I’m about to slather a couple chicken breasts with store-bought barbecue sauce when I pause and turn the bottle around. How much sodium is in the sauce I’m about to use? 350 mg in just two tablespoons! I’d planned to empty half the bottle onto the chicken, so it’s clearly time for Plan B.

Luckily it’s still early this sunny afternoon, so I have time to place an “emergency” call to Matthew Griffiths, a.k.a. Chef Griff. He’s a good friend of mine, a gifted cordon bleu, and the owner of the new Corktown Kitchen just north of the Distillery District in Toronto. Two words: Dine there. You can thank me later.

Chef Griff is inventive and health-conscious, so upon hearing my dilemma he emails me the recipe for his Maple Mango and Sweet Potato Barbecue Sauce. “You had me at maple,” I reply, noting with satisfaction that just one ingredient contains more than a trace of sodium.

Twenty minutes later I return from my beloved corner produce market with everything I need. Then…it begins!

Maple Mango and Sweet Potato Barbecue Sauce:

  • Step 1: Slice up 1 pound of sweet potato and 1 pound of sweet red peppers. Roast it all on the barbecue for about 30 minutes, then puree it all in a blender.
  • Step 2: Stir in a can of no-salt-added tomato sauce, 1 cup of maple syrup, and an entire overripe mango, peeled and chopped. Blend.
  • Step 3: In a pan, caramelize 1 chopped onion and 3 gloves of garlic in 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Then add 1 cup of red wine vinegar and a quarter cup of low sodium soy sauce. (NB: Soy sauce is one of the saltiest foodstuffs going, but it gives this sauce its tasty tang and is difficult to replace.) Reduce for five minutes. Add the contents of the blender and cook on low for 15 minutes.
  • Step 4: Run the mixture through a strainer, and then put everything back in the pan for another 10 minutes on low.
  • Step 5: Get your healthy barbecue on! Serve the sauce in a Mason jar if you want to look especially hip. You can freeze leftover sauce. If you have any. Which you won’t.

Do you have any healthy barbecue recipes or tips? Hook us up in the comments below. And feel free to share Chef Griff’s secret recipe…


About Adam: Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has covered health and wellness for publications such as the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Canadian Family magazine. He’s married, has two young daughters, and is doing his best to live a healthier life.