I’m going to make a statement that is going to be unpopular to the majority of people who are reading this. Don’t worry, It’s OK if you disagree because I’m going to spend the next five minutes of your life convincing you that you’ve been absolutely destroying your meat with a disgusting sugar sauce that shouldn’t be allowed allowed to have the word “Barbecue” on the label. So here we go.
Sweet Baby Ray’s is bad. It’s really bad.
But why you might ask? Most of you have probably been using Sweet Baby Ray’s your entire life. These $2 bottles of “barbecue sauce” sit on end caps in your local grocery store every summer screaming for you to buy it. That nice vintage looking bottle with “This Sauce is Boss!” written on the neck of every bottle. That sweet tasting brown sauce that seems to enhance the flavor of your family’s boiled ribs, chicken cooked on the gas grill and even overcooked pork chops. Sweet Baby Ray’s seems to make everything great!
No. Just no. Sweet Baby Ray’s is not barbecue sauce. Barbecue is beautiful. Barbecue is flavored by wood or charcoal and gives the meat a naturally smoky flavor. Not sauce with smoky flavoring. Barbecue sauce can be a lot of fun and is often crucial to give piece of meat a nice caramelization on the outside — And before I go on, yes I know caramelization requires sugar.
But what if I told you that for every two tablespoons of Sweet Baby Ray’s you slather on your overcooked ribs, it’s the equivalent of eating the same amount of sugar as three Oreos?
Would you ever add 4 sugar cubes to your coffee? I wouldn’t either. Just a heads up, when you dump two tablespoons of Sweet Baby Ray’s on your chicken wings you’re eating just that. Four cubes of sugar.
Did you know that every time you destroy a perfectly good piece of brisket with two tablespoons of Sweet Baby Ray’s you’re eating 34% of your daily recommended sugar intake?
Here’s where things get really creepy. There is no actual sugar in Sweet Baby Ray’s. Through advances in sweetener technologies over the years, Ray is able to lower the cost of his sauce by using both High Fructose Corn syrup AND corn syrup which has satisfied Wal-Mart customers across the country.
Now let me wrap this up for you and clear up a few things. I’ve never claimed to be a health conscious eater. I rarely read nutritional labels and have frequented many all you can eat buffets. My point in all this is that you are essentially pouring corn syrup with smoke flavoring over a beautiful piece of meat. Think about that for a second. A living thing lost its life and you are pouring a substance on it whose creator won’t even go the extra mile to use real sugar. Not trying to go all hard hitting on you with that statement, but seriously. Use a quality sauce or no sauce at all. The purpose of barbecue sauce is to add that tang to your meat, not to completely overtake the flavor with massive amounts of sugar.
So do yourself a favor and sample a different sauce the the next time you fire up the grill at home. You can do better than Sweet Baby Ray’s. There are hundreds of options out there who actually use sugar to sweeten their sauce and whose purpose isn’t to be the focal point in your food. Barbecue sauce should be the Jamal Crawford of your barbecue, a crucial role player who comes through when you need him and has been there for you throughout the years.
If you really want to get crazy, here is a recipe for something that tastes just like Sweet Baby Ray’s but is actually good.
- 1 bottle bottle organic ketchup (Real sugar, plus you shouldn’t be using ketchup for anything else anyways)
- 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1.5 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (you could add more if you prefer a smokier BBQ sauce)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
Directions: Combine all ingredients. Cook for five minutes Enjoy not eating Sweet Baby Ray’s.
I hope this information has allowed you to move past this kindergarten barbecue sauce and graduate to treating your meat to something better. You’re not a four year old dipping chicken nuggets in barbecue sauce.
You’re better than Sweet Baby Ray’s.