Eat Sleep and Play Primally


Barbecue Without All the Sugar!

Grilled Romaine Wedge Salad

I love to eat barbecue.  Sadly, we simply haven’t barbecued that much this summer.  I don’t have a gas grille so that means getting the charcoal and the Weber out.  Most of the time its just too much work just to make dinner for two.  I feel like I’m wasting a good hot grille when you only cook a piece of meat for 5 – 8 minutes.  While not as good, I do use our cast iron grille pan quite a bit.  Well, last night we pulled out the grille and decided to have dinner outside.  So as not to waste all that good barbecue heat, we cooked a bunch of stuff so that we we could have several meals throughout the week.  We grilled pork steaks, ribs, turkey legs (what could be more primal than gnawing on a caveman size turkey leg) and vegetables.  Man, was it good!

One other problem with barbecuing, since going primal, is the seemingly lack of choices when it comes to barbecue sauce.  If they are not packed with high fructose corn syrup, they undoubtedly will have tons of sugar.  I make so many things from scratch now, I decided to make my own barbecue sauce.  Have you ever tried to make your own barbecue sauce.  so many recipes call for sugar, brown sugar and start with a base of commercial ketchup (also packed with HFC or sugar).  Of course I am not using sugar or brown sugar these days, but I do like a sticky sweet barbecue sauce.  I needed to find a way to to achieve a sweeter sauce without using sugar.  I think I did it.  Well, kinda.  I did use a little bit of honey, but the batch was big enough that I did not feel so bad about it.  I was also in a hurry and was able to find a commercially made ketchup that was very very low in sugar.  You of course can make your own ketchup as a base and I’m posting a recipe for that to get you started.

Our dinner last night was teriffic.  We invited my partner’s mother over to share.  She called shortly before hand to let us know she had made a macaroni salad to bring along.  Oops! When we told her that was very nice but that we don’t eat pasta anymore, she showed up with fresh sliced peaches.  they are in abundance now and were delicious.  Catastrophe avoided.  We started our dinner with a great Grilled Romaine Wedge Salad.  if you haven’t tried grilling romaine lettuce, your in for a treat and its really ease.  All you need to do is halve romaine hearts (if you have full heads of romaine, simply remove the outer leaves for another use).  Cut the romaine hearts in half, and spray with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Throw them on the grille for about 2 minutes per side until they are charred.  To serve, place a wedge on a salad plate with some fresh sliced tomatoe.  Drizzle the wedge with a balsamic vinaigrette (1/2 cup olive oil, 3 tbls. balsamic vinegar, 1 tbls. dijon mustard and salt and pepper to taste) and then top with some crumbled blue cheese or feta.  For the rest of dinner, we had BBQ’D Pork Steaks, grilled onion,  and a delicious homemade cole slaw.

Now onto the barbecue sauce.  If you have ketchup you like, use it, otherwise make your own.

Homemade Ketchup


  • 12 ounce no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup tap water
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of honey or 4 packets of purevia (stevia)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and store in the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors develop.
Its as easy as that.  Now you have a good base for a tasty sticky sweet barbecue sauce.  While you can use stevia or honey to sweeten this sauce, its not absolutely necessary.  The onions will add considerable sweetness to the sauce.

Pulled Pork with Sticky Sweet BBQ Sauce and Homemade Slaw

Sticky Sweet BBQ Sauce


  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbls. finely chopped ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup (homemade or low sugar)
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 6 tbls. soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbls. honey or 2 packets of purevia (stevia)(optional)
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (if you like your sauce a little hotter)


Slowly Cook the onion and ginger in oil over moderate to low heat until they are a caramel color.  You want the onions to caramelize to bring out all their natural sweetness.  This can take 30 -40 minutes, but if you are in a hurry, you can just saute the onions and garlic and ginger until the onions are soft and translucent.  At the end you can add the garlic and continue to cook for another couple of minutes.  You can also add a few tablespoons of balsamic vinegar at the end, but continue to cook the onions and garlic until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.  Now, puree the sauce in a blender or food processor in 2-3 batches.

Your sauce is ready to use.  I got 3 meals out of this batch, including all the barbecue we made last night.  After refrigerated, the sauce can get a little thick, so you can just add a little more vinegar and water to thin it down before using.


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Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 Uncategorized 4 Comments