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Alternative to BBQ Sauce for Ribs

Are You Looking for an Alternative to BBQ Sauce for Ribs? Here are 5 Sauces you Need to Try

People have often asked me what else they can use on their ribs instead of barbecue sauce. Because let’s face it; ribs are literally synonymous with bbq sauce! But not everyone is a fan of bbq sauce. Thankfully there are other options you can explore; from one ingredient sauces to more complex but delicious concoctions. Your imagination is your limitation!

Think pepper, brown sugar, and garlic powder. You can use any of these ingredients and more to make an alternative sauce for your ribs. What if you’re not a sauce person? You can decide not to baste them with any sauce at all. Simply dry rub a few ingredients on your ribs and the end result is equally tasty.

Today I have a few alternatives sauces you can try out for your ribs. Here they are:

  • Dry Rub Recipe

  • Seafood Sauce

  • Teriyaki Sauce

  • Sugar-Free Sauce

  • Plum Sauce

And they won’t take you much time to prepare. I’ll also include a homemade recipe for barbecue sauce in case you’re a die-hard bbq sauce fan. You do know that you can make your own barbeque sauce recipe and not necessarily buy a ready-made one, right?

Simply decide on the type of ribs you’re going to make the sauce for. Is it for back ribs or baby back ribs? Is it for beef or pork ribs? The sauces outlined below are great with both options. Just make sure that you marinate your meat safely.

Let’s get started!

Z Grills

Barbeque Sauce Recipes

While Worcestershire sauce is the secret ingredient behind the mouth-watering bbq sauce, there’s no one set method to prepare it as it pretty much depends on the outcome you wish, i.e. thicker or thinner. The ingredients slightly vary from one recipe to the next. I’ll just give you two variations to start off with. Both recipes work for either baby back or baby back ribs.

Classic BBQ Sauce Recipe

I’ll start off with this popular classic recipe bbq sauce if you prefer keeping it simple. It’s extremely delicious, super easy to make and won’t take you much time. The total time to prepare this bbq sauce is only 10 minutes.


Alternative to BBQ Sauce for Ribs



  • One hand a half cups of brown sugar
  • One and a half cups of your favorite ketchup
  • Half a cup of red wine vinegar
  • One tbsp of the delicious Worcestershire sauce
  • Two and a half tbsps of dry mustard flour
  • Two tsp paprika
  • One and a half tsp black pepper
  • Two tsp table salt
  • Water


Once you have all the ingredients on hand, the method is pretty straightforward. Simply blend all the ingredients together until you have a smooth mixture and you’re done!

If you’re watching your sugar intake and not too keen on a sauce that’s too sweet, feel free to cut down on the sugar portion. Also, if you love your sauce and want your back ribs to drip in it, go ahead and add more Worcestershire sauce!

Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe

Z Grills

For this second recipe, you’ll also need a few ingredients that I’m certain are already in your pantry. And they won’t take much time to prepare. To make this recipe, gather the following ingredients.


  • 2 cups of ketchup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • A quarter cup of brown sugar
  • A few tbsp of your favorite honey
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Black pepper, salt, and garlic
  • One tbsp lemon juice (bottled or fresh)
  • Splash of hot sauce


For this method, you don’t blend your ingredients but rather mix them in a pan over medium heat until the sauce starts bubbling. Lower the heat, leave your sauce to simmer for a total time of 10 minutes and it’s ready for use on your ribs!


Alternative to BBQ Sauce for Ribs


What Can I Use Instead of Barbecue Sauce?

We’ve covered the recipes for bbq sauce, now let’s explore other great alternatives for your ribs.

Dry Rub Recipe


Alternative to BBQ Sauce for Ribs
A dry rub applied to ribs in a metal bowl.


If you’re not keen on sauces, there are other techniques you can try out like this simple dry rub recipe. This recipe is perfect for 10lb of baby back ribs. For this recipe, you’ll need to get the following ingredients together.


  • One cup of brown sugar
  • One tbsp of kosher salt
  • One tbsp of dry mustard
  • Half a tsp of black pepper
  • Two tbsp of garlic powder
  • Two tsp of cayenne pepper
  • One tbsp of paprika


  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Coat your ribs thoroughly with the dry rub using your hands.
  • Refrigerate for 12 hours and they’re ready for cooking. Some people prefer wrapping the ribs in foil first before refrigeration. Just know that there’s evidence that outlines the side-effects of using tin foil for cooking.



Seafood Sauce

Who knew you could use seafood and ribs in the same sentence! Prepare to be blown away by this unique seafood sauce that’ll make your ribs taste better than ever. This rich sauce gives off a blend of salty and sweet flavors for your ribs.

To whip up this delicious sauce you’ll need the following ingredients.


  • Black beans
  • Vinegar
  • Chilli
  • Five-spice powder


Simply combine all the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and it’s ready for use. This sauce can either be used as a marinade or glaze. It really depends on how you rich you want your ribs flavor to be. But in my experience, it works better as a finishing glaze when your ribs are on the smoker.

Teriyaki Sauce


Alternative to BBQ Sauce for Ribs
Making traditional homemade beef jerky or biltong with thin strips of lean beef meat on a cutting board alongside teriyaki sauce and dried oregano, overhead view


Now we’re going to combine your ribs with a touch of this Asian sauce. Teriyaki sauce is perfect for people who love gluten-free sauces. To be honest, I usually use this sauce with fish. But I’ve recently tried it on my ribs and the results were surprisingly mind-blowing. Again, this is a simple ingredient sauce. Gather the following ingredients together for this recipe.


  • Soy sauce
  • Mirin
  • Sugar


To make this delicious sauce, you mix the ingredients together over medium heat. This process will leave you with a rich, thick, and sweet sauce. You can decide to add a few extra herbs like a bit of garlic and ginger powder to give the sauce that extra kick.

Sugar-Free Sauce

Even if you’re watching your weight, you can still enjoy ribs on your cheat day with this sugar-free sauce. This sauce is specifically designed for people who’re on a special diet like the infamous keto diet. It’ll take you a total time of 15 minutes to prepare. As you’re probably aware, the traditional recipe for barbeque sauce has a considerably higher sugar content,

For this low carb keto sauce for your ribs, you’ll need the get the following ingredients ready for your bbq ribs.


  • 80mls of vinegar (preferably white wine)
  • One tablespoon virgin oil
  • Three teaspoons paprika
  • Two and a half teaspoons oregano
  • Two teaspoons garlic powder
  • Four teaspoons black pepper
  • One teaspoon chipotle powder
  • Half a teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Two tablespoons stevia
  • Half a teaspoon salt
  • One teaspoon arrowroot
  • A cup of hot water


  • Start off by warming up your saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the dry ingredients including vinegar and olive oil and stevia to taste.
  • Be sure to stir continuously to avoid the formation of lumps.
  • Leave the mixture to simmer for at least ten minutes.
  • When the mixture has reached your desired consistency, go ahead and remove it from the heat. If you feel it’s too thick, feel free to adds a little bit of water.
  • Pour into a container and leave the mixture before covering it with a lid and storing it away.
  • Cover with an airtight lid.
  • Place in your refrigerator.

You can store this sugar-free sauce for up to five days. Even though this recipe has no sugar content, this doesn’t take away from the delicious taste so don’t be afraid to give it a try.

Plum Sauce


Alternative to BBQ Sauce for Ribs
Sweet and sour cherry plum sauce, selective focus


How about we turn your ribs into a Chinese delicacy by whipping up this Plum sauce mostly used in Chinese cooking. It’s a thick and heavy sauce that offers a wide range of unique flavors. Because of the heaviness of the flavors, it might not go down well with everyone. But if you have a sophisticated palate that’s always open to trying new experiences, give it a go.

To get this sauce going, you’ll need the following items.


  • Plums
  • Garlic
  • Vinegar
  • Ginger
  • Chinese five-spice


Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and the sauce is ready for use. Just know that the Chinese usually use it as a dipping sauce so a little goes a long way.

Ready to Make Your Sauce?

As you can see, there are multiple sauces you can make for your ribs other than bbq. You simply have to decide which ingredients you’re willing to try out. You can either make a sauce like any of the examples listed here or dry rub your ribs. Either will taste great.

Some recipes are as simple as using one ingredient like a honey glaze. Also, you could glaze your ribs with a good pepper jelly like the pineapple-habanero pepper jelly. If you don’t have too many ingredients in your pantry, simply spice rub with ingredients like sugar, salt, garlic, onion & herbs, and you’re done.

You have the recipes, it’s time to dazzle your family or guests with any one of these great delicious recipes. Which one are you picking?

Are You Looking for an Alternative to BBQ Sauce for Ribs? Here are 5 Sauces you Need to Try