Rachel’s Homemade BBQ Sauce

I love sauces.  One of the hardest things about sticking to a low GI diet is that most produced sauces/dressings are high in added sugar.  In addition, most not only have sugar but have high fructose corn syrup which is like concentrated sugar.  This left me with dry, boring food.  😦

Lately I’ve been experimenting a lot in the kitchen and trying to come up with recipes that are low GI and taste good.  I’ve had 2 less than stellar successes but today I think I scored.  ( I tried to make enchiladas with my own enchilada sauce and they were such a disappointment.).

I have made my own barbeque sauce!  BBQ sauce is usually loaded with sugar, molasses and honey.  Especially my favorite, Kansas city style, which is a dark, rich sauce.   Now I made this sauce with agave but you could use coconut syrup or brown rice syrup or yacon- whatever low GI sweetener floats your boat.  I don’t think stevia would work as well in this recipe because it isn’t a liquid syrup but you can try it!  I am also not a fan of splenda. Its not natural like the stevia or agave plants and to me it has a chemical aftertaste.

(For agave haters read this) The Agave Bad for You Fallacy

One thing you have to remember is that any sweetener is just that a sweetener but some are absorbed less quickly and converted into glucose.  Its kind of like the difference between whole grains and white flour.  They are both grains but one is absorbed more quickly than the other.  Our bodies are designed to taste sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and unami, and I believe it is important that any diet for it to be a realistic lifestyle change must incorporate all of these taste buds.  They are there.  They aren’t going away.  Doing a sugar fast may be helpful to change habits and lessen cravings but unless you cut out your tongue you will always want sweet.

there are areas of your tongue designed to taste sweet. Its how our body is made. Find healthier ways to satisfy those natural cravings

So, my goal is to find ways to satisfy my taste buds without raising my blood sugar levels (and its working I haven’t had a high reading in a year).  I try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to take regular dishes and lower the simple carbs and substitute/reduce the sugar in them.  (Any recipes you have in this regard I’d love!).

My sister and a friend are coming over tonight and she suggested we make this soda pop crockpot pork I’ve made in the past.  At first I thought, no way!  If there was ever a dish loaded with sugar this is it.  In addition to 2 cans regular cola an average recipe has 1 cup or more of highly sweetened bbq sauce and an additional 1/2 cup of brown sugar.

One of the things I admire about people like Elana Amsterdam is she hasn’t let her celiac disease stop her from eating anything.  She finds a way to make cupcakes, cookies, crackers, pies all within her food restrictions (she also uses agave and explains why).  Amy Medling is another good example.  Her menus are so full and rich and yet completely PCOS/Low GI friendly.

I think an attitude of looking at food limitations as a fun challenge, not as a burden, is very commendable.  Sometimes I feel like all I get is one more thing I can’t eat each day (especially during the sugar fast, someone told me I couldn’t eat sugar free gum and I about lost it.  I couldn’t take all the no’s anymore!).

Never to be undone by a challenge I decided to go for it.  The pork is brewing in the crockpot right now but I have a feeling it will be delicious.  I used oogave cola soda .  This soda uses agave instead of high fructose corn syrup or sugar.  Again, its not about it being a non-sweetener because it is but it is a better choice.

So, then I added a cup of my awesome homemade bbq sauce.  Even if the pork doesn’t turn out it was worth it just for this recipe I invented. (And remember you are using just a little bit of sauce.  The recipe makes over 4-6 cups.  (I didn’t measure the final amount but it was a lot).

Here goes:

Homemade Low GI BBQ Sauce

1 large can tomato sauce (or pureed tomatoes in a blender and strained)

1/2 cup of water

1/2 c balsamic vinegar (doesn’t have to be the fancy stuff.  I used some I got from the dollar store!  Save the good stuff for bread or strawberries.  I think you could also use apple cider vinegar which has some health benefits but it wouldn’t give you the dark KC BBQ look.)

1/3 c agave (can add a little more depending on taste)

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1 tbsp chilli powder

1/4 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp yellow mustard

2 dashes of liquid smoke (start small and can add more because it packs a punch)

1/4 c Worcestershire sauce (this does contain hfc and sugar but it is such a small amount for a large quantity of sauce that I wouldn’t worry about it.  If anyone knows of a Worcestershire sauce that doesn’t have added sugars let me know. )

Mix all together with a whisk until it boils and then quickly turn to med low and let simmer for 45 minutes.  Then bottle and store in your fridge.

Rachel's Homemade LOW GI BBQ Sauce!

I’m really excited about this recipe.  I think it will be great on hot dogs instead of ketchup (and I do intend on making my own Low GI ketchup) or with sweet potato fries.  With roasted chicken it would be delicious, or on ribs it would be fabulous.   There is tons of potential.  Hurray!

Let me know what you think and if you alter the recipe in any way.  I will post a photo of the pork tonight.

“It is a far, far better barbecue that I have now, than I have ever had before” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

“It is better to have burnt and lost, then never to have barbecued at all” – William Shakespeare

(Just a little joke!)

Posted later-

Here is the pork

agave bbq pulled pork

The pork is a 5 lb pork shoulder rubbed with salt and pepper.  Then you put it in the crockpot with an onion sliced up, 2 cans oogave cola and a cup of Low GI BBQ.  Let cook on low for 6 hours.  Then drain most of marinade, shred pork and add another cup of sauce, heat on high for 1-2 hours.

The pork was tender and full of flavor.  I really liked it.


34 thoughts on “Rachel’s Homemade BBQ Sauce

  1. Love-LOVE this! Husband is on a low glycemic diet and this lets me make one dinner we can all eat. I’m making it to give to family as a christmas dish.
    How long do you think this will keep in a fridge? Or if I made it and sealed it in jars, does it need to be refrigerated? Just curious.

    1. thanks! So exciting when someone loves your recipe. I don’t have specifics but its so sweet I kept mine in the fridge for months using it bit by bit (I’m single). Also, if you had it sealed I don’t see why you would need to keep it in the fridge but I’m not an expert in canning. It is so sweet it will stay unspoiled longer than other perishables. I’d love to see what you come up with for your Christmas packaging and wish I could taste your variation. How fun! I need to make a new batch. Been a while.

      1. Hi Smiling Girl,
        I tried your BBQ sauce recipe and it’s a keeper. I can hardly believe I can have BBQ again!
        You said you had poor results making enchilada sauce. I have a great enchilada recipe you will love.
        3 Tab. olive oil
        1 Tab. flour (can be whole wheat)
        1/4 Cup chili powder
        2 Cups Chicken broth (or Vegetarian broth)
        10 oz. tomato paste
        1 Teas. dried oregano
        1 Teas. ground cumin
        1/2 Teas. salt
        In medium saucepan heat oil, add flour, smooth and stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook for 1 min. Add chili powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add broth, tomato paste, oregano, and cumin. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 min. The sauce will thicken and smooth out. Adjust the seasonings. serve atop your favorite enchiladas.

  2. Hi Rachel –

    I am recently following a low glycemic diet/lifestyle using the book called Sugar Busters and was looking for a good low glycemic index bbq sauce. I am so happy that I came across your recipe. It is cooking in my kitchen right now as I type this and everyone is LOVING the smell of this bbq sauce! I am sharing with my friend who told me about Sugar Busters and I know that she will love it too!

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. This is a WINNER!

    PS – I added some Apple Cider Vinegar as well. 🙂

    1. Isn’t the internet amazing. A recipe I made over a year ago is bubbling and brewing in your kitchen wherever you might be. So cool. Let me know what you think and if there are any good tweaks!

      1. Hi again Rachel,

        Yes the internet is amazing! And so is this bbq sauce!

        Thanks so much for sharing the recipe – I am going to make this again and again. The only change I did was to do half apple cider vinegar and half balsamic vinegar. And I blended it until smooth – the tomatoes that I used were a bit chunky…

        Now I need to find a low glycemic ketchup recipe!

        Take care,


  3. I am wondering what a “large can of tomato sauce” means? 28 ounces? I have this bubbling away right now and it tastes very vinegary to me. I followed it all (with 28 ounces). Is it meant to be really tangy?

    1. I do like things on the vinegar-side. You can always add more tomato to temper the vinegar. Its been a while since I made it so I can’t remember if it was 32 can or 28 can of tomatoes. Good luck!

      1. Im doing the 21 day fix and want to know what containers I would use for this sauce, would It just be the green container? Or the dressing container?

  4. Made this sauce tonight for chicken legs and wings. We didn’t have any liquid smoke, but it was so good even without it! My husband is really picky when it comes to his BBQ sauces, but since we are doing Sugar Busters, I had to try something that fit. He LOVED this sauce! Thanks for a really tasty recipe!

  5. This is incredible. I skipped the liquid smoke because I didn’t have any and I used creole mustard (same reason) and it’s fantastic. Thank you for sharing! Delicious!

    1. Hurray! I’m so glad. I need to make it again because it’s been a while for me. Sounds like delicious changes!

  6. I haven’t made this sauce just yet, but I am super excited about it. I’m doing the 21 Day Fix diet with my fiancé so most sauces, including BBQ, are out the window. That said, your sauce looks to fit the bill!

    I also wanted to let you know because you asked above, Kroger grocery stores have a Kroger brand worcestershire sauce that doesn’t have any added sugar or corn syrup and is calorie free! Hopefully you have a Kroger near you!

    1. Thanks for the tip and I hope the sauce turns out for you. I’d love to hear how you make the recipe your own. There aren’t kroger by me but I think they own Smiths so I wonder if it would be the same. I will check

  7. Lea & peering is an all natural Worcestershire sauce. It does have a small amount of sugar but no hfc. Cooking this up now!

    1. You know I’m not sure. I had my bottle for a while but since it doesn’t have any sugar it is more perishible than a typical sauce. I had mine in for a good month if I recall

  8. I made this tonight and dipped homemade turkey meatballs into it. Let’s just say my double batch of meatballs is over half gone. I sure would like to know how to count this, container-wise. TIA

    1. I’m so glad! I’m not sure on the 21 day thing as I’m not familiar with that program. Your meatballs sound delicious!

  9. I tried this again recently and it did seem to have too much vinegar so I would reduce it. I must have been using pretty tame stuff here

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