Local Spotlight - BH43 BBQ Sauce

Image courtesy of the BH43 Facebook page
Though it has been my policy to only review commercially produced sauces, I love the idea of shining the spotlight on the smallest of operations. When I stumbled upon BH43 BBQ Sauce's Facebook page, I was intrigued. BH43 is a unique BBQ sauce produced and bottled by high school teacher and football coach, Bill Hall (Pittsboro, NC). Bill mixes up the sauce in small batches and fills each bottle by hand. Using basic word of mouth marketing, Bill's BH43 has become somewhat of a local legend. His sauce continues to earn acclaim in Pittsboro and throughout the surrounding area.

Being a huge Richard Petty fan, Bill combined The King's car number with his own initials to give his sauce a name. Bill describes himself as a weekend warrior, but his status is growing among his peers. Thanks to the growing popularity of BH43, Bill often spends weekends cooking at various events. Additionally, his sauce is now being used by a local caterer.

Bill contacted me recently and was kind enough to send me a bottle of his BH43. The sauce is brown and speckled with a LOT of pepper. It's a medium/thin sauce that pours quickly. The label says that BH43 is a ketchup and vinegar blend. The ketchup acts as a thickening agent and sweetener to what would otherwise be a very traditional Eastern North Carolina sauce.

Out of the bottle, the flavor is very tangy. The vinegar hits you immediately followed by a strong peppery finish. North Carolinians (particularly from the East) will appreciate the flavor combination, but Midwesterners beware! This sauce packs a punch.

I used the sauce to finish smoked chicken quarters. The ketchup makes the sauce just thick enough to brush on (and cling to) the meat. I brushed a couple of coats onto each piece of chicken and allowed it to cook into the skin. As with most sauces, the flavor mellowed a bit under the heat. Some of the bite was softened and the sugars became more prominent. The flavor profile transformed a great deal from its "out of the bottle" form.

For the time being, I've chosen not to give BH43 a star rating. I'll save that for when the sauce is commercially produced. However, I can say it's one of the tastiest Carolina style sauces I've encountered. If and when Bill decides to move his operation out of his own kitchen, I have no doubt that his sauce will be a hit with North Carolinians.  If you live in the area and haven't tried BH43, look it up on Facebook. Bill is making new batches almost weekly and would love to share his sauce with you.

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