barbecue sauce substitute

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Looking for a substitute for barbecue sauce? How about 6 great barbecue sauce substitute ideas? Keep reading to find out surprising ways to swap out barbecue sauce with great results!

barbecue sauce substitute 

Barbecue sauce is a sweet and tangy sauce made with ingredients like ketchup, mustard, vinegar, liquor, fruit juices, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, celery seeds, salt and other spices.

Depending on where it is made and the ingredients used and the ingredients used, it is sweet, spicy, smoky and tangy and it is used for quite a large number of dishes including pizza sauce, as a marinade for meats, for basting, to brush on grilled meats, in burgers, meatloaf, and even as a condiment.

But, what if you’re about to make a recipe that uses barbecue sauce but you’re out of it? Can you really replace this ingredient effectively?

The short answer is yes. There are at least 6 easy ways to substitute for bbq sauce with other sauces or DIY concoctions.

Barbecue Sauce Substitute

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauce is a good substitute for barbecue sauce in a pinch. Teriyaki sauce is sweet, tangy, and salty and is made with ingredients like soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, mirin, ginger, honey, cornstarch and water. 

Teriyaki sauce and barbecue sauce are not the same. In fact, teriyaki is more salty than barbecue sauce, it is not a smoky sauce and it does not have the same or similar consistency to barbecue sauce. However, you can still use teriyaki for many of the same recipes or food preparations that use barbecue sauces.

As such, you can use teriyaki sauce to substitute for barbecue sauce as a marinade for meats, as a glaze, in stir fries, for grilling, as a dipping sauce, for basting meats and so much more.

Low sodium teriyaki sauce makes a better alternative. 

Hoisin sauce

Hoisin sauce

Another great barbecue sauce substitute is hoisin sauce. Hoisin sauce is made from ingredients like fermented soybean paste, five-spice powder, garlic, red chili peppers, flour, sugar and water.

This dark, thick sauce has a flavor that is slightly sweet, spicy and salty. It is more salty than barbecue sauce, but, in a pinch you can use it as a condiment, and even added to meats for flavoring.

It should be noted that hoisin sauce does not taste like barbecue sauce. In fact it has a flavor that is quite unlike any barbecue sauce you will come across, but, its thick and rich consistency is very similar to that of barbecue sauce, plus it has a somewhat similar color and it is good for glazing grilled meats.

Duck sauce (or plum sauce)

Duck sauce

An easy sweet and tangy sauce that can be used to substitute for barbecue sauce is duck sauce. This sauce is made from ingredients like plums, sugar, vinegar, Chinese five spice, ginger, garlic, star and anise and salt.

Use this sauce in place of barbecue sauce marinate meats like pork, chicken and duck meat. It is also great as a dipping sauce, as a finishing sauce for roasted meats and even as a basting sauce.

Plain tomato ketchup 

tomato ketchup

This ingredient is made from concentrated tomato paste, sugar, water, vinegar, mustard, salt and seasonings like allspice, onion, cumin, ginger and cloves to name a few.

Tomato ketchup is sweet and tangy, but it does not have the same flavor as barbecue sauce. Nonetheless it has a very similar consistency to barbecue sauce and can work as a pizza sauce and as a condiment.

Also if you have these other ingredient on hand you can use them as a way to enhance the flavor of plain ketchup and make it more like bbq sauce

Use some smoked paprika or jalapeño powder as well as some vinegar to add some smokiness and extra tanginess so you get a flavor that is more similar to smoky tangy & sweet barbecue sauce.

Dry rub recipe

dry rub

While this is not a sauce, it is dry rub is actually another good way to substitute for barbecue sauce, particularly in grilled meats.

Dry rub ca be customized to an individuals taste, but it is usually made from ingredients including dark brown sugar, smoked paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and cayenne pepper.

This means that dry rub adds a smoky, savory and sweet flavor to foods.

It is best used as a dry rub for all types of meats like pork or chicken including vegetables and even seafoods.

DIY Barbecue sauce

diy barbecue sauce

The best substitute for barbecue sauce is a DIY barbecue sauce. To make it you will need brown sugar, ketchup, red wine vinegar, water, 

These are some of the best ways to replace barbecue sauce when you have none. None of them except the DIY barbecue sauce tastes exactly the same, but, in a pinch many of the substitutes listed here are adequate stand ins in most recipes, especially as a dip and as marinades for meats or to baste meats.

More sauce substitutes

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