Low Carb BBQ Ribs with Cranberry BBQ Sauce

It seems to be pretty darn difficult to find a BBQ sauce in the store that is compliant with a low carb lifestyle.  If you start reading labels it’s readily apparent they’re loaded with sugar.  Whether it is listed as molasses, honey, demerara, etc. it is still sugar as far as the body is concerned.  So does that mean low carbers have to give up the beloved BBQ?  Absolutely not, but you might have to make your own sauce.  I’m listing a recipe below for one version of a low carb BBQ sauce, but we also developed one at HeathGlen’s Kitchen using fresh Wisconsin cranberries that is quite awesome.  Try your version or HeathGlen’s with this great recipe for BBQ ribs.

low carb BBQ Sauce

BBQ Ribs with Low Carb Cranberry Sauce

Tips for Making your own Low Carb BBQ Sauce

BBQ sauce in general is pretty simple to make on your own.  Basically you toss all the ingredients in a pot and let it simmer, stirring only occasionally.  Alternatively toss all the ingredients in a food processor, pout it over the ribs or whatever protein you’re making and let it cook in the oven with the ribs.

The main problem with making your own sauce is that most recipes call for ketchup as the base, and then go on to add more sugar.  I found several recipes online that avoid the added sugars but still result in high flavor.  One of these is listed below for your convenience.

It’s easy to get creative with a BBQ sauce and it’s difficult to ruin it.  To cut the sugar use diced tomatoes or tomato sauce or tomato paste and start adding vinegar and spices.  If you want a smoky sauce add some liquid smoke.  Spice?  I like chipotles with their added smokiness, but use cayenne or red pepper flakes for a brighter spice.

If you want a grocery store variety, I did find one brand in our local grocery with only 2 carbs per 2 Tbsp serving.  It is called Classic 2 Carb BBQ Sauce by Ken Davis.  It is “OK” in a pinch.

Adding Berries to Low Carb BBQ Sauces:

Since we grow blueberries at HeathGlen Farm, I have made and sold a Blueberry Bourbon BBQ sauce that was very popular in past years.  This year I bought 240 pounds of cranberries from a Wisconsin cranberry farmer that I know from the St. Paul Farmers’ market and used some of them in a cranberry BBQ sauce (pictured on the ribs below).  Berries are one of the lower carb fruits that is often allowed on low carb diets and this Cranberry BBQ sauce is in our new line of Low Carb Sauces.  This sauce will be added to our low carb product line at HeathGlen in a few weeks.


Recipe for Oven-Baked Low Carb BBQ Ribs

serves 4-6


  • 2-3 pounds pork ribs (country-style or spareribs)
  • your favorite rub (cajun rub, HeathGlen’s Harissa mix, jerk seasoning, etc.)
  • 1-2 cups Low Carb BBQ Sauce (one recipe below)


  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Wash ribs and pat dry.  Line a large baking dish or roasting pan with foil for easy clean up.  Arrange the ribs in the baking dish and use your hands to coat the ribs with the rub.
  3. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours
  4. Spoon Low Carb BBQ Sauce over the baked ribs.  return to the oven, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes longer

Recipe for a Low Carb BBQ Sauce:

  • 14.5 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp mustard
  • 3/8 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 Tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or any hot pepper spice)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar (optional)
  • optional spices  (cinnamon, celery seed)

Directions:  In a food processor, combine all low carb BBQ sauce ingredients and blend until smooth.  Taste. Adjust seasonings to your taste.

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 250-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.


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