Monday, October 6, 2008

Review: Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce

Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce

Manufacturer Country Bob Inc

Quality **** (4 out of 5)
Viscosity **** (4 out of 5
Aroma *** (3 out of 5)

Appearance *** (3 out of 5)

Packaging ** (2.5 out of 5)

The majority of the sauces reviewed on the Home of BBQ website are tasted alone and on pulled pork or brisket. On occasion the sauce will be tried with ribs or chicken. If a sauce is labeled as multipurpose it will often be tried with a burger or fries. We always attempt to match the sauce with what it is recommended for on the label. Sadly, I will never try a sauce on steak. It wouldn’t be fair to me or the steak. It would be a degradation to us both.

Country Bob’s is one of those sauces that is advertised as a ‘catch-all’. Of the five foods listed on the label that this sauce is recommended for, barbecue is listed last. That’s usually not a good sign. Sauces that try to appeal to everyone, for all purposes usually walk down a path of mediocrity. When your goal is to try to not offend any potential market segment you tend to lose focus on producing a great product. Quality is sacrificed for universal appeal.

Does Country Bob’s fall into this trap? Thankfully, no. I would be happy to use Country Bob’s on four of the five foods listed on the label. I wouldn’t use the sauce on chicken, the taste is a bit too intense for poultry.

I’m reviewing this sauce as it is advertised. The words ‘All Purpose Sauce’ is right under the name on the label, so that’s how I’m going to approach it.

The sauce comes in a 13oz. plastic bottle with a narrow aperture. The label is fairly plain with a white background. There are no images or caricatures on the label. If this is counter-programming, it works. It seems like every other sauce on the shelf strives for that ‘down home’ country feel by putting an anthropomorphized cow or pig on the label.

The aroma is intense. A deep and rich experience, it reminds me of A1 sauce.

The details are different, but the intensity is the same.

The sauce has a thick, red coloring. Opaque and dark, the visuals are rich and deep. Unfortunately there is no variation in the coloring and not separate ingredients are visible. It’s aesthetic is attractive, but staid and without excitement.

The taste is not as intense as the aroma, but it is still deep and rich. Strangely, the sauce isn’t as sweet as I had anticipated. The sweetness it did have didn’t offer the tell-tale signs of the corn syrup that are both the second (after tomato paste) and fourth ingredients. This might be due to the molasses, which often helps to round out and deepen flavors.

Country Bob’s sauce does what it advertises very well. It is enjoyable across a range of meats (and yes, with french fries) and generally adds to the flavor. It also changes the flavor and should be used with that in mind. Some sauces (such as many vinegar based products) bring out the flavors and leaves the original profile basically intact. This is different. Country Bob’s layers a new (and often welcome) flavor to the taste that is a great addition to beef (especially burgers) and pork.

Where does Country Bob’s fit in my kitchen? Right were A1 used to be.