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Aug 29, 2012 11:59 PM

BBQ sauce question

I have a couple of recipes for BBQ sauce made by reducing root beer and adding various other ingredients (ketchup, spices, etc.). Is there any reason I should not use a sugar-free version of root beer (to save some calories, mainly)?

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  1. The root Beer is providing the carbs that will help the sauce caramelise the meat you are BBQing.

    This is necessary to get a true BBQ flavor.

    You might be OK with diet Root Beer since there are tons of sugar in the ketchup.

    1. Not to highjack your thread queen, but on a similar root-beer-related bbq sauce question, does anyone know if it would make a difference if the root beer to be used has been previously opened and is now completely flat?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Midknight

        It's actually better if it's gone flat, as you can measure properly. The only thing you're losing is the co2, which wouldn't do anything for your sauce anyways.

      2. You can't cook/heat most artificial sweeteners without them breaking down. Don't do this.

        OTOH, it would be possible to replicate the "seasoning" of root beer without actually using it, which would allow you to omit the sweetener component. Just google root beer recipes and you'll see the spice ingredients. Might have to mail order some of them, IME.

        3 Replies
        1. re: splatgirl

          "You can't cook/heat most artificial sweeteners without them breaking down. Don't do this."

          Actually, most take heat alright, i.e., artificial sweetener in hot drinks. Several may be cooked, such as Stevia and others in baking.

          They do break down in extended high heat

          1. re: FrankJBN

            "They do break down in extended high heat"

            Like a reduction of root beer.

          2. re: splatgirl

            WHAT SPLATGIRL SAID!!! Artificial sweeteners, *especially* Splenda, turn bitter when they break down: I learned this the hard way.

            If you're just trying to cut back on sugar and not eliminate it entirely (say, in case you're diabetic), the next time you're near an Asian or Chinese market, stop in and see if they carry tubs of maltose. One-third to half as sweet as table sugar and DEFINITELY sticky enough to be the basis of a good BBQ sauce! Tip: Don't use homebrew maltose / malt syrup: too strongly-flavored, IMHO.

            Let us know how the BBQ turns out!

          3. How about using normal root beer and substituting the ketchup for something that has no added sugar like tomato puree.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Musie

              You can swap puree for ketchup but at some point in time you are going to need back the vinegar, spices, etc. that the ketchup brought to the recipe. It's not as simple as "just kicking the sugar to the curb" so to say.

              For "tried and true" sauce recipes, I always suggest making a small batch of the "recipe as written" first.
              Then adjust as you need it after you have a base-line taste.

              Going all "willy nilly" with complex recipes and subbing in items for what is listed usually nets you an inferior final product and a "pissed off" attitude if a lot of time is spent for the poor results achieved.

              For a pro chef, not a big deal. For a home cook, maybe not.

              As for using diet soda, both aspartame and nutra-sweet impart a FAR different flavor than std. sugar, corn syrup or HFC.
              Proceed cautiously.

            2. What are you putting the bbq sauce on? If you are looking to cut calories, you are looking in the wrong place here. I'm guessing you will be eating maybe a couple of tablespoons worth of bbq sauce on something else.

              Switch what you put the bbq sauce on to something like tofu or chicken breasts, not what you put in the bbq sauce.