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Healthy Recipes for No-Nonsense BBQ Sauce, Marinade, and Rubs

Here are five delicious and healthy BBQ recipes.

Regular barbecue sauce, marinades, and rubs are full of sugar and high in calories. Just one tablespoon can yield 100 or more calories, depending on the ingredients. But who says BBQ sauce must be unhealthy. If made the right way, sauces and rubs do not only taste delicious but also boast a healthy dose of antioxidants, while maintaining minimal fat and calories.

Here are five delicious and healthy BBQ recipes.

Blueberry and Bourbon BBQ


  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 c bourbon
  • 2 c fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 c ketchup or tomato paste
  • 1/3 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dark molasses
  • a sprinkling of allspice 
  • a dash of cinnamon (optional)

Add the oil to a saucepan and heat. Add onion and garlic and stir until tender. Add the bourbon and increase heat to high. Bring mixture to a boil. The liquid will evaporate after about five minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until the mixture thickens. Stir occasionally. Simmering time is about twenty minutes.

Red Wine and Orange Marinade


  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • orange zest (2 strips)
  • fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tbsp red currant jelly
  • dash of kosher salt, to taste
  • 1-2 tsp ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and stir. Pour the mixture into a baking dish and add meat. Fish and chicken breasts may marinate for as little as thirty minutes. Duck, pork, and beef may marinate over night.

Coffee Roasted Rub


  • 1/4 c ground coffee (choice of flavor and boldness)
  • 1/8 c ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt

In a small glass bowl, mix all three ingredients. Remove approximately two tablespoons of the run and pat the meat with the mixture. Rub should be applied just before grilling. Coffee rub is tasty on tofu, salmon, chicken, pork, and beef.

Go-Go Garlic Rub


  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced and chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Mix together the garlic, oil, mustard, and all dry ingredients. Use hands to evenly rub and spread the garlic mixture on individually portioned pieces of meat or tofu. The rub should be applied immediately prior to grilling.

Smoked Paprika Rub


  • 6 tbsp smoked paprika (made from grinding smoke-dried red peppers)
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp cilantro
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon peel
  • 1 tsp ground pepper

Combine all ingredients into a small glass bowl and using your hands, apply about 2 tbsp of the mixture to the protein source. Use just before grilling to allow the flavors to pop.