Answer: Most barbeque sauces are vegan. However, certain brands contain non-vegan ingredients, so read the ingredient list carefully before grabbing one.
The first thing that comes to mind when you hear “barbeque” is meat. So, you might be wondering, is barbeque sauce vegan as well?
In general, the answer is that barbeque sauce is vegan. The majority of commercially available barbeque sauces are good for vegans. Certain barbeque sauces, however, contain several non-vegan ingredients.
Continue reading to learn about all ingredients to look out for before grabbing that savory barbeque sauce from the shelf. Let’s get started!
What Non-Vegan Ingredients Should I Look Out For In Barbeque Sauce?
Barbeque sauce is a staple in the food business. Whether you want to add savory flavors to your typical steak night, or you just want to enjoy that rice with flavorful sauce— barbeque sauce is in demand.
Thankfully, most commercial brands that offer barbeque sauce are made in a vegan-friendly way. Most popular brands, like Heinz, Bull’s Eye, and Kraft’s have their own versions of vegan friendly.
However, these brands and the likes sometimes offer barbeque sauce flavors that are not suited for that Friday steak night. This is because they contain ingredients that are controversial to the vegan community.
There are 4 ingredients that you have to be wary of before using a barbeque sauce. These are honey, anchovies, processed sugar, and natural flavorings. We will be discussing each ingredient and why they make barbeque sauce out of your vegan shopping cart.
Honey is one of the most contentious ingredients among vegans. This is because there are opposing viewpoints on how to consume it.
Many vegans have argued that honey should be prohibited for vegans. The most obvious reason is that it is an animal product. Even though they are not consuming bees, they believe that honey results from the bees’ hard work and that consuming it would be stealing from them.
More importantly, sources claim that many bees are killed while collecting honey for commercial use. This goes directly against the advocacy of large and small corporations and businesses to end animal cruelty.
On the other hand, many vegans argue that honey is safe to consume. Their reasoning revolves around the claim that eating honey will not harm the bees.
So, is it really safe to consume honey? That is a question you must answer for yourself. It is a personal choice whether or not to consume it. Each vegan has their own tolerance for what they will and will not accept. In the end, your preference is what matters.
Just remember that veganism is all about making a change for the better. Deciding to be one is already a big push for the group’s advocacy.
In some commercially flavored barbeque sauce, you sometimes see an ingredient called anchovies. Anchovies are small fish that are processed and added to foods. So, when you see one, you must avoid buying or consuming it.
If you’re an ostrovegan, meaning you consume oysters, anchovies are still prohibited for consumption.
Vegans strongly condemn the killing of these small fish across huge corporations. Patronizing products with anchovies as ingredients will likely support the violence that these innocent animals have to go through.
Later, we will discuss which commercially available barbeque sauce contains anchovies for your reference.
Sugar is also one of the most contentious ingredients in the vegan community. Although it does not come from an animal, vegans are concerned about using bone chars in sugar filtering.
In fact, determining whether the sugar in the ingredient list was refined with bone char is extremely difficult. To begin with, manufacturers do not include this information on their packaging.
Some vegans are dismissive of the issue. However, some have criteria for determining whether the sugar used has been filtered by bone char.
First and foremost, if it’s organic, the sugar is almost certainly vegan. Vegans also know that sugar derived from coconuts or beets is not refined using bone char. So, if your barbeque sauce falls under these two criteria, you can be confident that they are vegan.
If the sugar is not organic, confectioner’s, or brown, it is more likely to have been filtered by a bone char. However, you can only confirm this by contacting the brand’s manufacturer directly.
Being vegan, in general, does not imply being flawless with whatever you consume. You shouldn’t stress yourself too much about things that are totally out of your hands. What matters is that you are contributing to the movement’s positive impact.
Natural Flavorings (+ Smoke Flavors)
The only issue with natural flavorings is that vegans can’t tell whether they come from plants or animals. As a result, some vegans refrain from eating them. But, once again, this is a matter of personal preference.
Smoke flavors are typically manufactured in a vegan manner. They simply go through the condensation process caused by wood burning. So, you shouldn’t worry when you see smoke flavorings in your barbeque sauce.
Most Popular Barbeque Sauce Brands And Whether They Are Vegan
Now that you’ve understood the ingredients you may have to be careful with, let’s discuss some famous barbeque sauce brands and whether they are suited for your vegan diet.
Remember that there are lots of vegan barbeque sauces available in the market or even online. Hence, you should not limit yourself to the enumerated barbeque sauce brands.
Heinz Barbeque Sauce
Fortunately, most Heinz Barbeque Sauce flavors are suitable for vegans. However, there are some flavors that you must avoid because they contain anchovies, which are Kansas City Style Sweet & Smoky, Memphis Style Sweet & Spicy, and Texas Style Bold & Spicy BBQ sauces.
Bull’s Eye Barbeque Sauce
Most of Bull’s Eye Barbeque Sauce flavors are also vegan. In fact, only two flavors of this brand contain non-vegan ingredients. These are, namely, Smokey Bacon and Tennessee Style Sweet Whiskey Glaze.
Kraft’s Barbeque Sauce
Just like the two mentioned above, Kraft’s Barbeque Sauce also has flavors that you want to avoid. Some of its flavors are made with honey. These flavors include Sweet Honey, Spicy Honey, Mesquite Smoke, and Honey Barbeque.
How To Choose The Perfect Barbeque Sauce For You?
Now that you know a thing or two about vegan barbeque sauces, it can be a little frustrating to actually choose what’s the right one for you. And chances are, it would take you a very long time to decide which you will put in your cart.
Here are some helpful tips to avoid taking too much time thinking about which flavor or brand you should grab:
- Read the labels carefully. Labels can be a good friend for a vegan, especially when you’re confused. Since this will include all the necessary information, read it carefully. You can check some labels online ahead.
- Set your boundaries. As mentioned above, barbeque sauces contain debatable ingredients for most vegans. Hence, the perfect way to not be frustrated about this is to set your tolerance about the foods you consume.
- Choose your flavor. Knowing which flavor you want for your barbeque sauce beforehand will save you a lot of time. This will already eliminate a bunch of other flavor choices in your options.
These are just simple tips on how you can save time and effort in shopping. There are certainly more tips around, but these three would already keep you going.
Can I Make My Own Vegan Barbeque Sauce At Home?
The answer is definitely yes. You can always have a vegan version of everything, especially if you control what’s in your kitchen.
For starters, you can easily combine some ketchup, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, coconut sugar, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and some spices! You may add other vegan ingredients that you think will add flavor to your meal.
Just be careful with what you’re going to put into your own vegan barbeque sauce. Some home ingredients can also be harmful to vegans, just like Worcestershire sauce. Check out “Is Kroger Worcestershire Sauce Vegan?” for more guidance.
Let us know how your own version of a vegan barbeque sauce goes in the comments below!
Finding a vegan barbeque sauce should be simple because the majority of commercially available ones are vegan-friendly. Furthermore, you can make one at home using your favorite vegan ingredients.
However, there are some ingredients you should avoid. Anchovies, honey, sugar, and natural flavorings are among them. It will be a matter of personal preference when dealing with these ingredients (except anchovies which are definitely off limits).
So, the next time you want to have a vegan barbeque meal, you already know what barbeque sauce to use!
Did this article make you crave some delicious vegan barbeque dishes, check out What Are The Vegan Options At Smokey Bones? (Updated Guide).