Friends frequently ask me what they can substitute for barbecue sauce on their ribs. Because, admittedly, barbecue sauce and ribs are inextricably linked!

However, barbecue sauce is not for everyone.

Numerous options are available, ranging from simple sauces to more sophisticated but delectable combinations. Your imagination is the only thing that can keep you from reaching your full potential!

Pepper, brown sugar and garlic powder are all good choices.

You can use any of these components to make an alternate sauce for your ribs. What if you just don’t generally like sauce? You can choose not to baste them at all. Simply dry rub a couple of spices onto your ribs and enjoy.

Today I’m going to show you a couple of different rib sauces to try. They’re as follows:

  1. Dry rub
  2. Seafood sauce
  3. Sugar-free sauce
  4. Teriyaki sauce
  5. Plum sauce
  6. Chimichurri
  7. Satay sauce

They’ll be easy to make and won’t take much time. If you’re a barbecue sauce fanatic, I’ll also provide a recipe for homemade barbecue sauce. You know you can make your barbecue sauce rather than purchasing one already prepared, right?

Simply select the ribs for which the sauce will be prepared. Is it for baby back ribs or back ribs in general? Is it for ribs made of beef or pork? Both alternatives go well with the sauces listed below. Just make sure that your meat is marinated safely.

Recipes for BBQ Sauce

three filled condiment shakers on brown wooden surface

While Worcestershire sauce is the key ingredient in the delectable barbecue sauce, there is no one-size-fits-all way to make it because the result, thicker or thinner, depends entirely on your preferences. In addition, each recipe’s ingredients differ somewhat. To get you started, I’ll only give you two options. Both of these recipes are suitable for baby back ribs.

Traditional BBQ sauce

I’ll start with this popular original barbeque sauce recipe if you prefer to keep things simple. It’s tasty, quick to prepare, and takes little time. This barbeque sauce takes about 10 minutes to make from start to finish.

What you need

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup (or any ketchup you like)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 tbsp dry mustard flour 
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp table salt
  • Water


The process is rather basic if you have all the supplies. Simply combine all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth, and you’re finished! If you’re managing your sugar intake and don’t like sweet sauces, reduce the sugar portion. Also, if you want your back ribs to be drenched in sauce, add more Worcestershire sauce.

BBQ sauce from scratch 

You’ll also need a few things for this second dish, which I’m sure you have on hand. They’ll be easy to make and won’t take long. Gather the following items to make this dish.


  • 2 cups ketchup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Few tbsp honeys
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic, salt, and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Hot sauce


You don’t integrate the ingredients in this approach; instead, you stir them together in a pan over medium heat until the sauce begins to bubble. Then, reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes before using over the ribs!

Dry rub

In a metal dish, a dry rub is applied to the ribs. It is what it is.  If sauces aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other options, such as this simple dry rub recipe. This recipe yields 10 pounds of baby back ribs. You’ll need the following ingredients to complete this recipe.

What you need

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp of black pepper
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1tbsp paprika


  1. In a mixing dish, combine all of the ingredients. 
  2. Using your hands, thoroughly coat your ribs in the dry rub.
  3. After 12 hours in the refrigerator, they’re ready to cook. Some folks prefer to wrap the ribs in foil before chilling them. Just be aware that information details the negative consequences of cooking with tin foil.

Seafood sauce

Who thought seafood and ribs could be used in the same sentence? Prepare to be blown away by this one-of-a-kind seafood sauce that will elevate your ribs to new heights. This rich sauce has a combination of salty and sweet aromas for your ribs.

What you need

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


Simply combine all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing basin and set aside. This sauce can be used as a glaze or a marinade. It all depends on how rich your ribs are in flavor. However, it works better as a finishing glaze while your ribs are on the smoker, in my experience.

Teriyaki sauce

We’ll mix your ribs with a little bit of this Asian sauce now. Teriyaki sauce is ideal for everyone who enjoys gluten-free dishes. To be honest, I generally eat fish with this sauce. However, I recently tested it on my ribs, and the results were pleasantly surprising. Again, this is a sauce with only a few ingredients. For this dish, you’ll need the following items.

What you need

  • Soy sauce 
  • Sugar
  • Mirin


To prepare this delectable sauce, combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Due to this method, you’ll end up with a rich, thick, and sweet sauce. You can add a few extra herbs, such as garlic and ginger powder, to give the sauce extra heat.

Sugar-free sauce

With this sugar-free sauce, you can enjoy ribs even if you’re managing your weight on your cheat day. This sauce was created with those on particular diets in mind, such as the infamous keto diet. It will take you 15 minutes to prepare everything. As you may know, regular barbeque sauce has a significantly greater sugar level. To make this low-carb keto sauce for your ribs, prepare the following items for your barbecue ribs.

What you need

  • 80 ml vinegar or white wine
  • 1 tsp virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 2 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp stevia
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp arrowroot
  • 1 cup hot water


  1. Begin by preheating your saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Toss in the dry ingredients, including the vinegar and olive oil, and a pinch of stevia to taste.
  3. To avoid the production of lumps, make sure to stir constantly.
  4. Allow at least ten minutes for the mixture to simmer.
  5. Remove the mixture from the heat after it has achieved your preferred consistency. If you think it’s too thick, thin it out with water.
  6. Pour the mixture into a jar and set it aside before covering it with a lid and storing it.
  7. Cover with a tight-fitting lid.
  8. Place the container in the refrigerator.

This sugar-free sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to five days. Even though this dish has no sugar, the flavor is still great, so don’t be scared to try it.

Plum sauce

Plum sauce

Let’s turn your ribs into a Chinese delicacy by making this Plum sauce, commonly used in Chinese cuisine. It’s a thick, rich sauce with a wide spectrum of distinct flavors. It may not be suitable for everyone due to the intensity of the flavors. But if you have a refined palate and are constantly willing to try new things, go for it.

What you need

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


In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, and the sauce is ready to use. Just remember that it’s typically used as a dipping sauce by the Chinese, so a little goes a long way.



Argentina knows what they’re doing when it comes to beef. Chimichurri is a herb sauce with a distinct flavor and a fiery edge. The flavors of parsley, cilantro, garlic, red pepper flakes, and red wine vinegar come together well. It’s traditionally served with Argentinian steak, but I’ve discovered it’s also delicious with BBQ pig ribs.

It’s best served with meat, so don’t use it to marinate or glaze pork. Try using it as a dipping sauce instead. Because chimichurri is all about the herbs, I recommend creating it fresh and from scratch for the finest results. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to make and only requires a few simple ingredients.

What you need

  • 1 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
  • 1/8 cup fresh oregano
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 chicken thighs with bone and skin
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine shallot, chile, garlic, vinegar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Allow for a 10-minute rest. Combine the cilantro, parsley, and oregano in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the oil using a fork. 12 cup chimichurri in a small dish, season with salt, and set aside as a sauce
  • Place the beef in a glass, stainless-steel, or ceramic dish if using. Toss with the rest of the chimichurri. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to overnight.
  • Remove the meat from the marinade, pat it dry, and grill it.
  • Spoon reserved chimichurri on top of the grilled meat.

Satay sauce 

Peanut may not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about pork, but trust me on this one. Satay, often known as “peanut sauce,” is produced by crushing roasted peanuts and mixing them with ginger, lemongrass, and garlic. It’s typically served with chicken skewers or fried tofu, but I also like to smear it on my ribs.

But here’s an in-depth recipe if you want to go beyond

What you need

  • 1 1/2 cup toasted dry peanuts (unsalted)
  • 1 cup of water 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (Kecap Manis)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (palm sugar preferred)
  • a quarter teaspoon of salt
  • a quarter cup of oil
  • 1 heaping tamarind pulp (soaked in 1/4 cup water for 15 minutes, then squeezed for juice and discarded pulp)

Paste of Spices:

  • 6-8 dried red peppers (seeded and soaked in warm water)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • three shallots
  • 2 lemon grass leaves (white parts only)
  • 1-inch fresh ginger (galangal preferred)
  • 1 tbsp. coriander powder (optional)


  • Set aside the coarsely crushed peanuts made using a mortar, pestle, or a tiny food processor.
  • Blend the spice paste ingredients until finely chopped.
  • Heat the oil and cook the spice paste until fragrant and spicy.
  • Stir in the peanuts, tamarind juice, water, sugar, and sweet soy sauce.
  • Simmer on low heat for about 3 minutes, constantly stirring, until the peanut sauce becomes smooth.

The satay sauce recipe is ready to serve with the satay at room temperature.

Other considerations

Root beer is an excellent complement to a homemade barbecue sauce recipe or may be used to baste your meat instead of a sauce. It can give you the sweetness you expect from a barbecue sauce and a nuanced flavor that tastes like sassafras, the original root beer flavoring. Reduce the sauce in a pot by around 50-60% before applying it to your meat to achieve a texture closer to that of conventional barbecue sauce.

In Alabama, white sauce is a common ingredient in barbecue. It’s made with many of the same ingredients as classic barbecue sauce, but instead of a tomato base, it’s made with mayonnaise.

Rib types to consider

person holding fork and steak knife slicing meat

Baby back ribs

Baby back ribs These ribs are usually smaller and have more meat than Spare Ribs. These rib racks are also easier to handle because of their reduced size, and they fit well in the tin foil wrapping.

Spare Ribs

Spare Ribs They have more fat and a larger rib than baby backs. If you can’t find baby back ribs, spare ribs will suffice.

Short ribs

Short ribs are beef ribs with both a rib component and a chuck meat cut. Short ribs are chopped in various ways by butchers, depending on how the ribs are prepared or served. Therefore, short ribs are not recommended for the recipes mentioned. 

Costco usually offers a good range of meats, so we buy these ribs there. We usually get a 10-pound bundle with three long racks of baby backs. This should easily serve 12+ people, depending on what else you’re providing.


If you’re making this sauce ahead of time for meal prep, let it cool somewhat before pouring it into a quart-size mason jar. Then, refrigerate it with a tight-fitting cover for quick and easy meals throughout the week!

What else can I use the BBQ sauce with?

Here are a few ideas if you made too much sauce and didn’t know what to do with it:

  • Use it as a marinade for poultry or meat overnight. Alternatively, you can freeze sauce-coated meats and mark them with the flavor.
  • Make a meatloaf sauce with it.
  • Mix it with mayonnaise as a salad dressing or a dip for crudites; cheese sticks wrapped in hot dogs or chips.
  • In your crockpot chili, add 1/2 cup of sauce.
  • It can be used as a sandwich sauce.
  • Thick pineapple slices marinated in the sauce are grilled.

Are you prepared to make your sauce?

As you can see, ribs can be served with various sauces in addition to barbecue. All you have to do now is determine which ingredients you’re willing to try. You may either make a sauce from scratch or dry rub your ribs. Either way, it’ll be delicious.

Some recipes, such as a honey glaze, require only one ingredient. For example, to glaze your ribs, you may also use an excellent pepper jelly, such as pineapple-habanero jelly. If you don’t have a lot of ingredients on hand, just make a spice rub with sugar, salt, garlic, onion, and herbs. Now that you have the recipes, it’s time to wow your family or friends with any of these delectable dishes. Happy cooking!