeAnn Weintraub’s statement, a professional nutritionist, some sauces come with approximately one cup of sugar!

Simple Substitute for Bbq Sauce

To avoid many calories, LeeAnn suggests the following simple-to-make substitute for your bbq sauce. You may love it because it comes full of flavor.


  • Black pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Herbs
  • Fresh lemon juice

According to Weintraub, if you can’t get any of these elements, you can substitute them. For example, in the absence of fresh lemon use, use vinegar or bottled lemon juice.

According to her, the following are excellent herbs for marinating any kind of meat;

  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Tarragon

If you can’t get access to fresh herbs, a mixture of dried up spices will work out great. You get to use only a pinch of it. If you happen to miss the sweet tang that comes with a bbq sauce, swap the lemon juice with sweeter fruit, but ensure the fruit comes with no added sugar to the sauce. A perfect example to use is orange or pineapple juice.

As discussed above, you may have prepared to indoor smoking or barbecuing meat or food but fail to access a bbq sauce. It could be because it has gotten finished, and you can’t find any on the market near you, or are not in a position to go and get one. Whatever the case, there is a way out. You can use one of the substitutes explained above. Alternatively, you can make your bbq sauce at home if you have the ingredients. The choice is yours.

Latest Posts

Weber Smokey Joe Grill Review—What to Choose: Standard or Premium?

Weber Smokey Joe review with an emphasis on the 14-inch premium version. Is it worth your money & Also find out Original vs Premium?

Read More

6 Best Charcoal Chimney Starters of 2023: What’s Recommended for You!

Searching through hundreds of charcoal chimney starters for the best starter can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Fortunately, we've taken

Read More

How to Use a Charcoal Chimney Starter Effortlessly

Here's our complete guide on how to use a charcoal chimney starter, why you should use it, and how to make sure you're safe doing so.

Read More

How to Start a Charcoal Grill – Easy Ways to Light the Coals & Keep 'em Hot

Starting a charcoal grill is significantly different from a gas grill. Here, we'll teach you how to start a charcoal grill & light the coal.

Read More

What Are the Different Types of Charcoal? Choose Best Among them!

Five different types of charcoal can serve grillers excellently. Here, we’ll show them to you and tell you which is the best.

Read More

Lump Charcoal Vs. Briquettes: Which Wins the War of Superiority?

Every grill lover has been involved in or heard about lump charcoal vs briquettes arguments before. So here, we’ll settle once and for all.

Read More