hickory smoked bbq sauce recipe

Hickory Smoked BBQ Sauce

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Also note: While I am a certified nutrition coach, I am not a medical doctor. Information here is not intended to be a replacement for the advice you should seek from your doctor.

Who’s grilling this weekend!? 🙋‍♀️ Summer is coming to an end, so let’s make most of it! Better and healthier than store-bought Hickory Smoked BBQ sauce. This recipe is clean, has no refined sugar, and is low carb. 

Let me know in the comments below if you like it! Check my other BBQ recipes, too!

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Ingredient Selection Tips


From ancient times mankind has used honey in its diet also as a medicine. It is especially healthy if we use it raw, unprocessed instead of sugar.

Tomato Sauce

Try to find tomato sauce that is low sodium. Since tomatoes are on the Dirty Dozen list, you should buy tomato sauce organic.

Noteworthy Health Benefits


High-quality raw honey is rich in antioxidants, including organic acids and flavonoids. Antioxidants are improving cell health, reducing the risk of heart attack,  promoting eye health, lowering blood pressure. Honey is also being used for healing wounds and burns. Honey contains trace amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B, amino acids, and enzymes.

Tomato Sauce

Here are some health benefits that we get every time we consume tomato sauce:

  • It is loaded with vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin A, K, B1, B3, B5, B6, B7 and Vitamin C. It also contains potassium, folate, iron, magnesium, chromium, choline, zinc and phosphorus.
  • It prevents cancer as it is full of antioxidants like lycopene.
  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Reduces chronic pain
  • Reduces risk of heart diseas
  • It is beneficial for skin health

Balanced Plate for Performance Goals

While any food can fit into your menu for performance goals, some recipes can contribute to a better strategized menu than others. Below you can see how this recipe can fit into your goal. If this recipe has unique benefits, it is best cut out for the goal(s) with a star next to it.

The chart below changes dynamically based off the goal you have selected.


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More Info

However, everyone is different! Use the Precision nutrition calculator I use with my clients to calculate suggested macros custom for you. For more information on using this hand estimation system, click here.

For more info on types of foods for proteins, fats, carbs, and veggies, read my article Formula for the Perfect Healthy Meal. This article will also help you figure out what foods to eat more and less of.

Protein: Need to Supplement

You will need to add a protein. This BBQ sauce is an excellent marinade for any protein! Try it with chicken or tempeh! It would also make an excellent dip for some air fried chicken tenders.

Fat: Need to Supplement

There isn’t a notable amount of fat in this BBQ sauce recipe. You could add fat to your plate by cooking with olive oil.

Carbs: Need to Supplement

There is a negligible amount of carbohydrates in this BBQ sauce from the honey. You will want to balance your plate with a complex carbohydrate. I suggest brown rice or beans!

Veggies: Need to Supplement

While there is tomato sauce, tomato paste, and nutritious herbs in this recipe, there isn’t a significant amount. Make sure to balance out your plate with a vegetable such as brussel sprouts or green beans!

Additional Meal Tips for Weight Loss

This BBQ sauce is excellent for weight loss because it is lower in calories and sugars than most store bought BBQ sauces. Make sure to pair with a high volume of vegetables, a lean protein like chicken, and a small amount of fat such as olive oil to feel more satiated.

Additional Meal Tips for Endurance

Feel free to add lots of carbs for performance, such as rice, to your plate as well as some protein, such as chicken, for muscle recovery!

Additional Meal Tips for Building Muscle

Double up on your lean protein, such as chicken, to support muscle growth.

Additional Meal Tips for Improving Health

Make sure to pair with lots of vegetables and aim to get your protein from lean sources (such as chicken or fish) and fat from healthy sources (such as olive oil).

Diet Preference Tweaks

Vegan / Fully Plant-Based

You can easily turn this BBQ Sauce into a delicious vegan sauce, replacing the honey with maple syrup or agave syrup. This sauce would be an excellent marinade for grilled tempeh!


For keto diets, omit the honey in this recipe. You could optionally replace the honey with a monk fruit sweetener which is much lower in sugar and has a lower glycemic index.

hickory smoked bbq sauce recipe

BBQ Sauce Recipe

Yum Caitlin Havener
Who’s grilling this weekend!? Better and healthier than store-bought BBQ sauce. This recipe is clean, has no refined sugar, and is low carb.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 40 kcal


  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp Salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp chili powder


  • Mix all the ingredients.
  • Enjoy as a marinade or dip!



Calories: 40kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 1gSodium: 218mgPotassium: 54mgFiber: 1gSugar: 7g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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