Firebud Brands Alabama Salvation Sauce

For the most part, white BBQ sauce is still a regional product. Born in the deep South, Alabama in particular, the mayo based product isn't what most people think of when they picture BBQ sauce. Fortunately, companies like Firebud Brands are working to bring this unique style of sauce to the rest of America.

Firebud Brands' Alabama Salvation Sauce is packaged in 16 oz. plastic bottles. The labels are simple (see above). The sauce isn't bright white. It's somewhat of a cream color with dark spices visible throughout. Salvation Sauce is quite thin and pours quickly.

Salvation Sauce is a blend of mayo and cider vinegar making it equal parts creamy and tangy. Accented with plenty of pepper and savory spices, Salvation Sauce goes beyond the traditional Alabama version. Additionally, the Firebud sauce adds a kick of spice with the inclusion of horse radish.

I used Salvation Sauce on several occasions. It was fantastic right out of the bottle. Though thinner, it had a very similar flavor profile to the horseradish sauce that I make to accompany prime rib. I used it as a dip for vegetables, french fries and chicken strips. I also poured Salvation Sauce over smoked chicken and roasted venison. Regardless of how I used the sauce, it was exceptional. The flavor was bold and complex, but managed to compliment just about everything we paired it with.

Salvation Sauce's strength is its versatility. It can be used like a BBQ sauce for smoked or grilled meats. It can also be used as a mayo substitute in salads and on and sandwiches. It's been my "go to" condiment for the last few weeks.

I've only sampled a few white sauces in my time. Each was very good. Thanks to the addition of horseradish, Salvation Sauce is the best of the bunch. It's the type sauce you can use daily and pair with nearly every meal. It's as good as any product that I've reviewed in recent memory.

Rating: ***** (5/5)

Learn more about Firebud Brands and purchase your own sauces here.

Moonshine Hot BBQ Sauce

Few edibles have deeper roots in Tennessee than moonshine and BBQ. One Murphreesboro, TN company is blending those two Volunteer state staples with undeniably delicious results. Moonshine BBQ Sauce Company produces four different sauces, each with the unique kick of Tennessee moonshine.

I've been asked to review Moonshine's Hot BBQ Sauce. Moonshine sauces are appropriately packaged in pint (16 oz) mason jars. A few scattered pepper seeds can be seen floating in the smooth, bright red sauce.It's on the thick side, but pours quickly from mason jar's wide mouth.

As soon as I cracked the seal on the first jar, it was evident that Moonshine wasn't your average sauce. The potent aroma was dominated by the smell of chili powder. In all my time sampling and reviewing sauces, I had never encountered anything that smelled quite like it. I was really interested to see how this would translate to the sauce's flavor.

Like most sauces, the initial flavor was sweet. However, sweetness was not the dominant element. Savory spices like garlic, onion and chili powder also stood out. The inclusion of moonshine gave the sauce an additional Tennessee tang. This version also includes spicy finish.

I used the sauce both as a dip and a glaze. Additionally, I cooked with the sauce on a couple occasions. While the thick sauce was tasty as a dip, I found it best used as a finishing glaze for ribs. Unlike many other sauces, Moonshine didn't seem to lose any of its bold flavor when hit with high heat. If anything, the flavor became even more robust. The kiss of an open flame really seemed to do wonders for the sauce.
Another great thing about Moonshine BBQ sauce was how it glued to the meat. I brushed it on thick and enjoyed the sticky, finger licking goodness.

It's always a treat to review a sauce that breaks convention. The flavor profile of Moonshine Hot BBQ Sauce is totally unique. I give it high marks for originality and expertly blending spices. It may not be what you expect from a BBQ sauce, but sometimes that's a good thing.

RATING: **** (4/5)

Moonshine sauces can be purchased online HERE.

Hogzilla BBQ Pit (Battle Creek, MI)

Hogzilla BBQ Pit is a full service BBQ joint and catering company with locations in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, Mi. I'd had my eye on the Battle Creek location for quite some time. My co-workers and I frequent the Mexican place next door for lunch. Each time we pulled into the parking lot I'd stare longingly at the roadside smoker that always seemed to be rolling.

Eventually, the temptation was too much. I set up a lunch date with co-workers and we all ventured to Hogzilla for some pit cooked BBQ. The unmistakable smell of authentic, pit cooked BBQ was in the air when we pulled into the parking lot. Like most BBQ joints, the interior was ultra casual. It's the type of place that serves everything on plastic ware. There were roughly a dozen tables inside and some additional exterior seating for the summer months.

I was surprised to learn that Hogzilla offered a lunch buffet. It's not very often you see a real BBQ buffet. I figured the buffet would allow me to sample a variety of what Hogzilla had to offer. It featured smoked pork shoulder that was "pull apart" tender, pork bites (chunks of pork shoulder heavily seasoned and smothered in sauce), pulled chicken, BBQ Spaghetti (noodles and smoked beef chunks tossed in a spicy tomato sauce) and various hot and cold sides. I added a 2 bone rib sampler for good measure.
2 Bone Rib Sampler w/ Hogzilla Original BBQ Sauce

Pulled Pork, Pork Bites & Smoked Chicken
I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food on the buffet. The pork was moist and adequately smokey. The pork bites were peppery and loaded with flavor. The pulled chicken was pretty bland, but at least it was moist and tender. I also really enjoyed the mac & cheese and slaw. The highlight of the buffet was the spaghetti. The tender, smokey beef was a great accent to the tangy, spicy tomato sauce.

The ribs were big, meaty spare ribs. They were definitely smokey, but the smoke ring wasn't visible because they were dipped in sauce. I thought all of Hogzilla's signature sauces were pretty good, but I would have preferred to add my own sauce to the ribs. They had a bit more chew and fat to them than they should have, but the flavor pretty solid.

I'm certainly glad we finally made it to Hogzilla. Everyone walked away satisfied. The buffet was also an exceptional value. You can bet I'll be returning for lunch in the near future.

Michigan BBQ Tour 2014

In 2014, The "Q" Review is on a mission to sample the best BBQ in the great state of Michigan. Each month, I'll feature a new Michigan BBQ restaurant in the hopes of finding truly great BBQ. It's my belief that great BBQ can be found all over this country and Michigan is no exception.

The tour kicks off this month with Hogzilla BBQ (Battle Creek). Additional stops will include West Texas BBQ (Jackson) and House of Pizza & BBQ (Hillsdale). To fill up the calender, I'll be soliciting suggestions from my readers. If you've got a favorite Michigan BBQ joint, let me know.

For now, enjoy a sneak preview of Hogzilla (below).

Grill Daddy

Keeping your grill clean is essential for producing top quality meats and veggies. Nobody wants crusty remnants of past meals stuck to their main course. Unfortunately, maintaining a sparkling clean cooking surface is sometimes easier said than done. While the market is full of grill cleaners and accessories, the Grill Daddy company has created several innovative products for keeping your grill clean and your hand's safe.

The Grand Grill Daddy is a large, stainless steel cleaning tool with two wire brushes fixed to it. The tool features a chamber that holds a couple ounces of water. Grill Daddy relies on the slow release of water through the brush to create steam on the hot grill surface. The steam makes those caked on charred bits much easier to remove.

My initial impression of the Grand Grill Daddy was that it was really bulky. For small/medium grills, I typically use lightweight plastic or wood handled brushes. In addition to being somewhat cumbersome to handle, it's also too large to fit in the storage container that houses my grill brush. Before ever using it, I had immediate concerns about the Grill Daddy's practicality.

Testing the Grill Daddy was easy enough. Dirty grills aren't hard to find in my family. Ultimately, I decided to use the grill daddy on my old charcoal grill. With the cold winter relenting just a bit this weekend, I fired up the long dormant grill for Christmas Eve T Bones.

As you can see, this grill's surface was in need of a good scraping. After lighting the coals, I shut the lid for 15-20 minutes to make sure the fire and grill grate were nice and hot. I then turned the valve on the Grill Daddy to release the water and let the brush do the work.

I can't argue with the results. Though I felt the water was dispersed unevenly, it was more than enough to do the job. After just a 10 second scrub, the grill was filled with steam and the grates were as clean as they had been in years.

There is no doubt that the steam was the key to great results. While I have to wonder if dipping a small wire brush in water before scraping would yield the same results, the Grill Daddy definitely worked as advertised.
The complete unit is very sturdy and will likely last for years. Both brush heads detach easily and are replaceable. There really aren't many components on the brush than can break.

I still can't get past the Grill Daddy's bulk. For someone who grills 3-5 times per week (weather permitting), I just don't see myself reaching for a large brush every day. However, when the grill is in need of a serious clean, having the Grill Daddy will be handy.

In addition to the steam powered grill brushes, Grill Daddy produces a number of other grilling tools. Their telescoping spatula is especially noteworthy for its versatility and durable design. Their tools also feature unique heat guards meant to protect your hand while flipping burgers over a hot flame.

You can see the full line of Grill Daddy products here. They're also available for purchase at major retailers like Target, Home Depot and Amazon.

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