Here is my low sodium BBQ sauce recipe. Really easy to make, it’s a versatile recipe that I use frequently in the kitchen. I use it as a condiment and a marinade on a variety of food!
Why make your own low sodium BBQ sauce
There are many reasons to make your own BBQ sauce. The most important thing is that you can have a delicious all-purpose condiment that is low in sodium and contains no preservatives or additives.
But beyond kidney nutrition, I find that being able to make my own condiments is rewarding and I believe it can be just as rewarding for you.
Plus, it can be easier than finding a commercial sauce that’s tasty AND suitable for your needs.
This BBQ sauce is vegan and is obviously low in sodium since there is no salt added to it!
It also contains maple syrup and molasses. I try as much as possible not to add sugar unnecessarily in my recipes, but a good tomato based BBQ sauce requires a minimum of these ingredients.
Sauces have their place in a kidney diet. Like any condiment, the most important thing is to respect the indicated portions and understand their nutritional values.
Low sodium BBQ sauce preparation
For this recipe, I opted for simplicity! To make this low sodium BBQ sauce, you simply have to combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, bring the mixture to boil and simmer half covered to avoid splashing.
Like many other condiments, making BBQ sauce requires only basic ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen.
Here is a non-exhaustive list to explain their role in this recipe.
Tomato sauce and paste
There are several types of BBQ sauce. This one is a tomato-based sauce. Tomato sauce or crushed tomato sauce is the foundation of this sauce. You can use one or the other.
The major difference is that tomato sauce will give a smoother texture to your homemade BBQ sauce, but its flavor is often already adjusted with spices even if it has the mention no salt added.
Both will work very well and it is simply a personal preference.
Just for information, know that there is a very big difference between the various brands of sauce both in taste and texture.
If you don’t get the desired texture for your low sodium BBQ sauce, I suggest you try it again with a tomato sauce from another brand next time.
As for tomato paste, its role is to give more thickness and consistency to the BBQ sauce. Be careful to use a cane of tomato paste without salt.
Vinegar is one of the main ingredients of a BBQ sauce. It is this ingredient that gives tanginess to this recipe.
If you prefer, you can replace apple cider vinegar with other types of vinegar such as white vinegar.
Molasses and brown sugar
Molasses is an important ingredient to obtain the classic flavor of a BBQ sauce. It has also has the dual role, along with brown sugar, of attenuating the overall acidity of the BBQ sauce.
Liquid smoke and spices
It is on this point that this BBQ sauce stands out from the others. Liquid smoke and spices not only compensate for the absence of salt but complete its flavor profile and give it a taste that will make you forget about the commercial sauces!
There are different varieties of liquid smoke. Personally, I use Hickory flavored liquid smoke, but any liquid smoke available can be used to make your sauce.
For spices, I use smoked paprika, mustard powder and garlic powder. Paprika and garlic are ingredients that are usually part of the usual ingredients of a BBQ sauce.
In this recipe, I also use black pepper, cumin, allspice, cinnamon and cacao powder. Some of these ingredients are really uncommon for a BBQ sauce recipe, but that’s part of what make this sauce flavorful even without salt.
Note that this is adjusted to my personal taste and I encourage you to modify the use of spices and liquid smoke according to your preferences to create a low sodium barbecue sauce that you will adore.
Low sodium BBQ sauce variations
Here are the variations that I propose if you want to customize your BBQ sauce.
Spicy BBQ sauce
In this recipe, I suggest using 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. To my taste, I find that this is the ideal amount to add just a little warmth.
If you like hot sauces and your stomach allows it, you can add more. On the other hand, if it is a first try, I suggest you do not exceed 1/4 teaspoon!
Fruity BBQ sauce
If you like fruity BBQ sauces, you can swap a few tablespoons of vinegar with fruit juice. Lemon juice, apple juice and pineapple juice are good examples!
You can modify the spices that are used in this recipe to your liking. Just be careful not to use spice blends that might contain salt.
Having done multiple tests, I strongly suggest to anyone who likes BBQ sauces more full-bodied than sweet to add 1/4 tsp more of ground cumin and freshly ground black pepper.
As mentioned earlier in this post, this recipe uses apple cider vinegar for a classic taste, but you can use any other type of vinegar.
A delicious suggestion from Roxanne is to replace cider vinegar with the same amount of balsamic vinegar!
Herbs too can be a very interesting addition. Personally, I love adding a little dried oregano and let simmer a bay leaf in the sauce.
You can adjust the texture of this barbecue sauce very easily. If you prefer it to be thicker, simply cook longer. You can use a little more tomato paste too.
If you prefer a more liquid sauce, you can use a little more tomato sauce or reduce the amount of tomato paste.
This unsalted BBQ sauce can keep for at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator, maybe a little more. It is also possible to keep it for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Note that tomato-based sauces are acidic and could react with plastic containers. It is best to use glass containers to store this sauce.
If you like this recipe, you could like these low sodium condiment recipes too:
Low Sodium BBQ Sauce
- 2 cups tomato sauce no salt added
- ½ cup cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup tomato paste no salt added
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 tbsp liquid smoke
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp ground mustard
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp cocoa powder
- ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅙ tsp ground cayenne pepper (optional)
- Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over high heat and simmer half-covered over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes until it gets thicker. Stir the sauce occasionally while cooking.
- Let cool completely and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
For informational purposes only. Nutrition data is primarily calculated from the USDA National Database. Values may vary from accuracy of measurements, brands, nutritional data and more. All measurements are metric (1 cup = 250ml). Readers are encouraged to make their own calculations.