Bring on the BBQ—Without the GMOs

By Paula Detwiller

Barbecue Sauce

Here’s a test. Open your refrigerator and pull out whatever barbecue sauce you have in there. Read the label. Do you see high fructose corn syrup listed in the ingredients?

Chances are, you will.  Almost every commercial barbecue sauce in the supermarket contains high fructose corn syrup, an ingredient commonly produced with genetically modified corn.

The safety of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in our diets is the subject of great debate among scientists and nutritionists around the world. Why not steer clear of potential health risks and make your own barbecue sauce?

Nothin’ Like Homemade

In honor of National Barbecue Month, we offer this delicious homemade barbecue sauce recipe, courtesy of Farmgirl Fare. It’s sweetened with the stuff grandma used (brown sugar and molasses), and good old-fashioned apple cider vinegar gives it a bit of zip.

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2½ cups finely chopped onion (about 14 ounces/1 large onion)

2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tablespoons brown sugar (granulated will work, too)

4 Tablespoons sweet molasses (not blackstrap)

1/3 cup raw organic apple cider vinegar

1 six-ounce can organic tomato paste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder (optional)

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

Several grinds fresh black pepper

1½ cups water

Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart pot. Add the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until they start to soften, then reduce the heat and cook until caramelized, about 20 to 30 minutes. 

Increase the heat back up to medium, make a space in the center of the pot, add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the brown sugar and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add the molasses, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder and cayenne (if using), salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Add the water.

 Bring the sauce to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 30 minutes. Serve the sauce hot with whatever you like, or store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

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