It doesn’t get much more Paleolithic than barbecue. Think Fred Flintstone and that slab of car-tipping ribs … or something like that.
But for folks following a Paleo or Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet, finding tasty sauces that meet the requirements can be difficult if not impossible, says Brendon O’Neill.
So O’Neill founded KC Natural, an allergen-free barbecue sauce company based in midtown.
“About four years ago I noticed I was having digestive issues pretty much every day, and I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Long story short, I had to cut gluten out of my diet,” he said. “That’s also how I got to be familiar with the allergen community — people with celiac disease and other restricted diets.
“Our mission is to make sure that as many people as possible get to enjoy good barbecue.”
KC Natural has three sauces: Original Backyard Blend, Sriracha-Q and its latest and best-selling offering, Mastodon Paleo AIP sauce, which claims to be “the first non-tomato, nightshade-free barbecue sauce.”
For those of us not hip to Paleo talk, “nightshade-free” means there are no spices in it that are derived from peppers.
In the kitchen: About making these sauces, O’Neill said, “It was challenging, because you’re so restricted in the area of spices. It was difficult from a taste standpoint … fresh garlic, lemon, those kinds of things just cost a little bit more.”
Saucy: O’Neill is the founder of KC Natural, but he also credits himself as the “sauce creator.”
“I have final say on all of the final decisions day to day, and I write the recipes for the sauces in my kitchen and then take it to Original Juan Specialty Foods. We produce the sauce there at their facilities.”
In good taste: “My first priority was figuring out the flavor,” O’Neill says about the sauce. “It took a few months of trial and error and throwing away a lot of barbecue sauce.”
Burn artist: O’Neill barbecues in his backyard and even has a smoker. His specialty?
“I hate to sound cliche, but I really like burnt ends. I can incorporate burnt ends into any meal.”
One of his favorites is a burnt ends breakfast scramble.