“Dressed to Grill”: Healthy/Delicious Summer Grilling Tips and Recipes

On the Grill Today:  Homemade Healthy and Delicious Barbecue Sauce

If you read my blog, you know that I totally hate conventional barbecue sauce, ketchup, and other sauces.

Horrible ingredient profile, i.e., toxic sweeteners, Genetically Modified Ingredients, fattening ingredients, my arch enemy High Fructose Corn Syrup, too much sodium….sigh.

So let's get down to work in this segment of "Dressed to Grill" and make our own barbecue sauce…..and of course for my small, but increasing cult following in the is series of my blog, I won't leave you hanging, I got  a new batch of Custom Outdoor Kitchens also……………..

Barbecue Sauce 101 for beginners

The best way to approach this is to create a "starter" barbecue sauce from which anyone can customize

Small Jar about 6 oz of Organic Tomato paste (I try to avoid the tomato paste in cans)

2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (careful!! some apple cider vinegars are GMO Corn Vinegar with an artificial brown color READ YOUR LABELS)

2 Tablespoons of Organic Mustard (I like Dijon Mustard)

1 Tablespoon lemon juice from 1 fresh organic lemon

I tablespoon of olive Oil

Sprinkle of Pink Himalayan Salt (AVOID TABLE SALT, not too much, because you can add more as you test it out later on)

Spices, this will vary from person to person, currently I use a few dashes of organic paprika, organic garlic powder, organic chili powder, cayenne pepper,  but I am always mixing and matching different spices, everyone has to "play around" to find their right mix

Sweetener: 1/4 cup.  my current fav is healthy, mineral rich Coconut Palm Sugar

Instructions: Add all ingredients to pot under slow heat for an half hour or more

Simple, but it looks and tastes like "over glorified" ketchup………..

Most of are trying to get that true barbecue sauce look and feel we love, which varies from person to person.

Most of is want that deep red color as opposed to that "Ketchupy" look and feel, and all of us want our specific tastes, from "woodsy", to hickory, to mesquite, to "sweet and spicy", you feel me right?

No problem, there are plenty of ingredients in my "advanced class" to get us where we need to be

Barbecue Sauce Advanced Class Ingredients

These are ingredients to help customize your starter BBQ sauce above to your custom taste. This is where the teacher lets the student go off and do their thing. My advice is TAKE YOUR TIME and have fun with it. You have all summer to let it evolve. By fall, you will have that sauce that will make your guests cringe with delight

Molasses: gives it that deep rich color and enhances that "sweet taste" lurking underneath all the robust spices

Organic Garlic Cloves: this is in my base sauce, but some people dig garlic others not, very healthy spice though

Tamarind: Often sold wrapped as puree concentrate in plastic. Hard to find, but it gives the sauce a "Wicked Tang" more of a Caribbean Style Sauce, you might have to look hard to find this spice, as in an Asian store

Onions and Scallions: One technique is to "sweat down" some onions or scallions in the pot  before adding your base ingredients. This is part of my base, remember onions is one of the few veggies that does not lose it's nutrients when cooked

Grated Ginger: If you have tasted Ginger, you know that distinctive taste it brings to anything

Barbecue Sauce Advanced Ingredients (Continued)

Allspice (and there are many other spices, but I'm kinda diggin that allspice lately)

Scotch Bonnet Pepper: Mostly a Southern and Caribbean thing

Fresh organic hot peppers and chillies: depends on how hot you want to make it, I don't have much tolerance for "too hot" , so I try to uses only slightly hot peppers or a very small amout of the hot ones. If I am using peppers, I omit the powdered pepper in the baseline recipe

Real Organic Maple Syrup: along with molasses, the only natural sweeteners out there that are in their natural state. Helps give it that sweet undertones amongst the spices, and add to a deeper richer color

Wild Raw Honey: I love raw honey, but I kinda hate heating it up because the heat destroys all the nutrients in my $25 jar of honey. But since it does give it an amazingly sweet flavor, I often go find a local honey which is real honey , but less expensive

Red Wine: I've tried a little red wine before and it worked for me

Mesquite Powder: I can't quite describe that mesquite flavor, but I love it. Kinda "Woodsy" kinda Tropical,  Organic Mesquite Powder here

Ingredients to avoid when making Barbecue Sauce

You could take the easy way out with many of the BBQ sauce recipes on the web, but if you are interested in health, which is at least part of why you are even reading, then those "bad" ingredients in most sauces should be left out. You can make it tastier, and healthier all in one swoop


Ketchup: Why do people use this as an ingredient? With tomato paste and other ingredients, you are making ketchup anyway…only healthier with out all the poisons and ingredients that put on unwanted bodyfat.

Worcesteschire Sauce: poor ingredient profile, with high sodium, bad sugars, GMO soy sauce. Your advanced ingredients will compensate for that taste lost from this sauce

Liquid Smoke: often made by burning sawdust and capturing the ingredients in vegetable oil

Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is nothing but common refined table sugar with a brown coloring thrown back on it. Your sweetener is the hardest obstacle to overcome in a healthy sauce, but I trust what I have learned about sweeteners to omit the Brown Sugar and try the sweeteners mentioned above. My list of sweeteners to avoid is here

"Bad Oils": Stick to Coconut Oil and/or Olive Oil, NEVER USE CANOLA, IT'S POISON, my evaluation of all oils here

Table Salt:….is nothing but Sodium, Iodine, and processing chemicals. Pink Himalayan Salt (and Celtic Sea Salt) have 84 minerals in perfect balance, and add a great flavor

Making your own Barbecue Sauce is like "Making Romance"

……or learning to dance. You don't have to be good at it, but you can have a lot of fun practicing your techniques

When you get into this, think about how you see a seasoned chef on TV over a pot of sauce taking a taste, stepping back, thinking a second, realizing something is not quite right. That' is what this becomes…..a fun process, and you get to eat and taste test all summer.

……send me your recipes when you get to that "ultimate you" Barbecue Sauce, I'd  love to steal them…uh, I mean read and share them LOL!!!

~stay healthy~



click here or the photo below to see all my "Dressed to Grill" articles within in "The Healthy Chef's Corner"

2 Responses


Once refridgerated, how long to expiration?


I only make it in small batches, I had one batch that lasted 3 weeks, but I don’t like to keep it longer than that. I made a similar ketchup-like sauch that I had in teh frigge for a couple of months, and it seemed like it started to get some typeof mold or whatever going. The whole concept behind storebought stuff is they use ingredients to stop it from spoining, but natual food is not sipposed to last long. Just my opinion and experience………..   ~stay healthy~

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