Monday, February 23, 2009

Review: Big Jake's Apple Honey BBQ Sauce

Big Jake’s Apple Honey

Manufacturer Erickson Foods Inc.

Quality **** (4 out of 5)
Viscosity **** (4 out of 5) This is a measure of thickness, not quality
Aroma **** (4 out of 5)

Appearance **** (4 out of 5)

Packaging **** (4 out of 5)

We have mentioned this before, but Big Jake’s sauces are labeled as North Woods style. What does that mean? Prior to these reviews I had never heard of North Woods style. If I’m going to base my assessment on Big Jake’s sauces, I would say that the style is bold and in your face.

None of the Big Jake’s sauces that I have tried could possibly be categorized as ‘mild’, ‘delicate’ or ‘subtle’. That’s neither here nor there and certainly isn’t a value judgment. These are strong flavors that have a serious impact on the meats you use them on. While they have the thickness of a sauce, the flavor almost reaches the intensity of a glaze.

The sauce comes in a strong glass bottle (15oz.) and pours easily in spite of its thickness. The rich, reddish brown color is as deep as the flavors. There are small specks of this and that in the sauce, offering visual variation. A bit of pepper here, maybe some onion there.*

I’m glad I’m not a betting man, as I would have put down my last dollar when asserting that there was alcohol in this sauce. A quick inspection of the ingredient list puts the lie to my assumption, but the taste and aroma are certainly present. When smelling the sauce, the apple comes out strong, but the aroma is closer to an apple jack or mash than a juice.

The flavor is a bit odd at first, with a strong mix of tomato and apple. The apple flavor grows as the tomato dissipates. The vinegar background and the lack of corn syrup help to offer well rounded flavors that, although strong, don’t bludgeon the taste buds. I found the flavor to pair very well with brisket (I would have expected poultry to be a better natural fit).

This is a winning sauce that I will be enjoying to the last drop. Then I’ll be buying some more.

* Repeated from an earlier review of Big Jake’s sauce.

General Notes:

I do the majority of the sauce analysis on this site. I have often been assisted by Will Breakstone of Willie B’s Award Winning BBQ (pitmaster, competitor and caterer). The foods used with the sauces are usually brisket, pulled pork and chicken. On occasion, other foods will be used if recommended by the manufacturer (ex. burgers, fries, meatloaf, etc.).

Most of the food used for the reviews is cooked on a Weber Smoky Mountain or a Lang 84. The basic BBQ accoutrements (such as tool sets, chimney starters, etc.) are by Weber. Knives are by Mercer Cutlery. Fuel is either a cherry/oak mix or whatever charcoal I’m in the mood for.


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