A VERY LOW FRUCTOSE/GLUCOSE BBQ SAUCE
Paul Verizzo

(The recipe is at the end, the road to it is about some sauce philosophies and defending my choice of sweetener.)

There are many styles, variations, and regional styles of barbecuing. One common denominator is sauce, all have a sauce or a dry rub. Some are cooked onto the meat, others, like Texas, it’s added afterwards. Yeah, weird.

Almost all (outside of the Carolinas) sauces have some element of sweet and sour, sugar and vinegar, in some proportion. The sugar component obviously makes for a sweet sauce; but when cooked onto the meat another flavor is made because of the carmelization of the sugar. It’s what makes Kansas City style BBQ so good! No sugar, no desired results.

Commercial sauces are usually loaded with sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup. For the diabetic or the person just wanting to minimize sugars and carbohydrates, this can be a real challenge. My goal was to create a rich tomato based, sweet-sour BBQ sauce without the usual sugar and fructose. Table sugar, sucrose, is half fructose. There is no advantage in using molasses or honey, same components.

Yes, tomato paste has sugars within. They are as follows for 1/4 cup, which is probably a lot of ingredient after thinning and applying: Glucose & Fructose, about 2 grams each, and .2 grams maltose. There is also a bit of sugar in the A-1 steak sauce used. Even with multiple coatings during the grilling, you probably won’t consume over 3-4 grams (less than 1/10th of an ounce) of sugars.

I settled on using Splenda for the sweetener. While not a fan of artificial sweeteners, I believe that the advantages outweigh disadvantages in this case. The only other two alternatives are no sugar (blah!) or back to sucrose/molasses/glucose/whatever. You pick your poison, I picked Splenda.

What makes Splenda so attractive for this purpose is not just that it is sweet, lots of things like stevia will do that, but that the Sucralose sweetener is carried within a another (natural) sweetener, dextramaltose. Dextramaltose is not real sweet by itself, perhaps about 50% as sweet as table sugar.

The Sucralose itself is microscopic in quantity and isn’t even metabolized by your body. It fools your tongue into Sweet Mode, then it takes its leave some hours later.....you know..... Toxicity is assuredly zero.

But the kicker with Splenda and unlike stevia or the alcohol sugars is that the dextramaltose carmelizes! Sprinkle a bit of Splenda on a very warm or hot surface and it carmelizes just like sugar - because the dextramaltose is.

Sweetener variations: Depending on your dietary beliefs and preferences, you might try the following:

1. Use old fashioned “corn syrup.” This, in theory, is pure glucose, no fructose. However it is hard to find pure. My survey shows that most are now adulterated by HFCS. Outside of the US, you might find this as “glucose syrup” or sugar made from grapes. Baker’s supply houses carry it, or of course, the internet. That would be very good, i.e. no fructose, unless you are diabetic. In The South, you might consider, Alaga syrup, mostly “corn” (glucose,) some cane. Cane is, of course, table sugar in liquid form.

2. Add or substitute sweetener with molasses. While no better dietetically than cane syrup, having fructose within, it adds it’s own special flavors.

3. There is no magic in honey, maple syrup, or agave “nectar.” The latter is almost pure fructose! The former two aren’t much different from cane juice or sugar, back to sucrose.

The recipe, adjust as preferred:

1 12 oz can of tomato paste.
2 TBL. Colgin’s Liquid Smoke
3/4 C. Vinegar
12 TBL. (3/4 cup) Worchestshire Sauce
6 TBL. A-1 type steak sauce, generic just fine
˝ - 3/4 C. Splenda
2 TSP. Onion powder
12 TBL (3/4 cup) Soy Sauce
1 TBL Olive Oil
1-3 TSP Black Pepper, to taste

Dilute to preference. I prefer a few thinner applications than one thick one.

Keep in the refrigerator. It will thicken with time, just dilute as desired.