Copycat Paula Deen Sugar Free BBQ Sauce

bbq018What I have come to realize over the last year is that we are only limited by what we think is possible.  In the case of BBQ sauce it has so many ingredients in the list and a lot of them are things we can’t have.  It’s probably natural to think the molasses or brown sugar are the key ingredients that give BBQ sauce its unique flavor profile.  For a long time I assumed making a BBQ sauce would just be impossible.  That’s where Paula Deen comes into the picture.  I opened up her bottle of sugar free sauce and was astonished.  We quickly ran out to Big Lots and bought all the bottles we could find.  I haven’t been able to find it since. It’s so expensive on Amazon  It’s cruelly expensive.   So I was left to the task of trying to create my own recipe.  

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 I spent weeks eating her BBQ sauce exclaiming, “How does she do it?? How does she make it taste like dinner and dessert?? What did she do???”  So much so that I was near offending my husband who would reply back to me, “You know the wings are good too, I’m the one who cooked them on the grill.”  My first recipe tasted nothing like BBQ sauce.  I was very disappointed but happy with it as a steak sauce.  

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IMG_20140126_172010The fact that it had been done before kept me hopeful.  I had a fantastic sauce to reference with Paula Deen’s sugar free BBQ sauce and I had Google.  So for a few weeks I’ve read every single sugar free BBQ sauce out there and what I have found is a decisive lack of liquid smoke.  Not just any liquid smoke…it has to be mesquite liquid smoke.  I know it says hickory smoke on her ingredients list but trust me the mesquite liquid smoke is what works. How does Paula make her BBQ sauce taste savory, sweet, and almost like a dessert but perfectly balanced for slathering on grilled meats?  It’s the spices.  In particular we will need cinnamon.   Are you tired of getting by with BBQ sauces that taste like A1 or salsa? Me too!  Those days are over.   This recipe will probably evolve as I have more time to develop it.  I’d like to create a variety of sauce recipes.  I can’t wait to see what else we can do while staying low carb.  

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I feel like a fresh BBQ sauce has more explosive flavor then any bottled sauce could have.  I actually have 1/2 bottle of the Paula Deen sauce in the fridge and it has gone untouched since pulling this recipe together.  My husband is planning on bringing a bottle of my BBQ sauce to work and I’m pretty sure even though I just made some more this morning that I’ll have to make another batch within a few days! Try it.  You’ll love it!

Copycat Paula Deen Sugar Free BBQ sauce
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup Heinz reduced sugar ketchup (192 grams)
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  4. 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  5. 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  6. 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  7. 1 1/2 tablespoons Colgin mesquite liquid smoke
  8. 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (to thicken)
  9. 2 teaspoons paprika
  10. 1 tsp onion powder
  11. 1 teaspoon salt
  12. 1 teaspoon pepper
  13. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  14. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  15. 3/4 cup sugar equivalent. I used 4 1/2 tsp truvia and 1/4 tsp ezsweet. (technically that means it's 1/2 cup sugar equivalent plus 3.5 tablespoons, so it's just shy of 3/4 cup however you can sweeten this to taste as well.) **Update I tried this with all Truvia last week and was very unhappy with the results. I recommend the measurements I have here for the two sweeteners or else using ALL liquid sweetener for this recipe.**
Instructions
  1. Combine ketchup, water, vinegar, worcestershire, lemon juice, mustard, and liquid smoke in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Once the sauce starts to heat up add xanthan gum and whisk very quickly until all of the gum is incorporated.
  3. Add in spices and sweetener.
  4. Let cool and store in a squeeze bottle or jar.
Notes
  1. This makes 2 cups of BBQ sauce.
  2. Serving size is 2 tbsp.
  3. 10 Calories; trace Fat; trace Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 2 net carbs
Adapted from Food.com
Adapted from Food.com
Up Late Anyway http://www.uplateanyway.com/keto/

 

84 comments

  1. James says:

    This is outstanding! Very very similar to the bottled version, just fresher tasting! THANK YOU!!!

    • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

      That’s exactly what I thought! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It gets even better as it sits in the fridge too. I love this on boneless pork spareribs!

        • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

          I think the best option if you want to go “more natural” would be to use liquid stevia (it can have a bitter aftertaste which is why I use it with erythritol aka Truvia). I don’t have a brand recommendation on that though. Here’s a little information on erythritol (main ingredient in Truvia) via wiki “It occurs naturally in some fruits and fermented foods.[3] At the industrial level, it is produced from glucose by fermentation with a yeast, Moniliella pollinis.[1] It is 60–70% as sweet as table sugar yet it is almost noncaloric, does not affect blood sugar, does not cause tooth decay, and is partially absorbed by the body, excreted in urine and feces” It is a processed food however it makes me feel good to know it’s at least found naturally as well.

          I do understand the desire for less processed ingredients as in a Paleo lifestyle which is why I usually list the sugar equivalent on all my recipes. That way my readers can choose their own sweeteners. Agave is even sweeter than sugar so it won’t be a 1 to 1 conversion for this recipe. 2/3 cup Agave = 1 cup sugar. You’ll have to search for a conversion with that. I don’t know what agave tastes like at all so I’m unsure of the results you would have. If it’s just a sweet syrup it should be fine. Honey would be good too. Alas I can not have that many carbs nor do I recommend that many carbs for overall health. That’s just my personal standpoint. I have to include that in my reply and hopefully you’ll understand! No offense is meant at all. Good luck!

  2. Nancy Davis says:

    Thank you for this recipe, I used tomato paste instead of ketchup and x anthan gum. It turned out thick and yummy.

    • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

      I’m so glad you liked it! I’ll have to try it with tomato paste some time.

  3. Cathy Dee says:

    Can’t wait to try this. I’ve started making my own condiments and fyi..homemade mayo is TO DIE FOR! That and homemade ranch dressing (with the mayo) for dipping veggies into. But I digress. This recipe sounds great! I just bought a couple bottles of our favorite BBQ sauce yesterday as they were on sale! It might take me awhile to use this but I will. Oh, I will. 🙂 I am perfecting my homemade (LC/SF) ketchup recipe and will use that in this. Thanks for your hard work developing this recipe and being such an inspiration! (I made the pizza recipe that you recommend from Cooky’s site last night and it’s a winner! Thanks for that too!)

    • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

      I haven’t dared to make ketchup yet! Lol. You will love this BBQ sauce. I’m so glad that you’re getting so much from the site. I love the Holy Grail pizza but recently I’ve been making the Stromboli recipe more and more. You should check that out as well! http://uplateanyway.com/keto/stromboli/

  4. brista says:

    I can’t wait to try this, just ordered the liquid smoke. But I still wonder how Paula does it because there’s no sweeteners in hers but yours would have the sweetener in the sugarfree ketchup…hmm hmm hmm! Anyway can’t wait to try it because the ones I’ve come up with so far just taste like tomato paste haha.

    • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

      Her sugar free sauce uses sucralose aka liquid splenda! BBQ sauces need a lot of sweetness. I pretty much buy the sugar free ketchup JUST for this recipe now! LOL!I bought boneless pork spareribs today and will be making another batch of this sauce tomorrow. I think that you’re going to absolutely love this recipe.

  5. janet says:

    what happens if you don’t use the xanthan gum? where could i buy it not in bulk size? any ideas for a substitute? could i cook it and use cornstarch?

    • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

      If you omit the xanthan gum then you will just have a slightly thinner sauce. I would try it without first and see if you still like it a little bit thinner. I don’t think it will make too much difference. Cornstarch would work but I’m not too sure how many carbs that would add. You definitely want to keep the carb count down because this stuff is delicious! 😀 I like to be able to eat a lot of it.

      • HeatherW says:

        I make my own bbq sauce and ketchup every year that I can. You cannot use thickeners when home-canning, so the only option to thicken it up is to just let it cook down. So, if you want this recipe a little thicker without using a thickener, just let it cook down for a few hours. 🙂

        However, I think xanthum gum is fairly common in the baking aisle in most grocery stores nowadays. Our stores have it in the same area is the barley flour, almond flour, etc. Alternatively, I’m sure you can find it at Netrition or Amazon. One 16oz bag goes a *long* way.

        • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

          I would love to have a solid recipe for ketchup! I’m fairly addicted to the heinz reduced sugar ketchup. I don’t know that much about canning but I’m sure there are people reading here that appreciate the information! Thanks so much for sharing this.

  6. sarah says:

    I was so excited to try this but it was not good. For a side by side comparison of the two sauce first of all way too much pepper in this recipe and far too acidic. Paula deans has no visable pepper but this has pepper in every lick. I would consider halfing the amount of vinegar. The taste was slightly reminiscent of paula dean bbq sauce. Whether or not you will like this sauce depends on what you will use it for… our family uses her sauce for a bbq sauce for bbq sausage and rice. This would not work at all. Perhapes as picture on grilled chicken it might be fine overall a 2 out of 5 stars.

    • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

      First off, I’m sorry you were disappointed. I started off developing this recipe here http://www.food.com/recipe/the-ladys-barbecue-sauce-paula-deen-157974 which includes the teaspoon of pepper. So that’s how pepper comes into the story. We enjoy pepper so I don’t have any issue with it and one teaspoon per 2 cups of sauce really isn’t that much. It’s a very acidic sauce but I really like it that way. I think it is reminiscent of the Paula Deen bottled sauce only brighter (acid) and fresher tasting. My favorite meats to eat this with are chicken and pork. All the meats we eat with this are very high in fat and the sauce does really well to balance that out. I have never used BBQ sauce on sausage and can’t have rice (carbs) so I’m guessing the flavor of the sausage doesn’t go well with this sauce at all? Everyone has different tastes but most of the feedback on this sauce has been very positive until now. Again, I am really sorry you didn’t like it. I do stand by my recipe and it’s unfortunate that you didn’t care for it. Keep in mind that changing the amount of vinegar will lead to changes in the amounts of the other ingredients as well and might not produce a balanced sauce. Good Luck!

  7. Jane says:

    Just made this sauce today. It blows away the last sf sauce I made. I have never tried Paula Deen’s, but this was a great combination of flavors. I will put it in my permanent recipe book for use in the future! Thank you.

    • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

      That’s what I’m saying! Thanks for commenting. 😀 low carb BBQ sauce is so tricky so thank you very much.

  8. Anneliesa Speed says:

    As a Texan low carber, I so appreciate your efforts! Can’t wait to try this sauce. I just wanted to know how much liquid stevia I would need to use?
    Also, we have used your Stromboli recipe many times! So delicious, and so much easier than the cauliflower crusts I’ve attempted (and failed) to make. 🙂

    • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

      Hi there! I’m not sure which brand liquid stevia you’re using but there should be a conversion chart for you somewhere telling you that x tsp stevia= y cups sugar. It will be equal to 3/4 cup sugar. If you can tell me what brand I might be able to tell you exactly.

  9. Anneliesa Speed says:

    As a Texan low carber, I so appreciate your efforts! Can’t wait to try this sauce. I just wanted to know how much liquid stevia I would need to use?
    Also, we have used your Stromboli recipe many times! So delicious, and so much easier than the cauliflower crusts I’ve attempted (and failed) to make. 🙂

  10. Marsha P says:

    I hope to try this — looks great. I like Walden Farms sugar free BBQ sauce. Sometimes I can find it at Kroger. Usually I can find it at Sprouts. Also available online.

    • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

      Awesome! I’ll have to check out our local store and see if they got it in again.

  11. James says:

    I just made this again, for the 4th or 5th time!
    This time I started with tomato paste and made a ketchup based on some recipes I found elsewhere, This is still my favorite BBQ sauce recipe! Thanks so much again for sharing it!

    • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

      Good to hear! I tried a pizza sauce recipe using tomato paste the other day, the recipe failed, however a good quality tomato paste is so delicious! I’m looking forward to experimenting with it. You’re very welcome.

  12. James says:

    I just made this again, for the 4th or 5th time!
    This time I started with tomato paste and made a ketchup based on some recipes I found elsewhere, This is still my favorite BBQ sauce recipe! Thanks so much again for sharing it!

  13. Keith says:

    I’m gonna try your recipe and I’m sure it will be great, but also I would like the recipe of the first batch that you say would be good for a steak sauce . Thanks.

  14. tanya says:

    Love it! Thank you. I can’t wait to make a BBQ chicken pizza with your stromboli recipe as well. Soo good! 🙂

  15. Lyssa says:

    Do you think it would taste good with xylitol and ezsweet? I tried using erythritol for the last few months but it makes my mouth cold and tingly and drives me crazy 🙂

  16. Kristen says:

    Any idea how this would work using coconut sugar and leaving out the Worchester sauce (contains sugar)? My son has a sugar intolerance, so we are trying to avoid even small amounts of it. He seems to be okay with coconut sugar, and the only stevia I have is flavored with vanilla and cream. Finally, has anyone ever used arrowroot powder instead of Xantham gum? I’m looking forward to trying this recipe! Thanks for your time in perfecting it.

    • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

      Coconut sugar would be fine. I’m worried about the Worcestershire sauce though. The ingredients for the Worcestershire sauce are as follows: Vinegar, Molasses, Sugar, Water, Salt, Onions, Anchovies, Garlic, Cloves, Taramind extract, Natural flavors, Chili Pepper Extract. So for the most part this is a watery vinegar reduction sauce packed with spices. We have plenty of vinegar, plenty of spices. You may have to add a pinch of cloves. I’m unfamiliar with Taramind extract but it’s at the end of the list which means it’s a very small amount. I would omit it. Buy some anchovy paste and add it in in extremely small increments to get a hint of that flavor in. By small increments I mean 1/8 of a teaspoon or smaller. If it tastes off I would add 1/2 tbsp vinegar. With the coconut sugar I don’t think the sweetness from the Worcestershire sauce would be missing at all. Good Luck!

  17. pinkcrickets says:

    I made this yesterday and I thank you so much for developing and sharing your recipe. I have shared it with my Weight Watcher friends. It is SO good! My mom and husband liked it too! A million thanks

    • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

      I use sugar free ketchup which has carbs naturally, yes, but no sugar. The carbs in the Worcestershire is minimal given the amount in the recipe. It should not effect blood sugar. Hope that helps. I was afraid to try much of the stuff I’ve posted on this blog but the only problem ingredients I’ve come across, for me, is erythritol (Truvia, swerve) and sugar free honey. Try it. I think you’ll be surprised!

  18. Mike Morgan says:

    Tried this over the weekend. It is a great recipe, much better I think than the original which was published on food dot com with the use of brown sugar and prepared mustard. I did make a couple of substitutions which worked out well. First, I used chipotle pepper instead of cayenne. I love the chipotle flavor. Second, I used corn starch instead of xanthan gum, it works well and at 1/2 to 1 tsp per batch I think the carbs are negligible when considering the relatively small serving size. Also, the xanthan is very expensive at about $17.00 for a small bag at Publix. Finally, I used 7 packets of Splenda and it was borderline too sweet. It was ok for Georgia BBQ, which tends to be sweet, but probably too sweet for Texas or other drier styles. I think next time I will use 4 packets.
    – As a side note, the 3/4 cup sugar equivalent item in the recipe does not jive. If you look it up on the Splenda equivalent chart that would be about 17 packets which would be way too sweet.
    Everyone loved the results. I think this is going to become my signature sauce. Does anyone have thoughts on a compatible rub recipe? Maybe leave out the liquids (ketchip, water, vinegar, lemon juice, worcestershire, yellow mustard, liquid smoke, thickener and rub with just the solids?

    • Elizabeth Nimphius says:

      I love that idea for the rub. I like a sweet rub though so maybe add sweetened coconut oil or butter to the meat first and then add the spices. I’d have to look into the whole packet thing. I never used them because of the added carbs from the fillers. So glad you liked this recipe! I absolutely love this sauce.

  19. Mike Morgan says:

    Tried this over the weekend. It is a great recipe, much better I think than the original which was published on food dot com with the use of brown sugar and prepared mustard. I did make a couple of substitutions which worked out well. First, I used chipotle pepper instead of cayenne. I love the chipotle flavor. Second, I used corn starch instead of xanthan gum, it works well and at 1/2 to 1 tsp per batch I think the carbs are negligible when considering the relatively small serving size. Also, the xanthan is very expensive at about $17.00 for a small bag at Publix. Finally, I used 7 packets of Splenda and it was borderline too sweet. It was ok for Georgia BBQ, which tends to be sweet, but probably too sweet for Texas or other drier styles. I think next time I will use 4 packets.
    – As a side note, the 3/4 cup sugar equivalent item in the recipe does not jive. If you look it up on the Splenda equivalent chart that would be about 17 packets which would be way too sweet.
    Everyone loved the results. I think this is going to become my signature sauce. Does anyone have thoughts on a compatible rub recipe? Maybe leave out the liquids (ketchip, water, vinegar, lemon juice, worcestershire, yellow mustard, liquid smoke, thickener and rub with just the solids?

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