No more Sweet Baby Ray's for me!

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Aside from making my own, I do like the G Hughes sauces (the Jamaican Jerk is good, low heat) I also like the Salt Lick Honey Pecan BBQ Sauce it is low in sugar, but you would never know it.

- Jason
I've started a recipe this morning I put together that includes caramelized red onion with chopped bacon, an apple cider with chopped apple and cinnamon stick reduction, fire-roasted Roma tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and 11 spices. It is still cooking, and I haven't added any molasses, honey, ACV, and Bourbon yet. My wife tasted what I've got so far and exclaimed, "Forget SBR'S! This is awesome!"

We'll see how it tastes after I add the rest of the ingredients later in the cook.
There's room for improvement, but this is the best bbq sauce I've attempted to make by a mile. Next time a little more molasses. I did not add Bourbon or liquid smoke, so I'll play with those next time. I only added 1/3 cup ACV. Cooked it 2 hours. It could have gone another hour.

Still, it is a great tasting sauce. The apple cider and chopped apple reduction was the key ingredient for sweetness. Made 6 cups, more than I expected. It is browner than the picture shows.

Oh, and my wife says "We can't call it SBR'S, so I'll call it (I can't believe I'm gonna post this), Handsome Ray's."

Insert groan here.

Here's the recipe anyone can play with if desired.

Ray's Homemade BBQ Sauce

This is s total experiment to replace Sweet Baby Ray's HFCS and sugar packed commercial bbq sauce.

There is no need to peel the apple or tomatoes because everything will be blended once cooked.

The 2-hour cook breaks down the structure of the chopped apple, onions, tomatoes, and bacon. 3 hours would be better.

1 red apple, cored and chopped
2 cups fresh apple cider
1 cinnamon stick

2 strips thick cut bacon, chopped
1 sweet red onion, chopped

15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained, or
4 Roma tomatoes, fire-roasted (broiler or BBQ)
8 oz tomato sauce
6 oz tomato paste

1 tsp granulated garlic
½ tsp smoked paprika or regular paprika
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground ginger
⅛ tsp chili powder
⅛ tsp ground mustard
⅛ tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon

⅓ cup unsulphured molasses
¼ cup honey
⅓ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp hickory flavored liquid smoke (optional)
⅓ cup bourbon (optional)

Mix the spices, cover, and set aside.

Drain the canned tomatoes and set aside (if using). Or fire-roast the tomatoes.

Place 2 cups of fresh apple cider, the chopped apple, and the cinnamon stick in a saucepan and simmer uncovered on medium-low to medium heat until reduced by ⅔’s, about 30-60 minutes. Stir occasionally.

While the cider is simmering, place the chopped bacon in a separate saucepan over medium heat. Sauté until the fat starts to render and it gets a little foamy.

Add the onion. Add butter if more fat is needed. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté until caramelized, about 20 minutes.

Remove the cinnamon stick and add the apple and cider reduction to the caramelized onions and bacon.

Add the fire-roasted tomatoes. Smash.

Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and spices. Stir to mix.

Simmer uncovered on lowest heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add the molasses, honey, ACV, and any optional ingredients. Stir to mix. Taste to add more of any of those three.

Simmer for another hour or two, stirring occasionally.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes, then place in the blender. Blend on “soup” setting, or high for 2 minutes.

Place in a sterilized jar, cool, and refrigerate.
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For a bought sauce, Open Pit works for me, it doesn't taste good right out of the bottle, but it's pretty good when heated on meat or in a sauce pan....
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If you have never made a BBQ sauce out of Balsamic vinegar you need to try it, I don't make it very often but it is great, most folks have never tried it but never found anybody that didn't like it
We use it a lot, primarily because some of the family is allergic to garlic and onion. Not to say this isn't in SBR (i'm sure it is on some level) but those that are allergic have found any reaction to it minimal if non at all.

I'm always on the lookout for other store bought brands that do not have or have very little garlic and onion in them. Same with rubs.
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SBR's has always been too sweet for me. I rarely use store-bought, as I make my own. The sweetness in mine comes from Mexican Coca-Cola and maple sugar. But it's well balanced by organic apple cider vinegar and other savories & spices.
There is a no sugar added version now.

Also I love Rib Rack BBQ sauce. No HFCS added.

Stubbs and Jim Beam are the same way and both are pretty good.

I dont care for any of the sugar free sauces that I have tasted yet. I haven't found a SF soda I like either...even the ones with sucralose.

SBR's used to be my go-to before we went low carb, but I never used it, as is, out of the bottle. I dont like sickeningly sweet anything. I always heavily cut it with ACV and a heavy pour of Texas Pete.

Creating your own with the ingredients your body can deal with is best. It's a bit of work, but so is making most good food.

The only artificial sweetener I cant seriously detect as hollow in flavor is natural mate. I like my tea slightly sweetened for instance, and for me, it's just like sugar only twice as strong so you dont need to use as much. I've tried them all. I dont know why this product or an iteration of it isn't on the store shelves. It's the best in my opinion. When I was in a low carb forum (the owner shut it down for some reason), people were making mixes of different artificial sweeteners to hide that off-taste of stuff like stevia and erytritol. That's what natural mate is. Sucralose and erythritol in just the right balance.

I do use 2 tablespoons of Swerve type erythritol "brown sugar" in my BBQ sauce but its such a small amount compared to the three cups the recipe makes, I almost cant detect it. I know its in there and can tell, but it's very tolerable.

Edit: for some reason the system wont let me correct the the first spelling of erythritol. Wont let me add the H. That's weird
Sucralose is just as bad as sugar for glycemic reaction which means a no-no for low carb.
I prefer Allulose for general sweetening. It sweetens without a sweet after taste. (I don't know if that makes sense to anyone. Post Covid, I don't like sugar sweet, but some of the non sugar sweeteners are OK.)
Erythritol is good, but it really gives me gas.
Erythritol is good, but it really gives me gas.
I agree. It tastes good for a sugar substitute for sure. Doesn't bother my wife and daughter at all but it gives me the green apple quick step. Took me a bit to figure it out. Apparently it has that effect with some people.
That's what I do . I scald the bourbon first , and use red wine vinegar . I still keep it in the fridge , but it seems to last forever .
got a recipe you wouldn't mind sharing. I've always thought making my own would be fun but like others use is limited over time. ribs here, chicken there but not not often is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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