Grumpy's Private Reserve Bold XX

After reviewing hundreds of products over the last three years I've become a bit jaded. Though most of the products that I'm fortunate enough to review are quite good, it's rare that any of them actually "Wow" me. On the rare occasion that I find a truly exceptional product, I can't wait to spread the word. It just so happens that one of those "Wow" products came to my doorstep last week.

Grumpy's Private Reserve Bold XX BBQ sauce is as good as (or perhaps better than) any Kansas City style sauce I've used. One of four natural, small batch sauces from the Colorado based company, Bold XX elevates the convential sweet, smokey genre with a smooth, complex and slightly spicy flavor that had me swooning almost immediately. Earning both Scovie and Golden Chile awards, as well as high honors at the American Royal, Grumpy's Bold XX is impressing BBQ aficianados all over the country.

Grumpy's sauces are packaged in 16 oz glass bottles. Each sauce is labeled with a unique solid color as well as Grumpy's animated sketch pig logo. In the bottle, the sauce is a dark mahogany that is typical of Kansas City style sauces. Though relatively thick, the sauce still pours a bit faster than common national brand KC sauces.

It has become a bit of a ritual to cook BBQ every Saturday during the college football season. There is no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than eating great food while enjoying a Michigan Wolverine victory. Babyback ribs were on the menu last weekend and Grumpy's Bold XX was my sauce of choice.

I brushed Grumpy's Bold XX on the ribs as they finished on the grill. The sauce proved to be a perfect selection for ribs. It brushed on easily and stuck to the meat well. The color was fantastic and the sugary sauce gave the bones a great sticky finish. As the sauce heated, the sweet, smokey, tangy and spicy elements came together for surprisingly rich, complex taste with just enough heat to leave your lips tingling.

Though perfect for ribs, Grumpy's Bold XX would be equally tasty on smoked or grilled chicken. I recommend heating the sauce to get the complete picture of its flavor. Out of the bottle (cold), the individual flavor elements are bolder and more distinct. That being said, I love the sauce on just about everything. I used it (cold) on a smoked meatloaf and enjoyed every bite.

Every time I think I've found sauce perfection something new comes along and changes my perspective. I'm sure many more great sauce experiences lie ahead, but for now, Grumpy's Bold XX is one of my most memorable. With three other flavors from Grumpy's to sample, I can hardly wait to get cooking.

If you're a KC BBQ stylist, you've got to try Grumpy's Bold XX. Also, be sure to check them out online for information about Bold XX and their other flavors. . If you haven't figured it out already, you see Grumpy's Bold XX star rating on our "Product Reviews" page.

Mrs. Renfro's Barbecue Sauce

Mrs. Renfro's is primarily known for their line of gourmet salsas that can be found in supermarkets all over the United States. The company, however, doesn't just make salsa. They have an enormous line of condiments, sauces, and jellies including barbecue sauce.

Like their salsas, Mrs. Renfro's Barbecue Sauce is packaged in 16 oz. glass jars. The sauce is dark red with visible specks of spices. It's a medium/thick sauce, but pours quickly thanks to the wide open mouth of the glass jar.

This sauce is ketchup based and falls neatly in line with the traditions of Kansas City BBQ. Despite being based in Ft. Worth, TX, Renfro Foods created a sauce to satisfy the masses with a sweet, familiar flavor profile that is accented slightly by liquid smoke and black pepper. Their is also a mild vinegar tang in the finish. Though the bite is muted almost completely when the sauce is heated.

I used Mrs. Renfro's on separate occasions with two different cuts of pork. First, I served Mrs. Renfro's Barbecue Sauce on baby back ribs that I prepared for my parents. Rather than smoke the ribs, I lightly seasoned them and baked them in the oven. Finished with Mrs. Renfro's, the ribs were a carbon copy of what you would get from a typical bar and grill. The sauce has a good texture for ribs. It brushes on nicely and leaves a sticky coating on the bones with cooked into the meat for a bit.

This week I pulled a recently smoked pork shoulder out of the freezer for dinner. I used the remainder of the Mrs. Renfro's jar for pulled pork. I heated the sauce to thin it a bit and poured it over the smokey pork. The flavors were a natural fit for the meat. Everyone enjoyed the pork, in part, because of the sauce.

For a company whose primary focus is salsa, Mrs. Renfro's makes a pretty solid BBQ sauce. It's the type of sauce that has wide appeal. It's safe to serve to just about anyone. The flavors are pleasant, but mild. The medium thickness also makes it versatile enough for just about any application. It's hard to find anything objectionable about it. It probably won't WOW you, but you won't be disappointed.

Check out Mrs. Renfo's Barbecue Sauce (and other products) on their website.

Mexi Mac & Cheese

I get my recipe ideas from a variety of sources. I scour the web, watch cooking shows and daydream about BBQ daily. This recipe, however, came about completely by accident. Two unexpected events led to the creation of what I think is my tastiest dish yet. 1) On a quick trip to the grocery store for diapers, I made a pass through the meat section (as is my custom) and stumbled upon a great deal on bulk spicy chorizo. The deal was too good pass up. I didn't have any plans for how to use the sausage, but I bought a couple pounds anyway. 2) A casual dinner, for which I was supposed to make mac and cheese, was canceled.

My disappointment about no longer making mac and cheese, combined with my need to find a good use for the chorizo in my refrigerator, led to Mexi Mac & Cheese. This dish is the perfect balance of creamy decadence and invigorating spice. Adding chorizo to the mac and cheese makes the dish so hearty it has to be a main course.

3 cups of elbow macaroni or mini farfalle pasta
1/4 Cup butter
1/4 Cup flour
2 cups milk
1/2 lb Velveeta (cubed)
8 oz shredded chedder
8 oz shredded monterary jack (or pepper jack)
1.5 lbs ground spicy Mexican chorizo
1/2 cup finely diced pickled jalapenos

Servings: 6-8

Brown the chorizo over medium heat in a large skillet. Drain the excess fat and set the chorizo aside. Cook the pasta as directed on the package. Drain and set the pasta aside as well.

In the same large skillet used for the chorizo, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour.

Gradually add the milk. Stir until the mixture begins to thicken.

When the sauce begins to thicken, add the velveeta and half of the shredded cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese has melted.

Add the chorizo, pasta and jalapenos to a large, oven safe casserole dish.

Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta, meat and peppers. Mix everything together and top with the remainder of the shredded cheese. Bake in the oven @ 350 for 25-30 minutes.

When the cheese on top is melted and browned, you know it's ready to eat. Serve with a salad or steamed vegetables for a complete meal.

This mac and cheese is truly one of the best things I've ever made. Two simple addtions (chorizo and jalapenos) to my traditional mac and cheese recipe make all the difference. If you're a mac and cheese lover and can tolerate a fair amount of spice, this is a must for you.

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes | Converted by BloggerTheme