Doc's BBQ Sauce

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The Cooking Cardiologist Dr. Richard Collins shows us how to make healthy BBQ sauces.

Doc’s BBQ Sauce

Richard Collins, MD

The Cooking Cardiologist®

Susan Buckley, RD

South Denver Cardiology Associates

1000 SouthPark Drive

Littleton, Colorado


This is a double “Doc sauce” from the Cooking Cardiologist and Dr Pepper. Surprisingly, the origin of Dr Pepper (now without a period after “Dr”) is not known. Some believe it came from a pharmacy recipe in the 1800’s for indigestion. Others maintain that the name came from Dr. Pepper, a friend of the founder. In any event, studies have shown that caffeine is now beneficial for the heart.


The original of this sauce is also unknown, as many recipes are listed on the Internet. Here is my variation. The BBQ sauce creates a great caramel flavor, although I prefer it as a dipping sauce too. The sauce will keep for 2 weeks covered in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Do not use diet Dr Pepper, as caramelized sugar-substitutes are not healthy when subjected to high intense heat.


2 T olive oil

4 garlic cloves (do not chop, skins removed)

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 cup No Salt Ketchup or regular Ketchup if salt is not a problem

3T tomato paste

1 12-ounce Dr Pepper

½ t yellow mustard powder

½ cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce, reduced sodium

½ cup packed brown sugar

2t chipotle chili powder

1t black pepper

1t kosher salt


In a large saucepan, add the oil and add garlic cloves. Bring to heat and sauté the garlic until slightly browned. Don’t over heat the oil. Remove the garlic cloves. The oil is now infused with garlic. Add the onions (again very finely chopped) and sauté until softened. Add the ketchup, tomato paste and Dr Pepper. Next add the cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Stir and bring to a simmer. Add the chipotle chili powder. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Adjust flavors with salt, pepper or added yellow mustard powder. Continue simmering for another 15-20 minutes until sauce thickens.


Makes approximately 3 cups. Serving size: 1/4 of a cup.

Nutrition Info: Calories: 110, Total Fat: 2.5 g, Saturated Fat: 0 g, Trans Fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 300 mg, Carbohydrate: 22 g, Fiber: < 1 g, Protein: < 1 g

Diabetic Exchanges: 1 ½ Carbs



Raspberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce


Here is a variation of the same sauce without using Dr Pepper. The fruit creates the caramel flavor. The BBQ sauce is great on chicken or pork. To serve the sauce as an extra dipping sauce, be sure to use the BBQ sauce separately for the basting sauce. Mix 1 cup of the sauce with 1-cup fresh raspberries. Serve on the side.


In place of the Dr Pepper, add 12 ounces Ocean Spray Cran-raspberry juice. Omit the chipotle chili powder and use a 7-ounce can of Chipotle peppers in Adobe sauce. Chop the peppers before adding to the sauce mixture with the Adobe sauce. Add 3 cups of fresh raspberries and simmer the BBQ sauce for 30 minutes. Strain the sauce to remove seeds in a medium holed colander. The yield should be approximately 2 cups.


Technique for proper BBQ.

Per-cook the chicken or pork to 1200F. Then begin basting the chicken or pork with the BBQ sauce over a medium to low heat. Do not blacken and avoid any direct flames. Turn frequently to create even browning. The temperature of the meat should reach 1700F for poultry and at least 1500F for pork (not ground).

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