Hey, What’s Cookin’?
Summer is in full swing and everyone is grilling up a storm; cooking many of our evening and weekend meals on the grill. And why not–it’s more fun, it doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and food cooked outdoors just seems to taste better. But before you douse that meat or chicken in commercial BBQ sauce, ask yourself; doesn’t your body and that protein you’re grilling deserve to be treated just a little better?
While BBQ sauce tastes great and everyone has their favorite brand, commercial sauces are usually loaded with sodium. You can expect anywhere from 280 grams of sodium–and higher–per 2 tablespoons serving. Why should you care about that sodium? Because the American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams (mgs) a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. So those 2 tablespoons are already more than 10% of your limit. But when is the last time you limited yourself to a 2 tbs serving?
BBQ sauce usually gets its sweetness from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS); in fact, it’s usually the first ingredient listed. So there’s more HFCS than tomato in most BBQ sauces. But HFCS is not the only sugar used; commercial BBQ sauces also routinely include fruit juice, sugar, more corn syrup, and molasses. All told, about 4 teaspoons (or more) of that 2 tablespoons (6 tsp) is sugar. So that single serving of BBQ sauce is 2/3 sugar! Please study the ingredients label of your favorite commercial barbecue sauce, and see if you can’t do better.
Because of those two significant health traps, excess sodium and excess sugar, I recommend that you make your own BBQ sauce. You can make it as spicy or mild as you like. And you can make it with much less sodium, no preservatives, as well as use more natural forms of sugar such as honey.
And I’ve found a great recipe for you to try! You’ll notice it contains no salt–it’s so spicy and flavorful it doesn’t need it! Trust me! I also encourage you to consider ordering Hunt’s No-Sodium Ketchup (can be found on Amazon); both to use in this recipe and to use as your table ketchup. It’s a great-tasting ketchup and you won’t miss the salt at all!
And don’t let the lengthy list of spices scare you away–many of them you’ll already find in your pantry. And dollar stores or discount stores are a GREAT source of low-cost spices. You can stock up for very little!
Homemade BBQ Sauce
Adapted from a recipe from Davita
Makes a little over 1 pint of sauce
Serving size: 2 tbs.
- 1 tbs all-purpose white flour
- 1 tbs canola oil
- 1/4 cup red wine, tarragon, white wine, or plain white vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup ketchup (use an organic brand; or use Hunt’s No-Sodium Ketchup found on Amazon)
- 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp Tabasco sauce
- 1 tbs Liquid Smoke
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbs minced dried onion bits or 1/4 cup fresh minced onion
- 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 3 tbs coconut sugar or honey
- In a 2-quart pot, add flour and oil. Whisk to make a paste and cook over medium low heat to remove “raw” taste of the flour—but do not let it brown—for approx. 4 min. Remove pot from heat and allow to cool 5 min.
- Add liquid seasonings to pot: vinegar, water, ketchup, lemon juice, Tabasco sauce, and liquid smoke.
- Add dry seasonings to pot: black pepper, chili powder, onion bits, poultry seasoning, dry mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, ginger powder, and coconut sugar.
- Whisk the ingredients together thoroughly and put the pot back on low heat. Cook for 15 minutes, whisking occasionally. You can use the sauce immediately, but it’s really best to let the flavors meld overnight. Allow to cool before storing.
- Place a small portion in a covered container and keep in the refrigerator. Will keep for 2 weeks. Freeze extra BBQ sauce in small portions; remove from freezer and thaw as needed.
Notes: Make the sauce your own by tweaking the spices to fit your desired flavor profile!
Photograph via Pinterest