BBQ sauce question
- queenscook Aug 29, 2012 11:59 PM
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)?
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I would suggest that you don't worry about the calories from the bbq sauce since you're not consuming a lot of the sauce at once.
If you're worried about calories, you can trade off calories for your entire meal. For example, one less pat of butter or a little less potato salad.
The best way to get a soft drink (be it root beer or Coca-Cola or another) flavor in a barbecue sauce is to use the syrup that is mixed with carbonated water to make the soft drink. The syrup is concentrated so there will be no need to reduce it which will preserve much of the flavor you'll lose to exposure high heat (everything you smell in the kitchen while you're reducing something is flavor that is no longer in your end product).
So, I'd either go to a restaurant and offer to buy a cup of their root beer syrup or maybe even consider getting a bottle of that Sodastream root beer syrup (or if you plan on getting really serious about this, buy it in bulk from a warehouse club).
If I couldn't get my hands on root beer syrup, I'd simply make my sauce without the root beer, then add some root beer extract (which tastes extremely good if you get one with a good formula) at the end.