Tuesday, May 6, 2008

REVIEW: EZ Earl's Smokin-Hot Sauce

EZ Earl Smokin-Hot Sauce

Manufacturer Branding Iron Foods


Quality **** (4.5 out of 5)
Viscosity *** (3 out of 5)
Heat **** (4.5 out of 5)
Appearance **** (4 out of 5)

This sauce was used on pulled pork and brisket that was cooked low and slow with apple wood and oak.

EZ Earls Smokin-Hot Sauce comes in a 15oz glass bottle. The sauce is thick, but pours easily. The bottle has a nice heft to it. The label has the image of an individual that I assume is Earl in iconic western regalia. The overall visual impression is strong and stands out amongst other sauces.

The aroma of the sauce is pleasing and has a nice ‘tang’ to it. It indicates the flavor, but not the intensity, of what is to come.

The sauce is a rich, dark red coloring. Regular readers will note that there are three general ‘looks’ for sauces. The first is a mustard sauce, which will range from a light to a golden yellow color. The second is the traditional KC style sauce that is reddish in color and regular without color variation. The third are sauces that have ingredients that are visible in the sauce. These are usually a darker color or are unusual varieties (sadly, the classic vinegar sauces fall into the ‘unusual’ category). I prefer the sauces that allow you to see seeds or bits of onion and peppers. EZ Earls does a great job giving you a preview of what you are going to be tasting. The seeds are clearly visible and to me at least, it makes the sauce that much more appealing.

As long as we are drawing comparisons, let’s discuss heat. There are two types of ‘hot’ BBQ sauce. The first spicy BBQ sauce is for the average consumer that purchases their sauce at their local grocery store. The sauce is often labeled as ‘bold’ or ‘spicy’. It’s usually neither. The second category is the sauce produced by a manufacturer who knows heat and produces sauces for the scoville aficionado. Unfortunately, these manufacturers are often more interested in the heat than the flavor.

Branding Iron Foods knows heat. Thankfully, they also know flavor and find no reason to sacrifice one for the other. This is a quality sauce that provides a serious kick. For a ‘heat head’ I would rate the heat a 7 out of 10. It’s not going to burn your tongue, but it is going to give you something to remember. A number of the hotter sauces will offer a sweet background to offset the spice (look for the upcoming review of the excellent Tassleberry Farms Strawberry Jerk Sauce as an example). EZ Earl goes in a different direction and offers a savory complement to the heat that provides an excellent base, but a less severe contrast.

The flavor lingers nicely with an enjoyable heat and without the burn that seriously hot sauces often induce. I would NOT use this sauce with chicken or fish. It might make an interesting marinade for the chicken, but not a sauce. Stronger meats would pair well with EZ Earl’s Smokin-Hot Sauce.

This is one of the highest quality spicy BBQ sauces that I have had the pleasure to taste. I recommend it highly to anyone that enjoys serious heat in their ‘Q.


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