Barbecuing doesn’t seem like it would need much instruction while on a keto diet. After all, if you oil up the grill and throw some meat, fish, or low-carb veggies on the barbie, you’ve got yourself some keto-friendly barbecue. But the minute you start thinking about brines, rubs, marinades, sauces, glazes, and condiments, you quickly enter the high-sugar danger zone. That’s where Keto BBQ: From Bunless Burgers to Cauliflower “Potato” Salad, 100+ Delicious, Low-Carb Recipes for A Keto-Friendly Barbecue (Adams Media, 2021) becomes valuable. Written by Faith Gorsky and Lara Clevenger, MSH, RDN, CPT, this soft-cover book featuring 150-plus keto bbq recipes is a go-to guide for a healthier way to whip up all the barbecue basics, reimagined with the keto lifestyle in mind. But does this keto cookbook hold up when put over the coals? Read on to find out!
About the Authors
Also known as “The Keto Queens” authors Faith Gorsky and Lara Clevenger, MSH, RDN, CPT have been teaming up on keto endeavors for years. They’re a symbiotic pair. Faith is a lawyer turned food stylist and photographer; she’s behind the blogs AnEdibleMosaic.com and HealthySweetEats.com. Lara is a dietitian, nutritionist, personal trainer, and author of food blog LaraClevenger.com. Together they run TheKetoQueens.com website to simplify the art of eating keto.
Formatted like most keto cookbooks, this one starts with a primer about the keto diet and all its main buzzwords: ketosis, macronutrients, signs of ketosis, tips, etcetera (it even gives the Keto-Mojo glucose and blood ketone testing meter a shout out!). It also includes a very approachable list of key keto-barbecue sauce ingredient staples (think gluten-free, sugar-free, keto-friendly sweeteners like allulose, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, black pepper, onion powder, etc.). But five pages later, it dives straight into the meat of the matter, so to speak, with chapters arranged as follows:
- Keto Dry Rubs: Expect seven recipes for dry rubs, including those that contain coffee, “brown sugar” (keto style), Memphis style, and southwest.
- Keto Brines and Marinades: Brines and marinades usually include salt (to lend juicy moisture to meat) and often include sugar. The eight options in this chapter make flavoring your food fun, with options like Basic Brine, Coke Zero Marinade, Lemon-Thyme Marinade, and Balsamic Marinade.
- Keto Barbecue Sauces and Glazes: You can put delicious, flavorful sauces back on the menu with these 11 options, including a tangy keto bbq sauce recipe. Expect Smoky bourbon Barbecue Sauce and Classic Barbecue Sauce to Kansas City Barbecue Sauce and Hawaiian Barbecue Sauce.
- Keto Condiments: Whether you want to slather your bbq recipes with usual keto no-nos like ketchup or honey mustard or just need recipes for green goddess or ranch dressing, this section has you covered.
- Keto Barbecue Chicken and Turkey: With a whopping 16 recipes for chicken or turkey, this section gives you plenty to squawk about. Expect grilled chicken leg, thigh, and breast recipes that allow you to mix and match using the book’s rubs, marinades, and condiments, plus more complete dishes that leverage them such as Barbecue-Ranch Chicken Salad, Southwestern Turkey Burgers, and more.
- Keto Barbecue Pork: Glazed pork, grilled pork, pork ribs, pork butt, pork chops…all the cuts are represented here. Like the chicken chapter, they too, guide you through how to leverage marinades and rubs for flavorful results.
- Keto Barbecue Beef: Of the 20 recipes here, 10 are dedicated to burgers featuring various flavorings, such as Greek Burgers with Tzatziki (a yogurt sauce), Blue Cheese Burgers, and Stuffed Cheddar Cheese Burgers. The other half of the chapter pays homage to steaks, Smoked Brisket, ribs, and more.
- Keto Sausages and Dogs: Not to be forgotten, sausages and dogs get their moment in the limelight with this chapter featuring 10 recipes for how to doctor up your dogs. Think sausage sandwiches, French Onion Hot Dogs, and more. (Bun recipes can be found in a later chapter.)
- Keto Barbecue Seafood: Scallops, salmon, cod, shrimp, snapper, and other seafood favorites are on the menu in this chapter.
- Keto Salads and Sides: It’s not a barbecue without sides! Thus, there are sections dedicated to each. Among the Cauliflower “Potato” Salad and Greek Salad recipes, you’ll find a wide variety of slaws, while side dishes celebrate low-carb vegetables like grilled peppers and eggplant, Bacon-Sauteed Green Beans, buns, cornbread, and more.
- Keto Drinks: You won’t find the most original collection of recipes here, but if you need a primer on how to make Sweet Tea, Strawberry Lemonade, or Blue Raspberry “Kool-Aid,” it’s at your fingertips.
Want a taste of what’s in store? Try these recipes from Keto BBQ:
What You’ll Learn
The greatest value for the keto home cook is that the recipes will teach you how to replace usually sugar-laden ingredients with keto-friendly ones, especially for marinades and dry rubs. Once you’re familiar with the acceptable ingredients and methods, you can apply them to transform non-keto recipes.
What We Like
The mix-and-match style of this cookbook allows for endless recipes of your own creation. For example, the Southwest Dry Rub can be used on beef, pork, or chicken. You can then barbecue the meat, bake, or roast it. And perhaps you even marinated the meat first. See? All kinds of room for creativity with your bbq chicken, chicken wings, or pulled pork, but also clear instructions for those who just want to follow directions and be done with it.
Additionally, these keto bbq recipes require minimal prep time and no added sugar, perfect for the grilling master or novice who wants easy keto recipes.
They also include macros, including total carb count and net carbs, so it’s easy to make sure you don’t go overboard on carbohydrates. Plus fat and protein macros ensure you don’t go too high on protein.
Room for Improvement
We feel inclined to point out that there aren’t that many images in this cookbook. So, there’s definitely room for improvement from a visual-seduction perspective. However, many of the recipes are not really photo friendly; we don’t really need to see a bunch of different dry rubs, do we?
The Final Word
The recipes are fine, but the guidance on turning everyday barbecue foods into keto-friendly feasts is the real value of Keto BBQ.
Shop for Keto BBQ here.