Published: December 31, 2010
Hi Grilling with Rich Fans!
So I guess that this is last post of 2010! What a year it has been! I can’t believe it is over. Don’t worry fans I have tons of great things planned for 2011 from making great food on the grill to product reviews so I would suggest to stay tuned!
From all of us at Grilling with Rich to your Family – May All Your Wishes for 2011 come true no matter what they are! I only wish you the best from the bottom of my grill… [don't forget to sign up for my mailing list so you can get my monthly newsletter and other great information from Grilling with Rich.com]
Okay, since I have been really busy putting the final touches on my article and I have been really busy planning some other great adventures for 2011 I thought that for the last post of the year I would do a review of some BBQ Sauces that I have recently tried.
In doing some background for this post, I found some pretty interesting history on the BBQ Sauce and its origin’s. It looks like that the origin of BBQ sauce is unclear, but some researchers trace it to the end of the 15th century when Christopher Columbus brought back a “sauce” from Hispaninola (is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti), while other researchers believe that BBQ Sauce was developed in the first American colonies in the 17th Century. But the first commercially-produced BBQ sauce was made by the Georgia Barbecue Sauce Company in Atlanta, Georgia around 1909 and the rest as they say is history.
In America there are many different styles of sauces which depend on regional traditions they include: East Carolina Sauce; Lexington Dip; Kansas City; South Carolina Mustard Sauce; Texas; and Alabama.
East Carolina Sauce is the simplest and earliest of the sauces and was popularized by African slaves who also advanced the development of American BBQ. East Carolina Sauce is typically made with vinegar, ground black pepper, and hot chile pepper flakes, and there is very little or even no sugar in this sauce.
Texas Style Sauce: In some of the older more traditional BBQ restaurants the BBQ sauces are heavily seasoned with cumin, chile peppers, bell peppers, chili powder or ancho powder, lots of black pepper, fresh onion, only a touch of tomato, little or no sugar, and they often contain meat drippings and smoke flavor because meats are dipped into them. The BBQ sauces are medium thick and often resemble a thin tomato soup. They penetrate the meat easily rather than sit on top. Bottled barbecue sauces from Texas are often different from those used in the same restaurants because they do not contain meat drippings.
Kansas City Sauce evolved from the Lexington Dip which was created in Lexington and the “Piedmont” hilly areas of Western North Carolina. The Kansas City sauce is usually made with tomato or is ketchup – based with molasses and/or with other sugars, vinegar, and spices. This is the most common and popular sauce in the U.S. and all other tomato based sauces are variations on the theme using more or less of the main ingredients. Some of the popular brands are KC Masterpiece, Kraft, Hunts, and the sauce that I am going to review Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce.
The very nice people at Sweet Baby Rays were kind of enough to send me a bottle of their various sauces: Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet Vidalia Onion; Sweet and Spicy, Sweet Baby Ray’s Original; and Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar.
Now who is Sweet Baby Ray?? According to their website:
“It all began back in 1985 when a local Chicago boy named Chef Larry perfected his family’s recipe for a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce and entered it into the country’s largest rib cook-off, the Mike Royko Rib-off. Chef Larry called his sauce Sweet Baby Ray’s after his little brother David, who got the nickname shootin’ hoops on the west side of Chicago. On the day of the rib-off, Sweet Baby Ray’s beat nearly 700 entrants to come in second – an amazing feat for an unknown. The rest, as they say, is history. When brother David and friend Mike caught wind of Sweet Baby Ray’s success, they, along with Chef Larry, decided to take the sauce on the road. What would the rest of America think? Knocking on doors, selling to small mom-and pops, even grilling right on the sidewalk, word of Sweet Baby Ray’s savory taste spread like wildfire. By 1994, Sweet Baby Ray’s distinctive bottle could be found on grill pits and dinner tables across the Midwest. With their sights now set on the rest of the US, Larry, David and Mike took to the streets again. From 1996 through 1999 sales soared. Sweet Baby Ray’s also became the BBQ Guru to the taste of Chicago (that’s 4 million visitors and a ton of napkins). By the end of the century Sweet Baby Ray’s US sales had topped 500,000 cases annually. Sweet Baby Ray’s has become the fastest growing BBQ sauce in America and the #1 premium BBQ sauce in grocery. Tomorrow, maybe the universe….”
So after learning some history about BBQ sauce and also some background on Sweet Baby Rays, it was time to taste the sauces.
Now before I begin, let me preface this review with something, by reading the titles of the BBQ sauces I was generally really excited, and I couldn’t wait to try out everyone. At the end I found out my favorite and at the end of the review I will tell you my favorite sauce.
Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet Vidalia Onion: From the name of this BBQ sauce, I got really 1excited to try it. I was hoping that it would live up to all the hype that I created for myself and it surely did. This was actually in the top two of my favorite sauces. It had a great taste and you could taste the onion flavor only if you really thought about it. So I give it four out of five stars!!
Sweet Baby Ray’s Original: For this BBQ sauce I was really expecting nothing different than regular BBQ sauce but I was totally wrong. This BBQ sauce I very much enjoyed! It was the perfect sauce to add to a nice piece of chicken or even some nicely cooked meat. So I give it four out of five stars!!
Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory & Brown Sugar: This sauce I was really excited to try and more importantly really excited that I got a chance to try it. I really found nothing that I didn’t like about this BBQ sauce. I loved the taste profiles of the hickory combined with the brown sugar!! I really enjoyed it, so much that I made it part of the centerpiece of my rotisserie chicken recipe and also I made it part of my secret sauce! So I give it five stars out of five stars!! An A++!!
And the last sauce that I tried was Sweet Baby Ray’s Sweet and Spicy Sauce: This sauce was also in my top two of favorite sauces. What I really liked about this sauce, it wasn’t so spicy and you can defiantly taste the sweet part of the sauce which added a nice touch to it. So I give it a four out of five!!
Overall Experience: I really enjoyed trying the sauces from Sweet Baby Rays! All of them were really good and it was hard to pick out my favorite as each of them had their pluses and minuses but overall there were more positives then negatives so that is always good. And now for the winner/favorite BBQ sauce: Hickory & Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce. The reason why I liked this sauce the best is because it had great flavor profiles of the hickory and the brown sugar which you can definitely taste. In addition the combination of the two flavors also made this sauce my favorite.
And that’s it for 2010 on Grilling with Rich.com. In the short time this blog has grown in popularity and also reach. At the beginning of this year, I would have never imagined that I would be writing about my grilling adventures and more importantly that people from all over the country and the world would be interested in reading about my adventures. I owe this website now to one person and one person only, and wherever this person is, I want that person to know that you continually inspire me to make Grilling with Rich even better, and I thank you so much. So Happy New Year to everyone and I look forward to 2011 and the growth of this website!
See you in 2011 Grilling with Rich Fans!!