Friday, July 31, 2009

Recipe: Pomegranate Chicken Sauce


Pomegranate Chicken Sauce


The nice people at PAMA sent me some of their Pomegranate Liqueur to check out. Using one of their recipes as a base, I made a thick dipping sauce for chicken. It took me a few minutes to decide whether I liked it or not. Pomegranate is so out of my normal palette range that I had to ruminate a bit. I guess what clinched it is that I kept going back for more.


RECIPE

½ cup PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur

¼ cup cider vinegar

Zest of one lemon

Juice of one lemon

8 oz Apricot preserves

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp minced jalapeno

½ tsp chipotle or aleppo (use aleppo if you prefer less heat)

3 tbsp chopped ginger

4 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp chopped scallions


Sautee the jalapeno and ginger in a medium sauce pan. When the jalapenos are tender, add all other ingredients and turn up the heat. Bring the sauce to a roiling boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool.



Click HERE to check out some more PAMA recipes (for both food and drinks).


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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review: Red Eye Wilson's BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce of the Month Club
www.amazingclubs.com/bbq.html

1-800-507-4660



Red Eye Wilson’s BBQ Sauce

Manufacturer Lovera’s Grocery
Website http://www.iloveitalian.com/


Quality **** (4 out of 5)
Viscosity ** (2.5 out of 5) This is a measure of thickness, not quality
Aroma *** (3 out of 5)

Appearance *** (3 out of 5)

Packaging ** (2 out of 5)


Red Eye Wilson’s is produced by a manufacturer that specializes in Italian inspired foods. As a matter of fact, the BBQ sauce seems to be the only item that they sell that is outside that genre. Lovera’s Grocery is a family owned and run business and I’m hoping that indicates that they take pride in their products.


I’d say that about fifty percent of manufacturers use the same style of bottle for their sauces. Lovera’s is one of them. The glass is thick enough to qualify as ‘sturdy’ with an opening that is wide enough to ensure an easy pour.

Where a caricature or logo usually adorns the packaging, Red Eye Wilson’s has a photo of a man in the center of the package. Is he Red Eye Wilson himself? I have no idea. The visuals on the label are a bit boring and don’t really capture your attention.


On the label for the sauce it is listed as ‘original’. On the website it is termed ‘mild’. I’m assuming that in this case the term is synonymous as they have a ‘hot’ version of Red Eye Wilson’s.


The aroma of the sauce is pretty much tomato and sweetener. The brown sugar is a nice addition and does it’s job well, both in aroma and flavor.


The sauce offers the same opacity and coloring as ketchup, but has other ingredients that are visible. Looser than a standard KC sauce, it is still thick enough to adhere to the meat without a problem. You can feel the other ingredients in your mouth if you try the sauce without the meat (I usually try a sauce on a meat and straight from the bottle), but the feel of them gets lost when eating sauced meat.


The sauce is sweet without being overpowering and is, indeed, mild. That isn’t to say that it doesn’t offer a layered experience. There is a slight kick that hits a few seconds after the other flavors. The kick lingers for a while and is a nice addition. The sweetness falls short of that found in ketchup, which is rare in tomato based sauces but is very welcome. Using brown sugar, the manufacturer avoids the myriad problems found when using corn syrup and it is appreciated.


This is a good sauce that can be heartily recommended. For my palette I think that I would prefer the hot version, but if you enjoy a mostly mild sauce, give this a try.


Repeated from the first BBQ Sauce of the Month review:


The BBQ Sauce of the Month Club sends its constituents 2 sauces every month. The cost for a one year membership comes out to roughly $9.00 a bottle and that includes shipping. For quality sauces that are difficult to find elsewhere, it seems like a bargain. In early July I will have had enough of a sample to comment knowledgeably on their shipping.


Along with the sauce there is a brief newsletter that talks about the current months selections. The sauces arrive well packed in a cardboard box. Their site (see above for link) claims that they test dozens of sauces a month (at a minimum). This volume would seem to allow them room for selectivity.


Aside from delivery to your door and the screening by their tasters, you also have the benefit of receiving a discount on purchases of sauces that you particularly like and would enjoy more of. It seems that the discount varies, but the courteous salesperson I spoke with when enquiring said that they would be happy to let a member know what the discount would be if they gave them a call (see above for phone number).


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Monday, July 27, 2009

Reviews: Mountain Man Chipotle BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce of the Month Club
www.amazingclubs.com/bbq.html
1-800-507-4660

Mountain Man Chipotle BBQ Sauce



Manufacturer Sauce Crafters
Website http://www.saucecrafters.com/

Quality *** (3 out of 5)
Viscosity **** (4 out of 5) This is a measure of thickness, not quality
Aroma *** (3 out of 5)
Appearance *** (3 out of 5)
Packaging **** (4 out of 5)

Made by the same company as Charley’s Hard Times Honey Mustard Sauce and the Fork and Halo series of sauces, this product falls rather naturally into their purview. It has a low entry barrier when it comes to price (as does the ‘Hard Times’ sauce) and basic flavor, while it has the heat that Sauce Crafters is known for.

The sauce comes in a standard, but sturdy glass bottle. Although the sauce is thick, it pours fairly easily. A rich red in coloring, the sauce is fairly opaque. Specks of pepper can be seen, offering a bit of visual differentiation.

The aroma is mostly ketchup with hints of the vinegar and heat to come. It’s a good indicator of the flavor, highlighting the three main components; heat, tomato and sweet.

Better than average, but not by much; this sauce would have a quotidian blandness if it wasn’t for the addition of the heat. Oddly, there is no inclusion of chipotle in the list of ingredients.

There is really no nuance here. The sweetness has no fruit base, the heat has no tartness. No surprises await you here. Unfortunately, that comes across as a criticism. It’s not intended to criticize, but to highlight where the sauce could have been better.

Taken in and of itself, this is a solid effort by a company that has earned my respect. I enjoyed the sauce and wouldn’t have a problem using it on anything but poultry. The flavors are fairly bold and would probably be best on beef or pork.

Would I go out and buy more when this bottle is empty? No. Will I continue to look forward to releases by Sauce Crafters? Absolutely.


Repeated from our first BBQ Sauce of the Month review:

The BBQ Sauce of the Month Club sends its constituents 2 sauces every month. The cost for a one year membership comes out to roughly $9.00 a bottle and that includes shipping. For quality sauces that are difficult to find elsewhere, it seems like a bargain. In early July I will have had enough of a sample to comment knowledgeably on their shipping.

Along with the sauce there is a brief newsletter that talks about the current months selections. The sauces arrive well packed in a cardboard box. Their site (see above for link) claims that they test dozens of sauces a month (at a minimum). This volume would seem to allow them room for selectivity.

Aside from delivery to your door and the screening by their tasters, you also have the benefit of receiving a discount on purchases of sauces that you particularly like and would enjoy more of. It seems that the discount varies, but the courteous salesperson I spoke with when enquiring said that they would be happy to let a member know what the discount would be if they gave them a call (see above for phone number).


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Friday, July 24, 2009

Recipe: Cocoa Lamb Kabobs

I’ve been thinking about rub lately. I’ve been getting a bit bored with the standards and was looking for something a bit unusual. Here is a recipe from Scharffen Berger for a cocoa based rub.


The recipe is from their site (http://www.scharffenberger.com/allrecipes.asp), which is chock full of interesting chocolate based recipes.


Enjoy.







SCHARFFEN BERGER SPICED COCOA DRY RUB ON LAMB KABOBS


This cocoa spice rub works especially well with lamb. Although the smell of this rub is quite chocolate-y, the flavor on the grilled meat is very subtle. We used the rub on cubed lamb shoulder and leg for easy-to-prepare kabobs, but a whole butterflied leg of lamb can be used.


Makes 1 1/2 cups, enough for 5 pounds of lamb.


INGREDIENTS

* 1 cup Scharffen Berger Natural Cocoa Powder (unsweetened)

* 1/4 cup Kosher salt

* 2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes, chopped fine

* 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

* 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

* 4 pounds lamb shoulder and/or leg, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes

* 2 red onions


PREPARATION

1. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, spice grinder, or mortar and pestle. Grind until the pepper flakes are crushed into a fine powder. Store leftovers in a tightly covered jar for up to one month.

2. Generously coat the lamb cubes with the dry rub. Using metal skewers, alter the lamb cubes with pieces of red onion. Let the lamb marinate for up to 12 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

3. Light the grill. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before grilling. Grill over direct coals, turning once after 5 minutes. If grill has a lid, cover the meat while it is grilling. Using an instant read thermometer, check the internal temperature of the lamb cubes and remove when the temperature reaches 125 degrees F for medium-rare meat.


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Friday, July 17, 2009

Review: Gold Rush Jerky - Mild

Gold Rush Beef Jerky – Mild


Manufacturer: Toxic Tommy


Flavor: Mild

Weight: 3.5 oz.

Website: http://www.toxictommy.com


Flavor: **** 4

Aroma: *** 3.5

Texture: *** 3.5

Appearance: **** 4

Packaging: *** 3.5


Ratings range from 1 to 5


Gold Rush Mild jerky comes in a transparent, wide plastic package that allows clear visibility of the product. The label is black with white lettering and has a logo depicting a gold miner. The packaging is professional in appearance but not overly distinctive.


Like the taste, the aroma of Gold Rush Mild Jerky does justice to the title. Although the aroma isn’t strong, you pick up the meat and spices. Unlike some teriyaki jerky products, you don’t pick up a sweet aroma, even though sugar is the third ingredient.


The texture of the jerky is excellent. Unlike some of its competitors, Gold Rush Jerky doesn’t seem designed to rip your molars from your mouth as you are eating. While malleable, the jerky offers enough texture to require strong chewing without becoming overbearing.


As with the other Gold Rush jerky products, the mild version had a wide variety in the width, thickness and lengths of the meat in the package. I’m not sure why this is, but it offers the jerky a more rustic and less processed feel than many of its competitors.


Mild should not be confused with bland. The jerky has a great taste and its lack of a dominant flavor profile allows for the enjoyment of subtlety, something that is often missing in spicier jerkies. I’m not a fan of MSG (the fourth ingredient), but it’s hard to argue with its success here.


If you have someone in your family that shies away from heat, this is the product for them. While maintaining the same quality as the other Gold Rush products, the mild variety appeals strongly to those that prefer nuance to strength.


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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Review: Chicken Grillables

Chicken Grillables



Barber Foods

www.barberfoods.com

140 calories

5 grams fat


I recently received some Chicken Grillables to take out for a test drive. Chicken Grillables are seasoned patties of chicken (mostly breast) that seem to be designed to be a healthy alternative to hamburgers. I’m not a big proponent of processed meats, so I was a bit hesitant going into this review.


I decided to approach this review preparing the food as it seems to be intended and then prepare a second Chicken Grillable completely plain. The first strong point is that the preparation and cooking couldn’t be simpler. On a propane grill you wipe the grill with some oil, preheat the grill for a few minutes on medium and slap on the still frozen chicken. After 6 minutes you flip the chicken over. In 6 more minutes you take the chicken off the grill and get ready to eat.


I had one piece of chicken on a toasted English Muffin with a quick aioli I whipped up and a few tomato slices. The flavor was mild but enjoyable. The chicken retained its inherent taste while offering slight but noticeable hints of the additions to the chicken. Garlic, lemon, onion and vinegar all make an appearance. With the addition of the tomato and aioli, the chicken seemed to work best as a medium for the other flavors.


The texture was relatively firm and the exterior developed a nice crust. As this is obviously not an intact chicken breast, the texture took a bit of getting used to. I’m conditioned to expect a specific ‘mouth feel’ from chicken and this was different. Not bad, just not what I was expecting.


The second patty was eaten naked. No bun, no toppings, just straight Chicken Grillable. Without the impact of the competing flavors, the nuances of the Grillables were more pronounced. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and flavor. I could easily see cutting these up and throwing them in a salad.


As I was informed, ‘WebMD recently named Chicken Grillables™ its best bulk food buy for the grill, in terms of both cost and health’. When you add that to the ease of preparation you would anticipate that taste would almost have to be lacking. When a company touts the health benefits or how ‘quick and easy’ it is to make their product, you start to wonder why they aren’t mentioning flavor.


The health conscious consumer is the lucky beneficiary of a product that succeeds on three levels.


Will the advent of Chicken Grillables entice me to stop marinating, seasoning and grilling or BBQ’ing my own chicken? No. Is it a nice alternative when I’m looking to save time and energy or when I would otherwise be preparing burgers? Absolutely.


You can find Chicken Grillables at many supermarkets and club stores.


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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ramblings: Creating a Smoke Ring

I found this article interesting and informative. It was nice to find an authoritative explanation of the creation of smoke rings. The process is demystified a bit, but the specific nomenclature may be a little off-putting.

I contacted the author and he kindly agreed to the article being reprinted here.

Smoke Ring in Barbeque Meats

How to Get That Coveted Pink Ring With Your Cooking


by Joe Cordray


Slow cooked barbecue meats often exhibit a pink ring around the outside edge of the product. This pink ring may range from 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch thick. In beef the ring is a reddish-pink and in pork, chicken and turkey it is bright pink. This pink ring is often referred to as a "smoke ring" and is considered a prized attribute in many barbecue meats, especially barbecue beef briskets. Barbecue connoiseurs feel the presence of a smoke ring indicates the item was slow smoked for a long period of time. Occasionally consumers have mistakenly felt that the pink color of the smoke ring meant the meat was undercooked. To understand smoke ring formation you must first understand muscle pigment.


Myoglobin is the pigment that gives muscle its color. Beef muscle has more pigment than pork muscle thus beef has a darker color than pork. Chicken thighs have a darker color than chicken breast thus chicken thigh muscle has more muscle pigment (myoglobin) than chicken breast tissue. A greater myoglobin concentration yields a more intense color. When you first cut into a muscle you expose the muscle pigment in its native state, myoglobin. In the case of beef, myoglobin has a purplish-red color. After the myoglobin has been exposed to oxygen for a short time, it becomes oxygenated and oxymyoglobin is formed. Oxymyoglobin is the color we associate with fresh meat. The optimum fresh meat color in beef is bright cherry red and in pork bright grayish pink. If a cut of meat is held under refrigeration for several days, the myoglobin on the surface becomes oxidized.


When oxymyoglobin is oxidized it becomes metmyoglobin. Metmyoglobin has a brown color and is associated with a piece of meat that has been cut for several days. When we produce cured products we also alter the state of the pigment myoglobin. Cured products are defined as products to which we add sodium nitrate and/or sodium nitrite during processing. Examples of cured products are ham, bacon, bologna and hotdogs. All of these products have a pink color, which is typical of cured products. When sodium nitrite is combined with meat the pigment myoglobin is converted to nitric oxide myoglobin which is a very dark red color. This state of the pigment myoglobin is not very stable. Upon heating, nitric oxide myoglobin is converted to nitrosylhemochrome, which is the typical pink color of cured meats.


When a smoke ring develops in barbecue meats it is not because smoke has penetrated and colored the muscle, but rather because gases in the smoke interact with the pigment myoglobin. Two phenomenon provide evidence that it is not the smoke itself that causes the smoke ring. First, it is possible to have a smoke ring develop in a product that has not been smoked and second, it is also possible to heavily smoke a product without smoke ring development.


Most barbecuers use either wood chips or logs to generate smoke when cooking. Wood contains large amounts of nitrogen (N). During burning the nitrogen in the logs combines with oxygen (O) in the air to form nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Nitrogen dioxide is highly water-soluble. The pink ring is created when NO2 is absorbed into the moist meat surface and reacts to form nitrous acid. The nitrous acid then diffuses inward creating a pink ring via the classic meat curing reaction of sodium nitrite. The end result is a "smoke ring" that has the pink color of cured meat. Smoke ring also frequently develops in smokehouses and cookers that are gas-fired because NO2 is a combustion by-product when natural gas or propane is burned.


Let’s review the conditions that would help to contribute to the development of a smoke ring. Slow cooking and smoking over several hours. This allows time for the NO2 to be absorbed into and interact with the meat pigment.


Maintain the surface of the meat moist during smoking. NO2 is water-soluble so it absorbs more readily into a piece of meat that has a moist surface than one which has a dry surface. Meats that have been marinated tend to have a moister surface than non-marinated meats. There are also a couple of ways that you can help to maintain a higher humidity level in your cooker; 1. Do not open and close the cooker frequently. Each time you open it you allow moisture inside to escape. 2. Put a pan of water on your grill. Evaporation from the water will help increase humidity inside the cooker.


Generate smoke from the burning of wood chips or wood logs. Since NO2 is a by-product of incomplete combustion, green wood or wetted wood seems to enhance smoke ring development. Burning green wood or wetted wood also helps to increase the humidity level inside the cooker.


A high temperature flame is needed to create NO2 from nitrogen and oxygen. A smoldering fire without a flame does not produce as much NO2. Consequently, a cooker that uses indirect heat generated from the burning of wood typically will develop a pronounced smoke ring. Have fun cooking. A nice smoke ring can sure make a piece of barbecued meat look attractive.


About the Author:

Joe Cordray is the Meat Extension Specialist at Iowa State University’s nationally renowned Meat Lab, located in Ames, IA. He has been writing for The BBQer since Fall of 2001


(used with permission)


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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Review: Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book




Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book


By: Chris Lilly

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

255 pages

Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book is a strange but wonderful amalgamation of styles. A highly effective mash-up of the anecdotal styles of books such as ‘Smokestack Lightning’ and ‘Searching for the Dixie Barbecue’ and of excellent BBQ cookbooks, such as Ray ‘Dr. BBQ’ Lampe’s ‘Big Time’ books; this is a surprising and rewarding read. Writing any book is daunting for a novice. Writing a book using dual styles and expecting it to succeed on both levels would be foolhardy. It’s a good thing that no one told Mr. Lilly that.

Interspersed with the recipes are stories and biographical information on Bob Gibson, his family and the restaurant. Chris is clearly telling a very personal story here, warts and all. Although Big Bob Gibson is a larger than life character (almost literally), he isn’t dehumanized in the book by ignoring and glossing over his faults. All of the various characters here come to life as their personal stories intertwine with that of the restaurant.

Photographs that document the history of the restaurant and the family help to personalize the anecdotes and provide a warm contrast to the beautiful, lush photos of the food. Although I’m a sucker for anything that will enhance the personal narrative, my favorite two photos are of food and are found on pages 74 and 75. The pictures accompany a recipe for Pecan Crusted Pork Tenderloin Pinwheels. Page 74 showed a complete progression of each step in the preparation of the dish. Page 75 has a mouthwatering full page photo of the dish being cooked on a grill.

Like most BBQ cookbooks, Mr. Lilly begins with the basics. Covering types of grills and smokers, fuels, spices and woods, Chris offers a strong introduction for the beginner. What surprised me in this section was the in depth look at various methods of effective charcoal use for various smokers and grills. I’ve never seen another book go into such detail and the methods were accompanied by photos for easily visualization.

In keeping with theme of assisting the novice, the book is replete with ‘pitmaster’s tips’. These range from the basic to the fairly arcane and usually are no more than a few sentences in length. I’m not sure where they came from (were they submitted to the authors website?), but another regular feature are questions about grilling and BBQ (such as how to keep meat moist or how to properly cook a turkey) that Chris answers. Combined with the segments (broken down into specific decades) that cover the history of the restaurant, it seems as though there was a concerted effort to not allow any wasted space. If that’s the case, I applaud the effort. Nothing seemed superfluous.

The recipes are plentiful and varied. They range from the simple (such as the 4 ingredient coleslaw) to the more sophisticated Bacon Wrapped Shrimp with Basil Stuffing. Not only are the recipes all solid, but Chris includes many of the recipes that he and his team use on the competition circuit. Big Bob Gibson may arguably be best known for their white sauce and I realize that the temptation is to go directly to that recipe (page 218), but spending some time going over the rest of the recipes will be richly rewarded.

If this were any other book, I would be most impressed with the recipes and the generosity of the author in sharing his ‘secrets’. In this case, I have to note again how well each theme of the book succeeds. The photos would feel at home in any pictorial, the anecdotes pull you into the story, the introduction to the hobby is detailed and innovative and the recipes make you want to go out and start ‘Qing.

In the hierarchy of my bookshelf, Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book is going to sit on the top shelf.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Ramblings: Chris Lilly 2 Minute Chicken

It seems that we are on a Chris Lilly kick lately. Later this week we will be posting a review of Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book. To tide you over, here is a video of Chris on the Today Show competing on a Fourth of July special against Elizabeth Karmel from Hill Country.

Chris and Elizabeth each prepare a chicken dish in 2 minutes for a crowd to 'ooooh' and 'ahhhh' over and judges to render a verdict on. Enjoy the frenetic poultry presentation.



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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Ramblings: Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July






I hope that you get to spend today celebrating with friends and family.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Review: BIGS Sunflower Seeds

BIGS Sunflower Seeds



Regular readers will note that we periodically feature a ‘non-BBQ roundup’. Today we are concentrating on a bacon theme, starting with BIGS Bacon Salt flavored sunflower seeds.



These are sunflower seeds that are in the shell and have the exact same flavor as found in Bacon Salt (click here for our review of Bacon Salt). Let’s start with the basics. They are delicious. The flavor of bacon mixed with the nutty earthiness of the sunflower seeds quickly becomes addictive.

If marketed properly, I can easily see these becoming as ubiquitous on the competition BBQ circuit as beer and ABT’s. Sitting around a smoker watching temps at 2:00 am and spitting the shells into an ash bucket somehow feels right. It has that rustic, timeless appeal that matches a cooking method that takes up to 14 hours to cook a piece of meat.

Here’s the kicker. For those of us that are fighting the battle of the bulge, you can sit down and eat these for an hour and consume a couple of ounces. I wouldn’t be surprised if you burn more calories in the eating then you consume. That’s important to note, as once you start eating them you can’t stop.

There are currently 5 flavors available. The plain is what you would expect, slightly salty, with the traditional flavor of unadulterated sunflower seeds. The Bacon Salt flavor mirrors the Bacon Salt seasoning. The Dill Vlasic Pickle is an odd flavor. Not bad, just a different. I haven’t wrapped my head around it enough to render an opinion yet. The Zesty Ranch seeds have a milder flavor than the Bacon Salt, but are no less addicting. The Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing style is designed to give the seeds a kick without overpowering the flavor.


The seeds come in a 5.35 oz. bag and let me assure you, that is plenty. It’s impossible to consume the bag in one or two sittings. The seeds themselves are huge. Chernobyl huge. As such, they are a great medium for the various flavors. The bag comes with a convenient resealable top.

I have to confess that until trying BIGS I had never even conceived of flavored sunflower seeds. I’ve clearly been missing out. I was sort of hoping that the BIGS website had an ‘under development’ section, but alas, it was not to be. I would have liked to peak behind the curtain to see what flavors they were working on. Sour cream and onion? Maybe a malt vinegar to mimic fish and chips? Whatever they produce next, I’ll be buying. The quality of the first five has guaranteed my trying the next five.


Looking for other bacon oriented novelties? How about Bacon Mints? They taste exactly like they sound and no pigs were hurt in the making of this product. They come in a tin, similar to an undersized altoid box, that is redolent with the aroma of smoke. If you are looking for something to finish off your guests meal after your next BBQ, give these a try.


Have a lot of kids attending your next pig roast? Why not offer up some gummy bacon? They lack the flavor of raw bacon, but make up for that with the taste of strawberry. Close enough in appearance to disgust friends as you seem to enjoy uncooked bacon, this product is tasty enough to enjoy while gross enough to have the kids asking for more.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Review: JD's Barbecue Shoppe - Perfect Sweet

JD’s Barbecue Sauce – The Perfect Sweet


Manufacturer JD’s Barbecue Shoppe
Website www.bbqshoppe.com


Quality **** (4 out of 5)
Viscosity ** (2 out of 5) (this is an indicator of thickness, not quality)
Aroma *** (3.5 out of 5)

Appearance *** (3.5 out of 5)

Packaging *** (3 out of 5)


It’s unfair, but this sauce enters the review process with a strike against it. I’m not a fan of sauces whose main flavor profile is sweetness. Will JD’s ‘The Perfect Sweet’ overcome that inherited and purely subjective deficit? Read on.


The sauce comes in a mason jar. Not a mason jar style bottle, but an actual mason jar. It’s not the most convenient vessel, but I like it. Along with the two tone label, the mason jar gives the sauce a rustic and ‘country’ feel. The tan label has a logo with a man in western regalia leaning against the company name. The labeling is understated and simple enough to be distinctive.


This is a strange and malleable sauce. Smelling very different than it tastes, the aroma is full of the sweetness promised by the name, but also has hints of spice that are missing on the tongue. The color is a deep, almost muddled brown in the jar, but is much lighter on the food and gains a reddish hue.


Barely thicker than a vinegar sauce, this is very loose. Repeated application may be necessary. A significant amount of the sauce slipped off the meat.


Let’s get one thing clear about the taste right away. It lives up to the label (well, ok, it might fall short of ‘perfect’). This is a SWEET sauce. As such, you may want to be overly careful of how you pair it with your protein. While fine for ribs or poultry, it might not stand up well to brisket.


Going back to the earlier point of how this sauce changes, the taste differs dramatically when tasted straight from the bottle to when it is cooked on the meat. Most sauces do, but this is significantly more dramatic. The sweetness mellows and isn’t as overpowering.


I’m not usually fond of ketchup (the first ingredient) in sauces as it’s always an indicator of corn syrup. Thankfully, this sauce sugar and brown sugar as its primary sweeteners, avoiding that heavy feel that corn syrup is noted for. For a sauce that has sweetness as its calling card, that was a great decision on the part of JD’s.


So, where do I stand on this sauce? The quality is very good. I’m not its target audience, but I can respect the craftsmanship. It’s not receiving a 5 or even a 4.5 on taste as I would have preferred more nuance to the taste (a more pronounced cider vinegar presence would have been enjoyed), but it’s a solid 4.


When ‘Qing you often have to target your outcome to your audience. For example, my sister can’t take heat of any kind. The next time that I need a sweet sauce for a meal, I’m reaching for this.


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.


www.weber.com

www.pigroast.com

www.mercercutlery.com


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