Replacing ketchup

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Hi, Gary:

I really like the look of some of your recipes, but I don't like using ketchup. (Mostly because of the sugar and preservatives,) Can you suggest a work around, replacement, or other ingredients?

Thanks a lot,

Your statement got me wondering how many of the 130 recipes in “Low & Slow” contain ketchup. The answer? 11. Ketchup is fairly ubiquitous in BBQ, from a hint in a vinegar-based Western Carolina Dip (page 194) to the central ingredient in Classic Barbecue Sauce (page 106). It would appear I am a fan of ketchup, though as a Chicagoan, no ketchup on hot dogs—ever.

Not knowing specifically what recipe(s) you are referring to, I'd suggest either purchase an organic brand of ketchup or make your own. My friend Melissa Graham, The Sustainable Chef, makes a terrific version. I will ask permission to post her recipe.


I was thinking about this post while shopping at a well known natural/organic major chain supermarket last night. I noticed several organic ketchup options that looked like great ingredients to use in recipes calling for ketchup. Didn't seem to have any bad stuff in 'em and there were a number of options including un-sweetened.

I was skeptical too, but recently tried a recipe for Hawaiian pineapple bbq sauce (which turned out incredible by the was a cooked down reduction sauce that was just awesome). A friend saw me using ketchup (house brand organic) while making it and chastised me for using it, until he tasted it and took everything bad he said about ketchup back.

I think, like everything in cooking, the quality of the ingredient trumps the name of the ingredient (combined, of course, with good cooking practices).
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