Dimples Spicy BBQ Sauce


Dimples Original BBQ sauce was one of the very first products to receive a 5 Star review back in 2011. The sweet, tangy North Carolina sauce remains one of my favorites to this day. It's got nearly everything I'm looking for in a BBQ sauce: loads of natural sweetness, balanced savory spices and moderate vinegar tang. The only thing missing is a touch of heat.

It's not easy to improve on a 5 star product, but Dimples has really outdone themselves. They've kept everything that's great about the original sauce and added another dimension to just the right degree. Many companies release spicy versions of their sauces. Unfortunately, what's great about the original product often gets overshadowed by the newly added heat. To their credit, Dimples has found the perfect balance.

Like the original, Dimples Spicy is a medium/thin sauce. The spicy version seemed to be a bit darker red, but that may have just been my perception. I didn't actually have the two sauces side by side. Both are packaged in 16 oz. plastic bottles.

Because of its consistency, Dimples is incredibly versatile. It's equally effective as a grilling glaze or dip. The flavor pairs perfectly with pork and chicken, but it's delicious on brisket and burgers as well. I also love it poured over any kind of fried potato (tots, fries, hash browns).  Most importantly, Dimples Spicy was a key ingredient in the best pulled pork sandwich that I've ever created.

To date, I've reviewed more than a hundred sauces. Dimples Spicy ranks among the very best. I've already contacted a close friend in North Carolina and requested that they bring plenty of Dimples Spicy with them on their next trip to Michigan.

If you like sweet, tangy sauces and can stand a little bit of heat, Dimples has exactly what you're looking for. Check out the Dimples website to learn more about their products and order some of your own.

Rating: (5/5)





Maui Pepper Co. Hot Sauces


Maui Pepper Co. hot sauces are another great line of products from Tahiti Joes. Like "Joes", these sauces feature unique pairings of fruit with a variety of scorching hot peppers. Each sauce is island inspired with tropical flavors and plenty of heat.

Thanks to Tahiti Joe, I've had a bit of experience with sweet, Polynesian hot sauces. However, I've never tasted anything like the flavor combinations that Maui Pepper Co. has put together. The sauces are the sweetest I've tasted. However, you don't get to enjoy that sweetness long because it's followed up by a wave of heat.

There are currently nine different offerings in the Maui Pepper line. The entire product line is intriguing, but I will focus on two particular sauces for this review. Strawberry Meltdown and Chipotle Raspberry sounded so strange (and delicious) that I had to try them immediately.

The base for nearly every hot sauce that I've encountered has been vinegar and peppers. Strawberry Meltdown completely bucks tradition by using sweetened strawberries as the primary ingredient. They even add honey and apple juice for additional sweetness. So far, it sounds like a dessert syrup that you'd drizzle over ice cream.

I was really surprised by the sauce's sweetness when I first tasted it. I'd never had a hot sauce that was quite so sweet. That initial surprise was followed by slow building burn. The sauce is hot, but not "super hot". Having never actually tasted a strawberry sauce before, I wasn't sure what to use it on. However, I found several potential applications. It's great on things like grilled fish or chicken. Strawberry Meltdown adds a nice bite to fresh salads. It can also be used to add heat to your favorite sweets.....even ice cream.

Chipotle Raspberry is another sweet offering from Maui Pepper Co. Though I didn't find it nearly as sweet as Strawberry Meltdown, it still had a distinct fruit flavor. This sauce uses vinegar, raspberries and mangoes for it's sweet and tangy base. It too, is great for chicken and seafood.

Maui Pepper Co. proves that hot sauces don't have follow a particular set of rules. With creative  and deliciously sweet flavor combinations, these sauces have carved their own niche in the market.

Check out the Maui Pepper and Tahiti Joes' product lines at http://tahitijoeshotsauces.com/

Strawberry Meltdown Rating: (4/5)
Chipotle Raspberry Rating: (3.5/5)

Kyvan Sweet BBQ Sauce


As tailgating grows in popularity, the relationship between football and BBQ becomes even more evident. These days, competition quality Q can be found smoking in stadium parking lots all across the country. Saturday and Sunday afternoons have become showcases for pit masters to both feed and entertain fans before and after the big game.

It's no surprise that football players sometimes get into BBQ as well. Ex Mississippi State standout and 13 year NFL pro, Reggie Kelly, is a prime example. After completing his football career, Reggie transitioned to the food business. Leaning on his Southern roots and love of cooking, Reggie Kelly started Kyvan Soul Food Selections (named after his children, Kyla and Kavan).

Kyvan's product line includes several sauces (BBQ / Wing), spice rubs, salsas and fruit spreads. Since we try to focus primarily on BBQ, Reggie was kind enough to send me some of his Sweet BBQ Sauce to review. Kyvan sauces are packaged in 16 oz. plastic bottles. The color scheme and design is very similar for all of their sauces. The Kyvan logo is featured prominently (front and center) on each bottle. The sauce is a rich, dark brown in the bottle. It's consistency is "syrup like" and pours pretty quickly from the bottle.

The label says "Sweet BBQ Sauce" and that's no lie. The tomato based sauce uses both brown and white sugar, along with HFCS, for a multi layered sweetness. Savory ingredients like onion and garlic are present, but don't quite balance the sweetness. There is also a significant smoke factor that was somewhat unexpected, but very enjoyable.

When tasting the sauce, I also felt like their was a slight Polynesian note to the flavor that I couldn't quite place. Whatever it was, it worked well with the smokiness. As I've said time after time, I'm a sucker for a sweet BBQ sauce. It doesn't get much sweeter than Kyvan's.

My family and I used Sweet BBQ Sauce a number of times as a dip and grilling glaze. It won rave reviews from everyone at the table. It was especially good on baby back ribs. The sauce brushed on smooth and glistened on the ribs as they finished grilling. All those sugars got even richer when heat was applied.

Kyvan's Sweet BBQ Sauce is an excellent compliment to ribs and chicken. It also works well as a dip for chicken fingers / nuggets. When using as a grilling glaze, it's important to be conscious of open flames because of the high sugar content. Sweet sauces will char in a hurry when near an open flame.

Kvan Soul Food Selections can be found in Walmarts and several independent grocers throughout the South East. You can also purchase Sweet BBQ Sauce directly from the source at www.kyvan82.com .

Rating: (4/5)

Willie's Hog Dust


I reviewed Willie's Hog Wash a couple of months ago, but it was actually the rub, Hog Dust, that initially interested me in Willie's products. Hog Dust is a great name for a BBQ rub, especially for a company based in South Carolina where pork is king. It's a product I'd had my eye on for quite some time and was anxious to give it a try. 
 
Blended specifically with pork in mind, Willie's Hog Dust is a sweet and salty mix with a hefty amount of paprika. Onion, garlic and a variety of other spices provide savory accents and balance the flavors. Salt, sugar and paprika are always a solid foundation for a good pork rub. The key, of course, is how skillfully the core ingredients are blended.
 
Hog Dust comes in three varieties: Original, Sweet and Spicy. All three are quality blends with similar base ingredients. I've been using each of them constantly for the last couple of months. I've applied Hog Dust to ribs and pork butts, but I've also used it on everything from burgers to veggies.
 
I've found Willie's Hog Dust to be a versatile product. The sweet and salty blend  has been solid in nearly every situation. My favorite use thus far has been pork ribs. I dusted a couple racks liberally with Hog Dust and smoked them for five hours with aromatic pecan wood. The rub created a delicious mahogany bark that was perfect on the beautiful racks.
 
The salt / sugar ratio in this rub is right on point. I love the caramelization that I get from the sugars, but also the savory flavor provided by the salt and spices. Regardless of what type of meat your grilling or smoking, Willie's Hog Dust will provide ample flavor.
 
It's been quite some time since I've had a rub that I liked as much as Hog Dust. Hot, Sweet or Original, It's all fantastic. It's a product that I would recommend for both home cooks and competitors.
 
Check out Hog Dust and all of Willie's fine products online @ http://willieshogdust.com/
 
Rating: (5/5)
 
 
 


TexJoy Steak Seasoning


Though they new produce a full line of spices and blended seasonings, TexJoy's roots can actually be traced back to a small coffee company founded in 1921. The Texas Coffee Company supplied Beaumont and the surrounding area for years before the TexJoy line of seasonings was born. 

Tex Joy's product line is incredibly vast. In addition to grinding and packaging nearly all the common spices found in your pantry, they also have a variety of steak, BBQ and fajita seasoning blends. These products can now be purchased in retail stores all over the Southern United States. 

The first product I got my hands on was their original steak seasoning. Like all TexJoy products, the Steak Seasoning is packaged with a bright yellow label and their contrasting red label. My sample came in a 5.25 oz. shaker, but most of their seasonings are available in a variety of sizes.  

The first three ingredients listed on the package are salt, garlic and black pepper. As far as I'm concerned, that's a pretty good place to start (and stop) for steak seasoning. It also lists "other spices" and MSG. Oddly, the seasoning primarily orange in color which may provide hints of what the "other spices" are. The spices are finely ground making it difficult to spot the individual elements. 

I've been using this seasoning regularly on everything from steaks to fish and vegetables. It's essentially become my salt replacement and all purpose seasoning. For steaks, I prefer a more coarsely ground seasoning blend. However, it's been pretty tasty on fish and veggies. 

In today's crowded market, TexJoy's Steak Seasoning does little to stand out. I've used the product with moderate success, but it doesn't quite rate as a top shelf option. However, it does work well as a seasoned salt for nearly any application as long as you're not scared off by the inclusion of MSG.

Check out TexJoy's entire line of seasonings, spices and coffee online HERE

Rating: (3/5)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes | Converted by BloggerTheme