Low-carb Grilling

Cut the carbs out of your grilling

Lemon Rosemary Chicken
Lemon Rosemary Chicken. Regarding BBQ Inc.

I've already pointed out that grilling can be a Healthy cooking method. Because a grill is open and allows fats to drain away you typically get less fat from meat grilled than cooked virtually any other way. But what if you are counting carbs? Of course, meat contains virtually no carbohydrates and what people grill the most is meat. It's what's done to the meat that's the problem.

Finding Carbs: If you've been paying attention you've probably realized that nutritional facts are debatable, science is confusing and food companies want to make money no matter how bad or good their products are.

After all McDonald's Crispy Chicken Caesar Salad has more fat than a Quarter Pounder Hamburger. So watch out for store bought marinades, barbecue sauces, and spice rubs. Many commercial barbecue sauces are loaded with calories. In fact, the number one ingredient in some is sugar or high fructose corn sweetener. The typical store bought sauce runs between 5 and 8 grams of carbs per tablespoon. Even spice rubs can contain large amounts of sugar. The safest bet is to make them from scratch.

Adding Flavor: Big food companies seems to think that flavor means little more than salt and sugar. They add them to everything. Personally, I think sweet is just sweet. Flavor comes from a whole host of foods that are typically fat and carb free. Spices, herbs, chilies, garlic, onions are all great ways to add flavor and do it without adding anything you don't want. Take for instance a good marinade for a whole chicken cut up.

This is a couple of pounds of poultry here, already carb free and ready for the grill. Of course, you want to marinate it for healthy and flavor reasons. Try mixing together a couple tablespoons of olive oil (fat here, but not really that much is going to make it to you outer reaches), a 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, three cloves of garlic minced, dried oregano, thyme and mint.

You've got a great marinade with loads of flavor and you haven't added a carb and very little fat. In fact, much of the fat from the olive oil will be lost in the grill.

Barbecue Sauces: I said that most commercial barbecue sauces are loaded in sugars. It's really a shame that we've come to this. Traditional barbecue sauces were simple mixtures of vinegar (usually apple cider) spices and sometimes tomatoes. Of course, tomatoes have sugars, but nothing compared to the vats of high fructose corn sweetener added to sauces these days. A simple sauce is there to add to the flavor of smoked and grilled meats, not overpower it. Your best strategy is to train your tongue not to expect hundreds of calories every time you bite into grilled chicken of smoked brisket. Try flavor instead of sugar.

On a last note, may things come off the grill and head for a bun. Of course, you can go for the bunless hot dog or the burger wrap. There are also a large number of low carb bread and buns available these days. Me, I prefer to choose my carbs, calories and fats wisely.