Making Your BBQ Sauce With a Sweet and Spicy Twist

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Most barbecue sauces are made with high fructose corn syrup and other highly processed ingredients that may be harmful to your health. By making your own sauce, you have control over the ingredients. This sweet and spicy sauce gives a twist on traditional pulled pork sandwiches that makes for a great 4th of July recipe that you can make ahead of time in a slow cooker.

Although I love hosting barbecues this time of year, I find day-of cooking stressful. You can make this sauce up to 3 days ahead of time and keep it refrigerated to plan ahead.

I love this sauce because the combination of sweetness from the peaches and heat from the jalapeño balance each other out, and bourbon adds a nice vanilla, caramel undertone. You can also make this recipe without the bourbon by substituting it for ¼ cup water plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Using a slow cooker to prepare food also helps alleviate this stress, and can make healthy cooking easy.

High-heat grilling can cause the development of harmful carcinogens, called heterocyclic amines (HCAs), that can damage our DNA and may lead to the development of cancer. One way to still enjoy traditional summer BBQ foods is to use the slow cooker, or to follow these three tips for healthier grilling.

This sauce is lower in sugar than traditional sauces because the fresh peaches help naturally sweeten the dish. Peaches are the tastiest in summer months when they are in season, and all fruit is part of a cancer-protective diet.

This sauce also pairs well with chicken, beef, or drizzled over grilled tofu.

Here’s the full recipe for the sauce with pulled pork: Spicy BBQ Peach Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Spicy BBQ Peach Pulled Pork Sandwiches. Photo credit: Sonja Goedkoop

Pair the pulled pork sandwiches with a simple, healthier vinegar-based slaw and grilled corn on the cob. You can also serve mini strawberry, banana and blueberry skewers on toothpicks to round out a festive Independence-themed 4th of July BBQ.

What’s your favorite 4th of July recipe?


Author: Sonja Goedkoop

Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is the lead registered dietitian at Zesty, Inc. She is passionate about helping others improve their health through diet and physical activity and believes eating nutritious food should be easy and taste great. You can follow her on Twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.

2 thoughts on “Making Your BBQ Sauce With a Sweet and Spicy Twist”

  1. Hi Peggy,

    The sauce should last up to 5 days in the fridge, and up to 6 months in a well-sealed container in the freezer.

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