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It's nearly summer! The weather is better for cooking outside. What is your preferred seasoning for the grill: rubs, marinades, or sauces? Today, I want to explore barbecue (BBQ) sauces.


There are so many variations of BBQ sauce, which means the nutrition information will vary by brand and recipe. For this example, I used the standard reference BBQ sauce from the National Nutrient Database from the USDA.

Two tablespoons of BBQ sauce have around 60 calories, 14g carbohydrates, and 350mg sodium. BBQ sauce is not a significant source of fiber, fat, or protein, and contains only small amounts of different vitamins and minerals.

  • Buy: Sodium and added sugar are often high in commercial BBQ sauces. When buying, see if reduced-sodium bottles are available. If not, compare between bottles to find one with the least sodium. There are sugar-free BBQ sauces, many of which contain a sugar substitute. Reading the ingredient list will help you know which one.

  • Price: BBQ sauce prices will vary by brand and size of bottle. Choose a brand that fits your budget and personal tastes.
  • Store: Store unopened bottles of BBQ sauce at room temperature in a dark, cool place. Unopened bottles can also be stored in the refrigerator. Once opened, store the bottle in the refrigerator and use for up to 9 months. The brand of sauce may have a recommended shelf-life date on the package you can follow.
  • Prepare: Commercial BBQ sauces can be used from the bottle without other preparation. To make and can your own BBQ sauce, use instructions from the National Center for Home Food Preservation: Barbeque Sauce.
  • Eat: From your grill to sandwiches to appetizers, BBQ sauce pairs well with a number of savory recipes!
Low-Sodium BBQ Sauce (Makes 1-1/2 cups, Serves 12)

Looking for a barbeque sauce without all the sodium? It may taste different what the higher-sodium varieties, but give your taste buds time to adjust.

1/2 cup no-added salt ketchup
1/2 cup no-added salt tomato sauce
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

    1. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate any sauce not being immediately used.

      Nutrition Facts per 2 Tbsp serving: 60 calories, 0g fat, 10mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g protein

      Source: Food and Nutrition Services at Memorial Medical Center, Springfield, 2015