Low Carb BBQ

Although I’ve done lots of grilling (fast and hot) I’ve not done much real BBQ (low and slow). A recent post by bsc had this very intriguing picture of something called a Bacon Explosion.

I think this has put me over the edge, I’m going to purchase a smoker so I can make one of these for the next pot luck I attend. I envision the meat lovers offering rave reviews, and the vegetarians shaking their heads in disbelief.

The problem is that most BBQ depends on sauces and rubs containing lots of sugar, molasses or HFCS.
Actually most of the time if I’m consuming some brisket, say, I’ll leave off the sauce, preferring to not hide the smokey flavor. But the Bacon explosion would seem to need a rub at a minimum.

Does any one use a rub without any sweetener? If you use a sweetener what type of artificial sweetner do you use. I use stevia will that work? Please share your carb friendly sauce or rub recipes, or just general BBQ tips.

Also, I’ve always thought I’d get a drum smoker with a side mounted smoke box but reading reviews people seem to love the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker which is an upright design which incorporates a pan of water between the fire and the meat to keep things cool and help moisten the meat. Any recommendations concerning smokers or other BBQ essentials would be much appreciated.

This won’t help you with your dilemma, BUT. . . . .
Well in my opinion, down here in Texas, the best “rub” is salt and peper. My daddy would let it set over night in a whole body beer, then on the pit for a couple of hours (in the beer, in a disposable pan covered). After a couple of hours, put directly on pit. Then while cooking on pit use a mopping sauce that had butter, another full body beer, worchester sauce, lemon juice (throw the juiced lemon rinds in too) ,onions, garlic salt & pepper and let it cook for a couple of hours. NO SUGAR!!  Mop liberally about every hour, then half way through (from 6 to 10 hrs) turn and continue to mop. This is kinda close, BBQ. Unforunately my daddy has been gone for over ten years, he really spoiled me with his brisket and I really miss his cooking. Now I am very picky about my bbq and have a hard time finding places. In my opinion, again, if you have to have bbq sauce - the bbq ain’t worth eating. He didn’t use chili powder or sugar, just simple ingredients. He was on a cook team and they won many different awards. Good Luck!!

My late wife’s family is from central Texas. The first time I had BBQ there was a brisket smoked with mesquite. I decided after my first bite, this was the way to do BBQ. I don’t think there was any sugar on that brisket. I’m glad to hear no sugar and simple ingredients are OK… The link should get me started. Thanks so much

I prefer dry rubs to sauce. A sugar in dry rubs helps form the yummy crust, so it’s not just for flavor. www.amazingribs.com has tons of great BBQ info. We’ve used our gas grill as a smoker. Here’s one of my favorite rubs (from amazingribs.). Amount of sugar is too small to effect BG. I’ve also used decaf espresso with spices as a rub. It forms a wonderful bark & keeps juices in.

About half a cup

3 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons table salt
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder (I use granulated garlic–more flavor)
2 teaspoons chili or ancho powder
1 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne powder

  1. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl.

  2. Lightly oil the meat with vegetable oil. Many of the flavors in the rub are oil soluble and the oil helps penetrate the meat. So does the salt, so don’t leave it out. Spread the rub generously on beef brisket, not so thick on other, thinner cuts. You can apply it just before cooking or let it marinate overnight.

All righty then. I am going to weigh in and cause a stir. I use homemade rubs, mops and sauces. I have recipes. You can easily make sauces without sugars or fructose as sweeteners, just use stevia or your favorite artificial sweetener. But. It is not the same.

Part of the bbq result that you need is caused by a Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction that takes place under heat when you have amino acids and a sugar. This is what gives meat a wonderful brown and contributes to the wonderful crust, a combination of browning and carmelization. So I do add table sugar to some of my rubs. And if you figure it out, a couple teaspoons of sugar (at 4.2g carbs each) over a whole brisket, when a big part of it falls off, does not result in a huge carby bbq.

I have a water smoker that I’ve had forever. I have several of Steve Raichlen’s books. You can go through and adapt almost all of his recipes to be low carb by simply replacing artifiical sweeteners for sugar.

Thanks Gerri,
The amazingribs website is… amazing and is the same one Alicia linked to for the Texas brisket instructions. Thanks to both of you for the link, it’s a great resource. I think your rub may be the ticket for the Bacon Explosion. The website shows a final coating of BBQ sauce I think I’ll skip that. I didn’t know you could use a gas grill for smoking as you do, the amazingribs site also has instructions on how to do this if anyone is interested.

I’ve never used a smoker as a comparison, but our gas grill seem to work beautifully for smoking. I’ve smoked meat & fish. Just need a decent thermometer.

Yep, some sugar is needed. I mentioned that above.

Thanks for the scientific reason for including sugar in a rub, and as you and Gerri point out the amount of sugar is not an issue. Although I’ve never seen a water smoker in action I’m leaning that way.

So have you ever made a Bacon Explosion?

Ok, you found me out. I’ve never actually made the explosion. I just found it fascinating.

The water smoker works well. Smoking can really dry out you bbq, hence the need to mop. A water smoker keeps the temp limited to the boiling point of water and humidifies things.

I totally agree, sometimes sugar is needed. Depending on the tolerance to the sugar, I would go ahead and use the real thing. Maybe cut back on the amount.

I am not a big supporter of the artificial sweetners, I think they taste nasty and ruin the taste of things, BUT if it was you have to do, then do it.

Well I thought I'd add a coda to this post. It took a year but I finally got a smoker and have missed very few weekends firing it up since. I enjoy the challenge of adapting recipes that will not have a negative effect on my blood sugar.

Here's my take on the Bacon Explosion also known as a fatty (great LCHF name!)

Here’s some country ribs.

The place I work bought a smoker and I am the company pitmaster. I make these for lunch and they are everyone’s favorite, even though they are non traditional in that they have no sticky sweet tomato based sauce. I’ve been using a mop that is mostly butter with apple juice, apple cider vinegar, worchester sauce and various spices. It makes a nice bark and keeps things moist. Although apple juice is something I would never drink. I don’t see any effect on my blood sugar. As BSC, Gerri and others noted the amount is negligible. and much of it drips off anyway. I also use this as an injection for chicken, it really makes for a moist bird.