Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Review: JD's Barbecue Shoppe - Perfect Sweet

JD’s Barbecue Sauce – The Perfect Sweet

Manufacturer JD’s Barbecue Shoppe

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.


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