Is BBQ Sauce Vegan? (6 Ingredients + 5 Brands To Avoid)

Is BBQ Sauce Vegan? (6 Ingredients + 5 Brands To Avoid)

December 10, 2020 / Comments

There’s nothing like the disappointment of realizing your favorite sauce or condiment isn’t vegan-friendly. How are you supposed to cook delicious food? Honey, fish sauce, nutella, ranch dressing—ouch. That hurts.

But what about BBQ sauce? Is BBQ sauce vegan?

We have good news, and we have bad news… 

If you’re itching for a badass barbecue dish, there are some delicious vegan-friendly BBQ sauces for you that contain all the rich flavor you love. But the bad news… there are quite a few you need to avoid.

We’ll show you how to easily tell them apart.

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

  • Why many store-bought BBQ sauces are not vegan (and how to tell instantly)
  • 5 popular brands you want to avoid if you eat vegan 
  • Why many homemade vegan BBQ sauce recipes are NOT vegan-friendly

By the end, you’ll know exactly how to identify vegan BBQ sauce so you can enjoy your favorite vegan-BBQ meals confidently.

Firstly, Is BBQ Sauce Vegan?

Here’s the good news.

BBQ sauce is generally vegan. If you pick up three bottles at the supermarket, chances are at least one—maybe two—will be vegan-friendly.

But there are quite a few sauces that contain ingredients you don’t want.

  • Honey — Honey is an animal by-product from bees, so any BBQ sauce with honey is immediately out of the running. It’s a bummer too, as many lower-sugar sauces use honey to add sweetness.
  • Sardines or Anchovies  Many BBQ sauces contain these savory fish as a key flavor component, which makes these sauces a no-go.
  • Worcestershire — This savory-umami sauce is usually flavored with anchovies or fish sauce, which, of course, disqualifies any sauce that contains worcestershire. 
  • Beef/Chicken Stock — This isn’t too common these days, but some sauces use stock as the base. Obviously, you don’t want that. 
  • Dairy Products — Milk or egg yolks sometimes find their way into BBQ sauces. Sauces with these ingredients tend to be more “out there” flavors, so if something looks more exotic or unusual, check for dairy.

What About “Natural Flavors”? Are They Vegan?

Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to tell whether “natural flavors” come from plants or animals—it could be either one. If you call the company and try to figure out the source, they probably won’t tell you.

The vegans in our community tend to not take “natural flavors” too seriously because analyzing whether they’re from plants or animals is either a massive burden or not possible to begin with.

5 Popular BBQ Sauces That Aren’t Vegan-Friendly

Let’s look at some of the most popular BBQ sauces out there that are not vegan friendly so you always know to avoid these at the store.

Is Heinz BBQ Sauce Vegan?

Heinz has one of the most affordable sauces out there (reminder: you get what you pay for). Due to anchovies, you definitely want to avoid these sauces:

  • Heinz Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce
  • Heinz Memphis Style BBQ Sauce
  • Heinz Texas Style BBQ Sauce

Is Bull’s-Eye BBQ Sauce Vegan?

Bull’s-Eye uses both honey and pork in a couple of their BBQ sauces, so you’ll want to pass by these:

  • Smokey Bacon BBQ Sauce
  • Tennessee Style Sweet Whiskey Glaze

Is Kraft BBQ Sauce Vegan?

Quite a few of Kraft’s sauces contain honey (bummer). Don’t buy these:

  • Sweet Honey Barbecue Sauce & Dip
  • Spicy Honey Barbecue Sauce & Dip
  • Mesquite Smoke Barbecue Sauce & Dip
  • Honey Barbecue Sauce

Is Stubb’s BBQ Sauce Vegan?

Stubb’s is a step above Heinz or Kraft, but they also have honey in some of their lineup.

  • Smokey Mesquite Bar-B-Q Sauce
  • Sweet Honey & Spice Bar-B-Q Sauce
  • Smokey Mesquite & Honey Pecan

Is Sweet Baby Ray’s Vegan?

Sweet Baby Ray’s has a huge product line, but quite a few of their BBQ sauces contain honey, chicken broth, eggs, or milk. Don’t get one of these:

  • Honey Barbecue Sauce
  • Maple Barbecue Sauce
  • Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
  • Honey Hot Sauce & Marinade
  • Honey Barbecue Wing Sauce
  • Honey Teriyaki Marinade
  • Sweet Red Chili Wing Sauce
  • Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
  • Creamy Buffalo Wing Dipping Sauce
  • Ray’s Secret Sauce

Be Careful About Homemade Vegan BBQ Sauce Recipes

Our vegan friends have warned us about many homemade vegan recipes. Many of them contain flavoring components that are not vegan-friendly, but that are lesser-known (so people don’t catch it as easily).

In particular, worcestershire sauce is a common ingredient in vegan BBQ sauce recipes, even though it’s not vegan at all (anchovies!). Make sure to vet the recipes you see very carefully if you try the homemade route.

Vegan BBQ Sauce Is About More Than The Ingredients

We know that veganism is more than simply avoiding animal products.

It’s about ethical living, pursuing sustainability in products you buy. It’s about caring for our planet, for creatures, and humans so we can all prosper together. 

Mad respect. We raise a cold one to that.

That’s why we made our Redneck Lipstick vegan-friendly, so you’re empowered to enjoy the food in love in a way that helps the world be a better place.

Our family-recipe sauce is made in small-batches in Arkansas, drawing on BBQ cultures from around the country to create a well-rounded flavor that’s unlike any other.

Smokey sweet, spicy smooth.

It goes perfectly with BBQ cauliflower, tofu, and all your favorite vegan recipes—use it anytime you need to add some carefree good fun and flavor.

Because even vegans need badass BBQ.

Get your Redneck Lipstick BBQ sauce here.

Checkout Our Delicious BBQ Sauces

Made from wholesome ingredients right here in the USA. BBQ sauce you can be proud to put on your table.

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Mr. Redneck

We're demystifying BBQ by exposing industry secrets, creating easy recipes, and blowing the lid off delicious BBQ at home. Give your next meal a kiss of Redneck Lipstick.

Checkout Our Delicious BBQ Sauces

Made from wholesome ingredients right here in the USA. BBQ sauce you can be proud to put on your table.

Shop Now

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