Friday, April 18, 2008

REVIEW: Russ and Frank's Sassy BBQ Sauce

Russ and Frank’s Mild BBQ Sauce

Manufacturer 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.*

The first thing that hits you is a sweetness that is pleasant and flavorful. Then a mild heat sneaks in and gives the sauce a jumpstart. The heat, which is certainly not overwhelming, is what elevates this sauce to the rarified ‘5 out of 5’ for quality. The spice lingers on the tongue and informs the entire tasting process. The sauce doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of the meat, it enhances it.

‘Sassy’ is an excellent adjective for this sauce. It wouldn’t fall into the ‘spicy’ category and certainly wouldn’t belong with ‘hot’ BBQ sauces. The heat level is moderate at best and perfectly blended with the sweetness of the sauce.

In general, I prefer spicy sauces that offer more heat than this; but in spite of that this sauce gets our highest rating for quality. Truly an excellent sauce.

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


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