Best Low-Calorie BBQ Sauce Revealed

barbecue sauceTrying to have a lean, mean, healthy grilled meal? You've gone through the trouble of choosing a skinless piece of chicken breast or fish. You're grilling, which is supposed to cut down on fat, too, because you're not using any cooking oils. And you're using a fat-free barbecue sauce. Score!

But wait -- that barbecue sauce may be fat-free or low-fat. They pretty much all are. But is it loaded with empty calories in the form of sweeteners? Better check those labels. You may be unwittingly pouring on the pounds in the form of barbecue sauce. Keep reading to discover the angels and devils of BBQ sauces.

I took a survey of the barbecue sauces sold at my local grocery store to see how they all compared with each other. 

Like I said, when it comes to barbecue sauces, it's the sugar you need to watch -- and the portion control. A "serving" of sauce is 2 tablespoons, about half the amount that usually ends up on people's spare ribs. Of course, a sugary barbecue sauce may not be as unhealthy as, say, a big tumbler of soda. But considering the average woman should limit her sugar intake to 29-37 grams, some of these sauces are going to make you re-think dessert. 

Sugar Overload Sauces

Hunt's Hickory & Brown Sugar: 70 calories, 15g sugar*

Kraft Thick 'n Spicy: 70 calories, 13g sugar

Kraft Original: 60 calories, 13g sugar

KC Masterpiece: 60 calories, 12g sugar

Hunt's Original Barbecue Sauce: 60 calories, 11g sugar

Better Choices

Naturally Delicious Honey: 45 calories, 11g sugar

Jack Daniels Spicy Original: 45 calories, 9g sugar

Bone Suckin' Sauce: 40 calories, 8g sugar

Naturally Delicious Original: 40 calories, 8g sugar

Best of Class

Stubb's Original: 30 calories, 4g sugar

I'd never thought to examine the sugar and calorie counts in barbecue sauces, and I'm surprised at the point spread here. No surprise, though, to see that "honey" and "brown sugar" flavored sauces tip the scales a bit more. Now you know! By the way, Stubb's is named after Austin music veteran Christopher B. "Stubb" Stubblefield, who also owns a barbecue joint and music venue also called Stubb's.

Happy low-calorie grilling. And, uh, I'll let you know how the Stubb's tastes after I sample it this weekend.

*Calorie and sugar counts are all per 2-tablespoon serving.


Image via adactio/Flickr

barbecue, grilling, healthy choices


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bills... billsfan1104

Thank you for posting these, this will help in my weight loss journy. Stubbs it is, and that is not bad sauce either.

nonmember avatar Beadles AZ

Stubb's Original is a great bbq sauce. My husband can't handle sugar on an empty stomach but loves bbq ribs. This is the perfect (and very tasty) choice for us.

Hopefully our addiction to sugar will soon come to the forefront. Way too much sugar in our diets - empty carbs. I knew there was a real problem when I found sugar listed as an ingredient in several varieties of frozen vegetables.

nonmember avatar DerTexan

Actually, Stubbs started his famous BBQ career in Lubbock. He was persuaded to relocate to Austin, but the venture failed. He eventually returned to LBB and opened a new venue before passing away. He was a great BBQ'er and quite a character. Great sauce!!

nonmember avatar tchuyoyo

Mo's Sweet Carolina's BBQ Sauce = Best BBQ sauce on the planet!! So good, it is tempting to drink it straight from the bottle. 2 tbspn. = only 45 cal., 3gr sugar. Made by local restaurant: "Mo's" in San Luis Obispo, CA and marketed to central coast area supermarkets. May be able to get them to ship it (idk). Central Coast Von's and Albertson's stores can't stock it on their shelves fast enough. A San Diego visitor who BBQ's a lot buys 1-2 cases every time he's up here.

nonmember avatar jaymo

if you're going lo cal bbq, why the heck are you even eating bbq?

frysh... fryshannon34

I like Kraft Thick and spicy

elasmimi elasmimi

I have never seen this brand in my area. We avoid the commercial sauces just for this reason.

slw123 slw123

I have never seen Stubb's, but I'll have to look for it.  Our brand isn't on the list, so I'll have to check the label and compare.

Pnukey Pnukey

Subbs is good.

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