December 12, 2017
The Best Barbecue Sauce
By Stephanie Scavelli
I eat a lot of vegetables and adding condiments and sauces is a great way to flavor my meals. Barbecue Sauce is my favorite. With its sweet, spicy and preferably smokey taste it enhances most any meal.
I use barbecue sauce to season rice or quinoa; dip with fries or on a baked potato; season fried tofu strips; mix with beans or lentils; on baked or fried vegetables like zucchini and cauliflower; and, of course, on my veggie burgers.
Not all barbecue sauces are made the same. They come in a spectrum of flavors, textures and packages. Some are sweet with extra sugar, honey or molasses. Some are hot spiced with hot peppers. My personal favorite is smoked which gives food a fresh-from-the-grill or fire pit taste.
Packaging plays an important role in our preference to continuously purchase a sauce. I prefer glass containers, but find that condiments like BBQ sauce and ketchup are easiest to use and less messy from a plastic squeeze bottle. The bane of condiments is that funky cap that leaves my hands sticky, or the long, narrow neck bottle that traps a thick sauce.
Quality of ingredients differ too. I love trying new sauces but not just any brand off the grocer shelf. We rate best the sauces that enhance the flavor and nutritional value of our meals. We avoid high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils entirely and prefer organic when tomato is an ingredient.
This year the local farmers markets have been showcasing more venders who do sauces. In the spirit of grilling season we picked up two different BBQs in July. We purchased J&K Brenner's Sweet & Sassy BBQ Sauce at the Tarrytown Farmers Market and JT's Original BBQ Sauce at the Eastchester Farmers Market.
J&K Brenner's Sweet & Sassy BBQ Sauce (www.jordanssauces.com) is certainly sweet. It contains raw sugar, molasses and natural maple flavoring. Some unusual ingredients include orange juice from concentrate, lemon and orange zest, and coffee. The long neck glass bottle works fine for this more smooth, liquid sauce but the cap gets pretty gunky. I have been enjoying this sauce stirred into rice or lentil stew.
JT's Original BBQ Sauce (https://jtsoriginal.com) comes in the perfect squeeze bottle that looks like a glass bottle. For that alone, I recommend this BBQ sauce. The flavor profile is mildly sweeter and tasty. I have been enjoying it on my Dr. Praeger's Veggie Burgers ( http://drpraegers.com). The texture is right, thick enough to stay put where it gets squeezed. For a farmers market find the ingredients are suspicious. The label touts an old-fashioned recipe but "ketchup" and "Worcestershire sauce" are listed ingredients. No mention of the ingredient breakdown, if the ketchup is organic or HFCS-free. And I am pretty sure Worcestershire sauce is not gluten-free.
Yet, nothing seems to beat my all-time favorite BBQ sauce made by True Made Foods (www.truemadefoods.com). It has an authentic smoked flavor; it contains essence of charred wood, not just a flavor additive. The ingredient list includes spinach, carrots and squash on top of a base of tomato based off an old-fashioned recipe. The extra thickness of this sauce is ideal. It stays put on my plate or hot potato. My only qualm is that without the squeeze bottle the long neck bottle retains the last of this thick sauce and I have to bang and shake it every time to get any out.
It is fun trying new BBQ sauces, if not for the fact it reminds me why I like what I like. To me, nothing beats that real good smoky taste. But trying new products means there is always a chance to like or experience something new.
About the Author
Certified Yoga Instructor Stephanie Scavelli practices a plant-based diet and traditional herbal medicine. She laughs endlessly at the adventurous whit of the animation series Rick & Morty. She wears minimalist, barefoot-inspired shoes and her favorite dessert is her sister's Oatmeal Crusted Vegan Pumpkin Pie. Stephanie lives in Westchester County, NY with her daughter Juniper. For yoga classes and workshops near you visit www.yogaforager.com.