Gluten-Free BBQ Sauces

6 Brands With Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauces (And One to Avoid)

Barbecue sauce

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Barbecue sauce may not seem like a food product that would inherently include gluten, and many of the sauces on the market are indeed considered gluten-free. However, not all store-bought barbecue sauces are safe when you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. These are the best options for gluten-free BBQ sauce.

Quick Gluten-Free Picks

It helps to have a handy list of barbecue sauces that should be safely gluten-free. Keep these in mind when shopping or dining.

6 Gluten-Free Barbecue Sauces

  • Bone Suckin' Sauce
  • Jack Daniels BBQ Sauces (some flavors)
  • Organicville
  • Stubbs Legendary Bar-B-Q
  • Sweet Baby Ray's Gourmet Sauces
  • Lip Lickin' BBQ Sauce

Gluten Ingredients in BBQ Sauce

In many brands, you might find gluten ingredients such as barley-based beer, soy sauce, or even bourbon, to which some people may experience a reaction. These are more common in more brands of store-bought barbecue sauce than you might realize.

Lots of BBQ sauces contain natural smoke flavoring, and barley malt flour can be used to produce this ingredient. To avoid potential problems with smoke flavoring, stick with smokey barbecue sauces that have been explicitly verified as gluten-free by the manufacturer.

In addition, many sauces contain vinegar derived from gluten grains. This isn't always a problem, since distilled vinegar is considered safe for the gluten-free diet. However, some in the gluten-free community may experience a reaction to a gluten grain-based vinegar.

Gluten-Free BBQ Sauces

Whether you want to cook up some great ribs or barbecue some chicken on the grill, there are plenty of good choices for an accompanying sauce.

Bone Suckin' Sauce

This product is advertised as "a Western North Carolina tomato-based sauce." You can buy it in its original blend, a hot version, a thick version, and a hot/thick version. According to the company's website, all have been tested and contain less than 5 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.

Note that the company also makes Bone Suckin' Yaki, a teriyaki-style sauce that does contain wheat in the form of soy sauce but (confusingly) also tests below 5 ppm for gluten. As indicated on its website, all Bone Suckin' products are all-natural with no preservatives and non-GMO with no high-fructose corn syrup, no canola oil, and no added MSG.

Lip Lickin' BBQ Sauce

Distributed by Thomas Gourmet Foods, Lip Lickin' BBQ Sauce comes in two tomato- and vinegar-based sauces: Bold & Spicy and Sweet & Smoky. These all-natural barbecue sauces contain no fat or cholesterol and are labeled "gluten-free" by the company, which means they are less than 20 ppm.

Organicville

Organicville products carry certification from the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), which requires testing to ensure products fall below 10 ppm of gluten.

These products also are certified organic (as you might have guessed from the name). Organicville makes two different barbecue sauces: Original BBQ and Tangy BBQ. The company uses a gluten-free vinegar derived from cane.

Jack Daniels BBQ Sauces

Jack Daniels makes some gluten-free flavors. As the name suggests, these barbecue sauces get their distinct flavor from a small amount (1% of the recipe) of Jack Daniels whiskey.

Kraft Heinz makes Jack Daniels barbecue sauce, and though there are numerous flavors, only four of them—Full Flavor Smokey, Smooth Original, Extra Hot Habanero, and Hot Pepper Steak Sauce—are deemed as safe for people with celiac disease or non-celiac sensitivity, according to the company's website.

Sweet Baby Ray's Gourmet Sauces

All flavors of Sweet Baby Ray's barbecue sauce are labeled gluten-free below 20 ppm. According to the company's website:

"Only products that meet the FDA standard for gluten-free will be labeled as such. At this time, we are in the process of updating our labels to reflect this standard. Please refer to the ingredient statement on package labels or contact us for clarification. We have a program in place to support the use of the “Gluten-Free” statement. Our products are manufactured in facilities with stringent programs to ensure label compliance." 

Sweet Baby Ray's makes nine different flavors, all of which are labeled gluten-free: Original, Honey, Hickory & Brown Sugar, Sweet 'n Spicy, Honey Chipotle, Sweet Vidalia Onion, Hawaiian, Raspberry Chipotle, and Sweet Golden Mustard.

Stubbs Legendary Bar-B-Q Sauces

Stubbs offers barbecue sauce in 10 flavors: Original, Simply Sweet Reduced Sugar, Sticky Sweet, Spicy, Sweet Heat, Smokey Mesquite, Smokey Brown Sugar, Sweet Honey & Spice, Hickory Bourbon, and Dr Pepper.

The company, which makes a variety of marinades and rubs in addition to its barbecue sauces, will indicate its gluten-free products with a certified gluten-free label from the GFCO (testing to below 10 ppm).

A company spokesperson reports that the vinegar used is derived from corn. If you experience a gluten reaction to bourbon and to other distilled gluten grain-based alcohols, then you may want to avoid the Hickory Bourbon flavor since it includes a small amount of real bourbon in the ingredients.

BBQ Sauces With No Gluten Ingredients

The following BBQ sauces do not contain ingredients with gluten but have not been certified gluten-free.

Bull's-Eye BBQ Sauce

Bull's-Eye, which makes eight different barbecue sauces, is a Kraft Heinz brand. Kraft Heinz will disclose any gluten-containing ingredients on its food labels, but products that aren't explicitly labeled "gluten-free" may be subject to gluten cross-contamination in processing. Therefore they may not be safe for those who are sensitive to trace amounts of gluten.

Hunt's BBQ Sauce

Hunt's, a ConAgra Foods company, manufactures barbecue sauce flavors in Hickory Cracked Black Pepper, Mesquite Molasses, and Cherrywood Chipotle, none of which appear to have gluten ingredients. 

However, according to ConAgra's website: "Foods that have been validated as gluten-free will contain a 'gluten-free' statement on the label. Other products may not contain gluten but have not yet been verified as gluten-free; these products will not contain a 'gluten-free' statement."

Therefore, since Hunt's BBQ Sauce is not labeled gluten-free by ConAgra, it's probably safer to avoid this product if you are particularly sensitive since you could be subjected to gluten cross-contamination.

KC Masterpiece

KC Masterpiece, which makes barbecue sauces, marinades, and seasonings, states on its website that many of its barbecue sauces do not contain allergens like wheat, barley, or rye in the ingredients, and that any gluten ingredients will be clearly disclosed on the package label.

KC Masterpiece will label products "gluten-free" if they pass scheduled testing once the company conducts additional allergy protocols. The company also indicates that you should always check the label of the product you're considering to buy to make sure it's safe, particularly since product formulations can change.

Kraft Barbecue Sauce

This is probably the most ubiquitous brand of barbecue sauce on grocery store shelves. Kraft makes its sauce in 10 flavors ranging from Original to Sweet Honey and Slow Simmered Thick & Spicy.

Kraft does not label many products "gluten-free" but will specifically call out any wheat, barley, or rye ingredients on its labels. However, a product that doesn't contain gluten ingredients isn't necessarily gluten-free since gluten can creep in through cross-contamination in processing.

Trader Joe's Organic Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce

Trader Joe's doesn't list its Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce on its current gluten-free list, so you probably want to avoid this one even though it doesn't appear to have gluten ingredients.

Avoid: Budweiser Barbecue Sauce

Budweiser sauces come in containers that look just like beer bottles, which may be enough by itself to ward you off. If that's not enough, though, take a look at the ingredients: these sauces contain barley-based Budweiser beer. Be sure to steer clear.

A Word From Verywell

As you can see, you can't just grab a bottle of any barbecue sauce and assume it's gluten-free. However, gluten-free barbecue sauce from brands such as Sweet Baby Ray's and Bone Suckin' Sauce are available in most grocery stores.

Of course, you always have the option of mixing up your own gluten-free barbecue sauce (which gives you total control over the ingredients). But if you want the ease of a store-bought sauce, you should be able to find one pretty easily.

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13 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. University of Chicago Medicine Celiac Disease Center. Frequently asked questions: Is vinegar safe for those with celiac disease?.

  4. Bone Suckin' Sauce. Gluten Free Page.

  5. Thomas Gourmet Foods. Lip Lickin Bold & Spicy 19 oz.

  6. Organicville Sky Valley Foods. Marinades.

  7. Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauces. Products.

  8. Stubb's Legendary B-B-Q. Contact Us - FAQs.

  9. KraftHeinz Ingredients. Condiments & Sauces.

  10. Hunt's. Ketchup and BBQ Sauce.

  11. KC Masterpiece. Frequently Asked Questions.

  12. Kraft Foods. Frequently Asked Questions.

  13. Trader Joe's. Dietary Lists: Gluten Free.

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