Wednesday, September 26, 2007

BBQ Rants: Coming Up

I've reviewed two sauces that are a bit off the beaten path.

In the next few days I'm going to go in the opposite direction and review something from the shelf at a supermarket. I'm going to try to find the most ubiquitous and commercial sauce possible and see how it stacks up.

After the supermarket sauce I'm going to review sauce from a restaurant and see how it stacks up to what we can make at home.

If there are any products that you would like to see reviewed, please feel free to let me know.

Thanks for reading!


BBQ Rants: A Quick Follow Up

I have had a few offline discussions with some readers regarding the post where I couldn't understand why competitors would use store bought sauces.

I have come to the conclusion that there are a few legitimate reasons why someone would go that route.

1) You used store bought once and walked. Your next time out you made your own and you didn't.

2) You are the manufacturer. Believe it or not, this is happening more and more often. As means of production becomes easier, the internet makes finding consumers a breeze and bbq continues to rise as a cuisine; there are mom & pop start ups popping up all the time.

3) You are out of your region. If you don't know what is popular in the area the competition is being held it is easy to go down to the local store and see what is popular on the shelves and go with that.

4) Sauces are your achilles heal. I have a friend who is an excellent cook who just can't make decent fried chicken. It's like a blind spot.

I guess that those are reasonable arguments, but I still prefer making my own.


REVIEW: Winningham's Barbeque Sauce

Winningham’s Barbeque Sauce (Spicy)

Manufacturer Winningham’s Meats

Website N/A

Quality *** (3 out of 5)
Viscousness **** (4 out of 5)
Heat * (1 out of 5)
Appearance **** (4 out of 5)

It seems that Winningham’s is a small manufacturer from Ridgeville, South Carolina. They produce a mustard vinegar sauce in a 32 oz plastic bottle. This was purchased in a roadside store on a trip from NY to Florida. In addition to the ‘spicy’ version that I am reviewing, they also sell a ‘mild’ sauce.

As you can see from the rating above, I gave the sauce a 3 out of 5. Unfortunately I have to be ‘universal’ in my evaluation. Used on pork products this sauce is excellent; easily a 4 out of 5. When used on chicken it is a bit overpowering. On brisket or ribs I would consider it better than average.

What is odd is that the ‘overpowering’ aspect of the sauce is not from the ‘heat’, which you might expect from a sauce sold as spicy. I found that the sauce was too sweet and a little cloying when used on chicken. The heat was almost non-existent.

The thickness of the sauce was exactly what you would like to see in a mustard based sauce. The ingredients blended nicely, the sauce wasn’t watery and it adhered to the meats well. The appearance was also exactly what you would want. The sauce had a nice mustard color that retained its hue through cooking.

I would like to state that although the sauce would be too strong on bbq chicken, it would work very well as a dipping sauce for chicken products such as wings or chicken fingers.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

BBQ Rants: Regional Differences

Below is an excellent, if brief, overview of regional differences in BBQ sauces. It is copied with permission from

Within the United States, for example, most experts break down recipes according to nine regions, each having its own slant on what constitutes the perfect barbeque sauce recipe. These regions include:

North Carolina and Virginia
South Carolina
Smoky Mountains
Northern Alabama
Midwest and Plains

In the North Carolina and Virginia regions, the ideal barbeque rib recipe includes a thin vinegar sauce containing black pepper, sugar, and crushed pepper. In South Carolina, on the other hand, a barbeque sauce recipe consists of vinegar sauces and sweet mustard.

In the Smoky Mountains region, a barbeque sauce recipe should be thin and include sugar, tomato, vinegar, and ketchup. Georgia, on the other hand, creates a thin sauce made with vinegar, tomato, and mustard.

Moving a little further south to Florida, a barbeque rib recipe will have a tomato base with lime and lemon juice added. In Northern Alabama, however, a white barbeque is the preference. In order to make this barbeque sauce recipe "white", mayonnaise is used as the base.

Kentucky likes their barbeque sauce to be a little darker. As such, they use vinegar as well as Worcestershire sauce in their barbeque rib recipe.

If spicy is more your thing, a Texas barbeque sauce recipe may be in order. Here, a tomato base is used with a variety of hot peppers added to the mix. The Midwest and Plains region also likes their sauce to be a bit spicy, but the tomato base is usually thicker than in other regions, and a bit sweeter as well.

BBQ Rants: What sauce to use?

If you are the type of competitor that likes to play it safe, you should use the type of sauce that is most popular in the area that you are competing in. If you are in the Carolina's, use a vinegar sauce. If you are in Kansas City, use a tomato based sauce. Should I go sweet? Should I add mustard? See what the locals are doing.

But if you want to go a little deeper into BBQ gamesmanship, look for the kcbs blue shirts. What will the ratio be of women to men judges? As a rule of thumb, women prefer sweeter sauces and men prefer saltier sauces.

Want another edge? Find out who won the previous 3 years and try to find out what type of sauce they used. Does this event tend to reward risk taking? Do they encourage conformity? Use the Friday night set-up time to chat up your neighbors. BBQ enthusiasts will be some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.

Remember, the taste of the sauce isn't the only contributing factor. Feel free to bring food dyes with you. There is no rule about not using a dye in your sauce. Want a rich, brick red color? Go for it. Want to lighten up the color? Go ahead. Trust me, food dye would be last on the list of 'odd' additives to BBQ at competitions.


BBQ Rants: Competition Sauces

Psssst... hey, you... wanna hear a secret?

A significant number of competitors on the BBQ circuit DO NOT use their own sauces. They open up a store bought sauce and either use it straight or doctor it a bit.

I don't get it. At all. Not even a little.

If you are going to deliberate over which particular meats your going to buy the day before the event, trim the meats to your liking, drive to the event, set up, create a rub, prepare the meat and smoke it for up to TWELVE hours why on earth would you not take an hour to make your own sauce?

The only reason that I can come up with is convenience.

Let's look at a few reasons why you would want to create your own sauce:

1) It's not that difficult.
2) You are obviously competing for the fun of it and for pride. Few people make more money from competing than they spend on the hobby. So why not have the same pride in your sauce?
3) In an event where a tenth of a point can cost you the opportunity to win a trophy or a medal, why wouldn't you do something that will separate yourself from your competition? If they are all using KC Masterpiece, why not make your own sauce?
4) You certainly have time to kill. There is more than enough time to make a sauce while your meats are smoking.

Making your own sauce just seems to be a no brainer. So why isn't it done more often?


Monday, September 17, 2007

RECIPE: Vinegar Sauce

Vinegar Sauces are popular in the Carolinas and go great with pork. I actually prefer the vinegar based sauces as they tend to bring out the flavor of the meat as opposed to other sauces that add to the flavor.

Here is a basic sauce that you can try and then extrapolate from:

Basic Vinegar Sauce

1.5 cups apple cider vinegar
.5 cup hot water
.5 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Stir the brown sugar into the hot water until it is dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.

Next up: Mustard sauces

Thursday, September 6, 2007

RECIPE: Making Your Own Sauce

The absolute best way to start making your own BBQ sauces is to make a very basic, mundane sauce to form a baseline or normative. After you are comfortable with this basic sauce, start experimenting. Take out the ketchup and add tomato sauce and brown sugar. Add some cherry juice. Leave out the molasses and add a fruit concentrate.

Once you are comfortable with the basics, go a little crazy.

Here is a very basic recipe to get you started.

1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup molasses
1 cup ketchup
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Each Onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, black pepper, red pepper, salt

Next: Vinegar sauces

REVIEW: CattleBoyz Gourmet BBQ Sauces

CattleBoyz Honey Hot BBQ Sauce

Manufacturer Cattle Boyz Foods Ltd.


Quality ***** (5 out of 5)

Heat *** (3 out of 5)

I have to make a brief confession before I discuss the sauce. I love spicy foods. Always have. I am usually disappointed by foods that are advertised as 'hot' or 'spicy'. I wasn't disappointed here.

It's a bit strange to me that a Canadian manufacturer makes my new favorite sauce, but it's true. I would expect that I would most enjoy a sauce from Carolina, Kansas City or Texas; but so far this sauce has them all beat.

The sauces is definitely sweet, but not cloyingly so. The heat mellows slightly with cooking, but remains enjoyable. I don't know what reference point to use to describe the sauce. It's not K.C., tomato based sauce. It's not a Carolina honey mustard sauce. It really belongs in it's own category.

On the 1 to 5 scale, the heat starts at a 3 when used for dipping straight from the bottle, but dips to a 2 when cooked.

I highly recommend this sauce and I'm not looking forward to my own stock being depleted. Maybe a trip to Canada is in order. : )


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

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Hello and welcome to the Home of BBQ. This site is dedicated to America's native culinary art form, low and slow barbecue.

Although there is an emphasis on reviews, the Home of BBQ presents interviews, recipes and commentary.

I am a Certified BBQ Judge and event organizer. I'm a fan of everything that BBQ represents. The taste, the cultural impact, the methodology and the community of enthusiasts all combine to make the BBQ world unique.

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