Saturday, April 19, 2008

REVIEW: Russ and Frank's Fiery BBQ Sauce

Russ and Frank’s Mild BBQ Sauce

Russ and Frank’s

Quality ***** (5 out of 5)
Viscosity **** (4 out of 5)
Aroma ** (2.5 out of 5)
Appearance *** (3 out of 5)
Packaging **** (4 out of 5)

This sauce was used on ribs, pulled pork and chicken that was cooked low and slow over cherry and apple (ribs and pork) and birch (chicken).

Russ and Frank’s Award Winning BBQ Sauces are a product of Iowa and if they are indicative of local products, I’m going to be spending a lot more time buying BBQ stuff from Iowans. They offer three sauces, ranging from mild to fiery.

The sauces come in an 18oz mason jar like bottle. The labels on the bottles are a tan color with mostly brown and white lettering. The labels have a nice ‘retro’ feel. The labels are a welcome departure from the overly slick packaging that has anthropomorphized chickens, pigs or cows.

The sauce had a ‘ketchupy’ aroma that was pleasing but didn’t do the taste justice. You could detect the tomato, sweetness and a bit of vinegar. The color was a dark red without variation. You weren’t able to see any of the separate ingredients, which is often visually appealing in lighter sauces.

The sauce has a nice thickness with a viscosity that allows for great adhesion to the meat. The sauce thickens over time and also seems to thicken when refrigerated.*

Let’s start with what would normally be a review end-cap. How much do I like this sauce? I’m almost done with the bottle. Why is that significant? I have about 20 bottles of sauce waiting to be reviewed and I have another 40 or so opened bottles in the house. I clearly have my choice of sauces and I keep going back to Russ and Frank’s.

This is the hottest of the Russ and Frank’s sauce, but comparatively it isn’t all that spicy. On the 1 – 10 heat meter I would give it a 6. It seems that there are two schools of thought for most manufacturers when creating a spicy BBQ sauce. The first group creates a hot sauce and modifies it to resemble a BBQ sauce. The second modifies a BBQ sauce to make it spicier. Both can be successful, but I prefer the second method.

Russ and Frank’s has taken a BBQ sauce and successfully added enough heat to retain the integrity of the ‘BBQ’ aspect while providing the kick that spice heads look for. It isn’t an overpowering heat, as a matter of fact it is only slightly hotter than their ‘sassy’ variety.

I use the sauce on poultry as well as ‘heartier’ meats, but I enjoy spice (maybe too much). For most people, you may want to use this with brisket or pork.

There are few manufacturers that produce across the board quality. Russ and Frank’s is one.

* Repeated from the review of Russ and Frank’s mild sauce


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