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.

Cave Tools Grilling Set

Every pitmaster and backyard grill king needs a quality set of grilling tools. The right tools are essential for handling each cut of smoked or char grilled meat. Grill tool sets are popular gifts this time of year and there's no shortage of options. Nearly every big box store and online retailer offers one or more sets. The key is finding the right tools for your needs.

If you've got a large grill and/or often find yourself handling large cuts of meat, Cave Tools may have the grilling set you're looking for. These over-sized, stainless steel tools are designed to do some heavy lifting. Cave Tools' website says that they are produced with 20% more stainless steel than competing grill sets. They are definitely on the heavy side. However, they don't feel quite as stout as the Man Law grill set I reviewed (and currently use at home) two years ago.

The extended length of the Cave Tools set is ideal for large grills. The long spatula allows you to reach the back of the grill without getting your hand too close to the flame. It's the type of spatula that I would use when grilling burgers for a crowd. The tongs work well for situating larger cuts on the grill or smoker. They're particularly useful for full racks of ribs. They are, however, cumbersome when trying to handle smaller items. If cooking a large quantity of chicken wings or hot dogs, for example, it takes quite a lot of grip strength and stamina to constantly move and turn the meat.

Other features worth noting are the hooked ends making each piece easy to hang from any grill station. The spatula also features a serrated edge for scraping the grill. More importantly, the spatula can be used as a bottle opener ensuring that the pit master stays refreshed as he/she prepares dinner.

I've used a pretty wide variety of grilling products over the years. These days they come in nearly every size, shape, color and material. While I wasn't blown away with the Cave Tools set, it definitely falls on the higher end of the scale. They're pretty stylish and appear to be well made. I expect they'll hold up well for quite a long time as well.

Check out the grill set at or you can order your own set through Amazon.

Delwood's Barbecue Sauce & Marinade

When I moved from North Carolina a year ago, I took several Carolina style sauces with me. I fell in love with Carolina "Q" and hoped to preserve its tangy tradition for a long as possible. Sadly, my supply of sauces quickly ran out. During the last several months, I've been craving the familiar flavors of North Carolina BBQ. I've smoked several shoulders and concocted my own vinegar based sauces with varied degrees of success. It wasn't until a package of Delwood's Barbecue Sauce reached my doorstep that I found what I was really looking for. 

Delwood's Barbecue Sauce & Marinade is an authentic North Carolina BBQ sauce. Produced by a second generation Delwood, the sauce is crafted in the traditions of Eastern style BBQ. Bottled in 17 oz mason jars, and slapped with a vintage label, Delwood's has the perfect Ol' Time look for a fabulous Ol' Time product. The dark vinegar sauce is loaded with coarsely ground spices that can be seen floating freely through the jar. 

Vinegar is King when it comes to Carolina BBQ, and Delwood's does not deviate from tradition. Delwood's sauce uses apple cider vinegar which provides plenty of tang, but also a little sweetness. The traditional base is kicked up with a variety of spices. The addition of brown sugar adds to the sweetness and provides a nice balance to the tang and spice.

I've used Delwood's Barbecue Sauce & Marinade several times, savoring every bite. The natural fit was to pour it over pulled pork. Paired with the smoky shoulder meat, Delwood's brought back a flood of pleasant memories from my Carolina days.
Some people may find the vinegar tang of Delwood's to be a little overwhelming, but for those that favor the traditional flavors of Carolina "Q", you'll have a hard time finding something better than Delwood's. When I want to introduce my Michigan friends to traditional Carolina style sauce, Delwood's will be the jar I reach for.
I realize this may come off sounding more like an advertisement for Delwood's than a critical review. Believe me when I say that I tried to find something to criticize. I love the packaging and I love the flavor. If you live in Central North Carolina, I strongly recommend locating a retailer that sells Delwood's. If not, check them out online.

Bart's Old North State

Yankees seemingly apply the term "Carolina BBQ" to any pork slathered with a vinegar based sauce. Those living within the Tarheel state will tell you that there are actually two very distinct styles of NC "Q". Fans of both types vehemently defend their style of "Q" and declare it the truest form of North Carolina BBQ.

"Eastern" style BBQ typically features whole hogs smoked over hickory and seasoned simply with salt, pepper and vinegar. "Western" or "Lexington" style BBQ uses only the pork shoulder. Their sauce is also vinegar based, but is typically accented with ketchup or Worcestershire sauce. East meets west in the state's Triangle (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill).

Being located in the middle of the debate, Bart's Old North State (Chapel Hill) is a North Carolina BBQ company blending the best of both worlds. Bart's is a restaurant, caterer and competition team that started in 2002. Their restaurant and catering company have garnered rave reviews on social networks like Yelp and Foursquare  while the competition team has won numerous contests including the last two North Carolina BBQ Sauce Championships.

Photo courtesy of

I never got the opportunity to enjoy their "Q" while living in North Carolina, but Bart's did send me a bottle of their award winning sauce to review. I've had my eye on their sauce for quite some time so I was really looking forward to testing it out. They market their sauce as the "Perfect Blend of Eastern and Western N.C. Sauces".

Bart's Old North State is, of course, a vinegar based sauce. What sets this sauce apart are accent ingredients used to enhance the sauce's flavor. Ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, molasses and assorted spices make Bart's a much more complex blend. The thin sauce is sweeter than most Carolina sauces. For me, that's a welcome change. It also in no way diminishes the requisite vinegar tang that traditionalists expect from NC "Q".

Any good Carolina sauce needs to be paired with smoked pork. I poured half the bottle over a pile of smokey pulled pork shoulder. The flavors couldn't have complimented the meat any better. I loved the balance of vinegar tang and sweet brown sugar. Their was even a slight spicy element. I later tossed shredded roast beef in the sauce with similar success. In fact, I found that I liked Bart's as a dip for just about everything.

Bart's take on Carolina "Q" is a pleasant addition to the genre. Though I have a feeling traditionalists may scream about the inclusion of some the ingredients, I think they've created an delicious, innovative flavor that still pays homage to their Carolina roots.

Learn more about Bart's and purchase their Carolina sauce for yourself at .  You can also check them out on Facebook.

Red Law Whiskey and Sweet Cherry

After really enjoying Red Law's Serrano Apricot sauce earlier this summer, I was looking forward to testing out their original, Whiskey & Sweet Cherry sauce. I knew I could expect big, bold flavors and had plenty of pork on hand that was in need of a flavor boost.
Whiskey & Sweet Cherry is a medium thick sauce and is dark read in the bottle. Like all Red Law sauces, Whiskey & Sweet Cherry is packaged in big 21.5 oz glass bottles and slapped with an Ol' West themed label. The sauce pours fairly slowly and isn't entirely smooth.
Sweetness dominates the initial flavor of this sauce. Using only natural sweeteners, Red Law front loads the flavor with sugary goodness. There is very little smoke or spice to contrast the sugar onslaught. Whiskey provides the second dimension to the sauce's profile. Though the alcohol is cooked down during processing, the whiskey flavor (and aroma) is very evident.
I first used Whiskey & Sweet Cherry on smokey pulled pork sandwiches. I paired the sauce with a creamy slaw and piled it high on hickory smoked pork shoulder. While I generally enjoy a sweet sauce with pulled pork, I found the whiskey flavor a bit distracting. Not being a whiskey drinker, I may not be the best person to judge the flavor, but I didn't feel like it enhanced the sauce in any way.
Later, I used the sauce as a glaze on grilled country style ribs. I heated the sauce and brushed / poured it on the pork as it finished cooking. As expected, heating the sauce enriched the sweetness. It also lessened the impact of the whiskey flavor. I could still taste the whiskey, but it had moved to a supporting role in the overall flavor profile.
Whiskey isn't exactly my specialty. I felt it dominated the flavor a bit too much out of the bottle. However, it was significantly better (as is often the case) after the sauce was kissed by the heat of an open flame. I would use the sauce again as a finishing glaze over direct heat. However, when in need of a dipping sauce, I'd have to reach for something else.
If you're a whiskey drinker or just like unique, small batch BBQ sauces, give Red Law's Whiskey & Sweet Cherry a shot. Check out their entire line of products at

Wild n Mild Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to the winners of this week's Wild n Mild sauce and rub giveaway! The 12 people listed below have until 5 p.m. on Friday to claim their prizes. Send an email to with your mailing address to have the prizes shipped directly from Wild n Mild.

Thanks to all who participated! Special thanks to Wild n Mild for providing the great prizes.

Melissa Jackson
Ryan Payne
Wild Intern
Dustin Hall
Joe Johnson
Irisi Tole
Leandro Tuna
Rebecca Jean
Lisa Kerbawy
Chris Sorel
Jennifer Reed Barclay

Free Wild n Mild Sauce and Rub Giveaway

The "Q" Review is proud to bring you another great giveaway. This time Wild n Mild is offering up sauce and rub bundles to 12 lucky winners. Entering couldn't be easier. Don't miss out on this opportunity to grab some free BBQ products!

How To Enter: You may enter via either of the two methods below.

1. "Like" Wild n Mild's Facebook Page AND post a comment mentioning The "Q" Review so I can identify you.

2. Post a comment on this blog containing the word "Wild". (Be sure to include your name so I can identify you if you win)

It's that easy. Contest ends Tuesday, August 19th @ 7:00 pm. Winners will be posted on The "Q" Review later that evening. If you're picked, you have until Friday, August 22nd @ 5:00 to claim your prizes.

Wild n Mild Grilling & Marinade Sauce

Though Michigan hasn't seen much of a summer, I've still managed to find my way to the grill every now and then. Things have slowed since the move to the North, but there are still countless exceptional BBQ products on the market just waiting to be reviewed. Fortunately, they still arrive at my doorstep from time to time.

Recently, I've had an influx of new products that I'm really excited about. The eclectic bunch of products is highlighted by a one of a kind grilling sauce / BBQ sauce / marinade called Wild n Mild. This small, Mississippi based company was started by a couple college buddies who shared a love of good times and good food. Though rooted in family tradition, the duo tinkered with the flavor (and the name) until they settled on their signature "Wild" grilling sauce.

Both the "Wild" and "Mild" versions of the grilling sauce are essentially the same recipe. The obvious difference is the additional spice factor found in the "Wild" version. Both sauces are packaged in 16 oz. plastic bottles (Mild also available in 1/2 gallon) and slapped either black or white labels. The packaging is simple, but the added color from the logo works as an attention grabber.

The sauce is completely unique to the BBQ world making it difficult to describe. It doesn't fit into any standard BBQ sauce category. The sauce is a dark, caramel color similar to cola. Finely ground spices, pepper in particular, can be seen floating throughout. It's on the thin side and pours pretty quickly. Thankfully, the mouth of the bottle is tapered like a soda bottle slowing the flow.

Wild n Mild has strong, tangy aroma. The vinegar was the first ingredient that really stuck out. It smelled somewhat like Italian salad dressing. The flavor, while strong, is very balanced. It's equal parts sweet and tangy thanks to loads of sugar and vinegar. The aforementioned spices give depth to the sauce's finish. The pepper lingered on my tongue after tasting it.

There were several options for using this sauce, but I chose to use it as a marinade and grilling glaze for pork chops. I threw three thick cut chops in a plastic bag with about a cup of "Mild" sauce overnight. They hit a screaming hot charcoal grill the next evening. I basted the chops with some of the marinade while they cooked as well.

I was incredibly pleased (and a little surprised) with how much sauce penetrated into the chops. The meat was juicy and loaded with flavor. The sugars help the meat caramelize and char to perfection. The flavors were a little sweet, but also quite savory. The vinegar tang was neutralized, but everything balanced beautifully. These were definitely the best chops I've grilled to date.

Whether it's "Wild" or "Mild", this unique sauce imparts incredible flavor to meat. I highly recommend it as a marinade (steaks, chops or chicken) or grilling sauce. After reading the "How it all began" page of the website, I'm also looking forward to trying the sauce on smoked pork ribs.

Check out for more about Wild n Mild. You can order your own directly from their site. Don't forget to check our "Product Reviews" page for the Wild n Mild star rating.

RedLaw Serrano Apricot Barbecue Sauce

Colorado based Redlaw Sauce Co. was started in 2011 by Justin and Thia Chinchen. Justin used his culinary education and restaurant experience to develop a unique line of hot sauces and BBQ products. Redlaw's all natural sauces are made in small batches and bottled by hand.

The first Redlaw product that I used was the very intriguing Serrano Apricot Barbecue Sauce. Combining sweet fruits with spicy peppers is very trendy in the world of small batch BBQ sauces. The sweet and spicy elements play well off one another and allow for a great deal of creativity for passionate sauce makers.

What sets this sauce apart is the choice of pepper. Serranos are one of my favorite peppers. These petite firecrackers are a step up in heat from the common jalapeno. However, they're a bit more tame than the scorching habanero. For whatever reason, they seem to be the forgotten pepper in the world of BBQ. There are countless sauces featuring jalapenos, habaneros and even ghost peppers. However, I rarely encounter serrano sauces.

Redlaw's Serrano Apricot Barbecue Sauce is dark red and packaged in 16 oz. glass bottles. Pepper seeds and dark spices are visible in the sauce. With a medium thickness, it pours smoothly from the bottle.

The sauces flavors are remarkably complex and well balanced. The initial sweetness from sugar and the apricots is immediately contrasted by savory spices like onion and garlic. There is also a significant note of hickory smoke. The heat comes on strong at the back end. The spice isn't overpowering, but it's enough to make you sweat.

I used Serrano Apricot on a couple racks of smoked babybacks. The sweet and spicy sauce was phenomenal on the smoked pork. This sauce was clearly meant for ribs. It brushed on beautifully and produced one of the prettiest racks of ribs I've ever made (sorry no pictures). I enjoy a bit of sweat bead inducing heat when eating ribs and this sauce produced exactly what I was looking for.

Apricot Serrano is one of the best hot BBQ sauces I've had. It's ideal for rib lovers that can take a little heat. I'm happy to see someone using the serrano. I'm even more happy that they use it so well. After enjoying this sauce so much, I can't wait to test out the rest of the Redlaw line.

Southern Red's Original BBQ Sauce

Nearly two years ago I reviewed a Beckley, WV joint named Southern Red's Bar-B-Que. I don't want to beat a dead horse, but my experience wasn't great. Both the food and service sub par.

Not so long ago, I received emails from two different individuals regarding my Southern Red's review. Both people told the same general story. Southern Red's was owned and operated by the Seavers until 2007. At that time, the business was sold off and the new owners are responsible for what Southern Red's is today.

Thankfully, the story doesn't end there for the Seavers. They currently own and operate Southern Red's Bar-B-Que in Pilot Oak Kentucky. While I haven't had the pleasure of visiting, they seem to be thriving. Despite being located in rural Kentucky, their Facebook Page has more than 4,500 likes. They must be doing something right.

Kim Seavers, one of the people to reach out to The "Q" Review, was kind enough to send me an invitation to visit the Pilot Oak Southern Red's as well as a bottle of their original sauce. Southern Red's Original Bar-B-Que sauce is packaged in 16 oz. bottles. The dark red sauce is on the thin side and pours quickly.

This sauce is a ketchup / vinegar base. It contains both white and brown sugar, but is not overly sweet. Southern Red's Original is a mild sauce. While none of the individual flavor elements stick out, it's very well balanced. There is a slight vinegar tang in the finish, but not enough to scare off people with sweet palates.

I used the sauce on ribs for a family cookout. Everybody loved the way the sweet, mild sauce complimented the smokey pork ribs. Though relatively thin, the sauce still stuck to the bones and left both racks with a beautiful gloss.

Southern Red's Bar-B-Que sauce is a solid, all purpose BBQ sauce. You can serve it to a crowd and expect just about everybody to enjoy it. It was tasty on my homemade BBQ and I hope to get the opportunity to taste it on Southern Red's BBQ in the future.

Mountain America Jerky Pt 2

Last week, I introduced you to my new favorite jerky company, Mountain America. They feature a huge line of gourmet and exotic jerky. They sent so many samples, I couldn't fit them all in one review. Below is a rundown of the products that I couldn't quite squeeze into Pt 1.

Habanero Beef Jerky: There's spicy and there's habanero. This jerky has plenty of savory beef flavor, but that gets overshadowed a bit by the mouth numbing burn. The basic recipe is much the same as the other flavors with one major difference. Habanero pepper flakes are visible on each flaming stick of beef. This jerky still has great flavor, but the heat may be too much for some.

Venison: Venison is a jerky that I absolutely love. With the out of control deer population in Southern Michigan, many people in the area have perfected making jerky from white tail deer. I even experimented (with mixed results) making it last fall. While I've had several good versions, none of them measure up to Mountain America's venison jerky. The flavor profile is simple and savory. There is just the right balance of sweet and salty. The lean venison creates a slightly tougher jerky, but I enjoy the extra chew.

Garlic Pepper Beef Jerky: Though their original beef jerky recipe is nearly perfect, this variation is a pretty good alternative as well. Adding a hint of garlic and a strong black pepper finish to the original recipe, the garlic pepper jerky has an extra bold flavor.

Kangaroo: Yes, you read that right. You may have though ostrich and alligator were exotic, but kangaroo is a whole new level of unique (at least in the US). I have never eaten kangaroo in any form. I really had no idea what to expect. In terms of texture, it was much more tender than most of the other meats. It was so tender that I almost wouldn't classify it as jerky. The recipe is the same as many of the other meats. However, the flavor was more sharp. Though not exactly the same, I almost picked up a salami or pepperoni flavor vibe.  I will admit, however, that the thought of eating kangaroo was difficult to get over.

That wraps up my take on the Mountain America line of jerky. While some flavors were better than others, there is no question that I would rate the entire product line 5 stars. It's difficult, but I'll try to rank the flavors to give you an idea of my favorites. In reality, you can't go wrong with any of them.

1. Wild Boar
2. Original Beef Jerky
3. Venison
4. Elk
5. Garlic Pepper Beef
6. Alligator
7. Habanero Beef Jerky
8. Ostrich
9. Kangaroo

Don't forget to check out Mountain America's other products @

Mountain America Jerky Round 1.

Owner, Chuck Watson, started Mountain America Jerky in the 1997. After more than sixteen years, Chuck still smokes his premium jerky daily. Focusing on quality ingredients and specializing in exotic meats, Mountain America ships smoked meats and cheeses all over the country.

I found Mountain America online and was immediately intrigued by their wide selection of product. In addition to the usual suspects (beef & venison), Mountain America also makes jerky from fish, wild boar, alligator and even kangaroo. After a quick exchange of emails with Chuck, I couldn't wait to sample and review the Mountain America line of jerky.

Chuck was generous enough to send a wide variety of jerky samples. Below is a rundown of the various flavors.

Alligator Jerky: Easily one of the most unique and exotic, the alligator jerky was also one of the best. More tender than most of the other types, the alligator jerky recipe is a simple soy sauce, brown sugar base. It's a little on the sweet side with just enough salt and pepper to balance the flavor.

Wild Boar Jerky: This was the first pork jerky that I've had. It was every bit as good as beef. The wild boar jerky has plenty of chew and rich, savory flavor. Not as sweet as the gator jerky, I would almost characterize the flavor as "BBQ like." Regardless of what you call it, it was very tasty.

Beef Jerky: Compared to gator and wild boar, beef jerky may seem boring. However, this is no ordinary beef jerky. In fact, it's PERFECT beef jerky. Both the flavor and texture are right on point. It's salty, but still has great beef flavor and finishes with just a bit of black pepper. I can't even begin to compare this jerky to the stuff you find on gas station counters.

Elk Jerky: This lean elk jerky has a bit of extra chew. Like the beef, it too is a good balance of salty and savory flavor. The black pepper is a bit more pronounced, but not over powering. This jerky reminds me a great deal of the home made venison jerky I make in the fall.

Ostrich Jerky: My friends and family that sampled this jerky were shocked to learn that it was ostrich. Actually considered a red meat, ostrich has a rich flavor that wouldn't find in most birds. Though I found there was a slight difference.

As I said, Chuck was VERY generous with samples. I'll feature the rest of the flavors later on this week. While you wait for round 2, check out Mountain America online

Best Maid Farm to Market Pickles

Best Maid has been cranking out their popular line of pickles and relishes since 1926. The Dalton family founded the small, Texas based company and grew the operation into a major pickle distributor with products featured by national retailers like Sam's Club and

The Best Maid product lineup is extensive. They jar everything from pickles and relish to peppers and dressings. One of their newest sets of products is also one of the most exciting. Their Farm to Market Single Barrel Pickles emphasize quality, natural ingredients starting with pickles right off the vine. Farm to Market aren't your grandmother's pickles. With flavors like Bloody Mary and Chipotle Lime, Best Maid has taken pickles in the world of gourmet food.

I was fortunate enough to get samples of some of these unique pickles. Below is my take on four of the Farm to Market flavors.

Chipotle Lime: Chipotle and lime are a pretty common flavor combination. However, in a pickle jar, these flavors may sound odd. These pickles are sliced and brined in a jalapeno vinegar. The jar even contains a fair amount of jalapeno slices.

The resulting brine is a somewhat milder version of what's typically found in jarred jalapenos. The vinegar is definitely dominant. It's a bit more tangy than most pickles that I've tasted. There is a definite citrus element in the flavor. Oddly, there is no mention of lime in the ingredient list. The pickles finish with a definite kick. They aren't as hot as pure jalapenos, but they definitely left my lips tingling.

The flavor combination was a little hard to get used to. Honestly, I never did get to the point where I could just snack on these pickles out of the jar. I did, however, find a good use for them. They added a great tang and spice to sandwiches. Try pairing them with grilled/BBQ chicken sandwiches.

Garlic Baby Dills: Baby dills are a staple on relish trays for all of our family dinners. Farm to Market Garlic Baby Dills ratchet up the flavor of this old favorite with tons of garlic and just a bit of red pepper. The clear vinegar brine seems to have almost as much garlic as cucumber floating in it.

These baby dills are tangy, extra crisp and loaded with garlic flavor. Strange as it seems, the garlic actually seems to balance the intense vinegar tang. As a result, these baby dills were probably my favorite of all the Farm to Market flavors.

Sea Salt & Pepper: These pickles are a variation of my favorite potato chip flavor. Crisp cucumber slices are soaked in a salty brine and accented with plenty of fresh black pepper corns. The brine on these pickles is really intense. It's equally salty and tangy with a slight black pepper accent. For me, the brine was just too much. I enjoy a tangy dill, but the salt and vinegar was overwhelming.

Bloody Mary: Without a doubt, this is the most unusual pickle flavor I've ever seen or tasted. Being a non drinker, I've never actually had a Bloody Mary for a comparison. However, all the key elements are present The flavor of these pickles is an odd blend of tomato, tangy vinegar, and spicy heat. Though the jar only contains celery seed, there is also a distinct celery flavor. Bloody Mary drinkers will probably appreciate these pickles more than myself. I have a hard time picturing what I would pair them with. Pickles at brunch don't quite seem to fit.

I really respect and appreciate what Best Maid has done with their Farm to Market pickles. Stepping this far outside the box isn't always easy for a company that has flourished on a quality, traditional product line for nearly 90 years. While I didn't personally love every flavor, I was really impressed with creativity.

To learn more about Best Maid pickles and their Farm to Market line, check out

Memphis Jack's BBQ Sauce

Memphis Jack's is more than a name. It's an identity tied to a city considered by many to be the BBQ capital of the United States. The restaurant and sauce were born of a Memphis native that relocated to Colorado. In the late 90s, the Denver area wasn't exactly a hot bed for BBQ. As a result, Memphis Jack brought a taste of the South to Rocky Mountain country.

The rich, dark mahogany sauce is packaged in 16 oz. glass bottles. The label is simple and even a little retro. I could easily picture that logo painted on wall of a Memphis BBQ joint. The sauce is fairly thick and pours pretty slowly.

Everything about Memphis Jack's BBQ sauce screams MEMPHIS. It's a tomato (ketchup) based sauce that is loaded with savory ingredients like Worcestershire sauce and cumin. It also has a nice biting tang thanks to apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. These flavors are all pulled together with the requisite amount of sugar. Being a true Memphis sauce, it also finishes with a touch of cayenne heat. The result is a rich, bold sauce that manages to balance a variety of flavors.

Though I'm sure the sauce would go well with just about anything, I felt compelled to pour it over smokey pulled pork. After all, the true measure of any Memphis sauce is how it holds up on a pulled pork sandwich. The result was just as I suspected. The flavors were perfect with the mild, yet smokey pork. Memphis Jack's is a little thicker than what I would normally use on pulled pork, but that's more a matter of preference. I only wish I had whipped up a creamy coleslaw to finish off my sandwiches.

After discovering that Memphis Jack's was very good right out of the bottle, I was anxious to try it as a grilling glaze. I wanted to see how the heat of a charcoal fire would affect the flavor and texture of the sauce. Thanks to a good friend and prominent area pig farmer, my freezer is well stocked with thick cut pork chops. With beautiful spring weather finally upon us, I decided to throw some chops on the charcoal grill and brush them with Memphis Jack's.

Like so many sauces that I've reviewed, heat only made it better. As is often the case, the sweetness was enhanced while the spice and tang were mellowed. The sauce also thinned out a bit under the intense heat of the charcoal fire. The sweet, sticky sauce proved to be an excellent grilling glaze and a fine compliment to multiple cuts of pork. After polishing off the last pork chop, I examined the bottle of Memphis Jack's. I'm hoping that I've got just enough remaining in the bottle for a rack of ribs next weekend.

Visit to learn more about Memphis Jack's or to place your order.

Pepper Creek Farms Hickory Maple BBQ Sauce

The "About" page of Pepper Creek Farm's website opens with "Welcome to the culinary capital of Lawton, OK." While I suspect that statement was meant to be humorous, Pepper Creek Farms takes their commitment to quality very seriously. They even call it an obsession. Stressing the use of fresh, local ingredients, Pepper Creek Farms products are all based on family recipes and made in small batches to ensure the highest quality standards.

Pepper Creek Farms offers a wide range of products. On their website, you can purchase anything from gummies to cocktail mixes or jellies. While I enjoy an occasional gummy, I've chosen to stay on topic and focus the review on Pepper Creek Farms' BBQ sauces. Given their geographic location, it's no surprise that Pepper Creek Farms features multiple tomato based BBQ sauces in their product line.

The first sauce that I cracked the seal on was their Hickory Maple. The flavor combination of real maple syrup and natural hickory smoke flavor had me drooling before the 14 oz. glass bottle was even open. Pepper Creek Farms' packaging is unique to the BBQ world. The sauce has a "gourmet" flare to it. In the bottle, the sauce is dark red and speckled with spices.

Hickory Maple has a medium thickness and pours quickly from the bottle's large mouth. Using ketchup as the base, Pepper Creek Farms accents the sauce with brown sugar, vinegar, dry spices, horse radish, apple cider and (of course) maple syrup. The result is a sweet, robust Kansas City inspired sauce. The smokey finish provided by the natural hickory flavor adds to sauce's depth. There is also "tang" factor that is hard to pinpoint. The overall flavor, though familiar, is superior to the national brand KC style sauces lining the stores of most supermarkets.

I heated poured the sauce over smoked chopped pork and pulled beef this weekend. Surprisingly, the sauce complimented both meats equally well. I suspected the sweet sauce would go well with the pork, but it was also delicious with bold, savory beef as well. The medium / thin sauce works well for a variety of applications. It's great poured over pulled meat or used as dip. It's also just thick enough to use as a finishing sauce for ribs and chicken. In fact, when paired with a salty, savory rub, I think Hickory Maple would be an excellent rib sauce.

Pepper Creek Farms' Hickory Maple BBQ Sauce is the type of product that everyone can enjoy. The flavors are mild enough for kids to gobble up, but sophisticate enough for adult foodies to appreciate. The sweet and smokey flavors of maple syrup and hickory are as good as advertised.

Pappy's Moonshine Madness Barbecue Sauce

Moonshine Madness is one of many top shelf sauces produced by Louisville, KY's Bourbon Q. The company started simply with a general store and catering business. Their reputation for quality meats and BBQ grew steadily within the region prompting BBQ competitions to reach out to the Bourbon Q gang.

Shane Best (Pappy) and crew racked up numerous awards, including a World Invitational Rib Championship (Richmond, VA). After several successful years on the competition circuit, Pappy began developing his award winning sauces and seasonings for retail sale. Equaling (and perhaps surpassing) their competition success, Pappy's line of Kentucky bourbon infused sauces have won numerous awards from all the major sauce contests. Prizes from ranging from best packaging to best specialty sauce continue roll in for Bourbon Q.

Bourbon Q's diverse line of sauces continues to grow. However, my first encounter with this brand was with one of their original recipes, Pappy's Moonshine Madness. Like their other sauces, Moonshine Madness is packaged in 12.7 oz. glass flasks. As I've said before, the glass flask is definitely my favorite means of packaging for BBQ sauce. This sauce has won numerous accolades for packaging and it's easy to see why. The thin, red sauce looks great in the bottle and the label is very appealing.

Pappy's is quick to point out that Moonshine Madness is NOT as hot sauce. It's simply a REALLY HOT barbecue sauce. In fact, it's probably the hottest BBQ sauce I've every tasted. While featuring several standard BBQ sauce ingredients such as tomato paste, sugar and vinegar, Moonshine Madness also contains scorching hot habaneros AND oil of capsicum. The result is a fiery fusion of flavors that lies somewhere between the world of hot sauce and BBQ.

Since Moonshine Madness is on the thin side, I first decided to use the sauce as a dip for chicken. This was a mistake that I paid for throughout the evening. I can generally hold my own with most chili heads when it comes to spicy foods, but one bite of meat fully submerged in Moonshine Madness was enough to put me out of commission. For my own tastes, Moonshine Madness is definitely too hot to use as a dip.

After a couple of days, I worked up the courage for a second try. This time, I heated the sauce and brushed it on both pork and beef as it finished grilling. I quickly realized that this was the appropriate method for enjoying Moonshine Madness. Cooking the sauce on the meat mellowed the heat just enough to enjoy the sauce's sweet and tangy flavor. Don't get me wrong. The heat didn't disappear. However, the beast was tamed just enough for the burn to be enjoyable.

While I would argue that Moonshine Madness is as much (maybe more so) hot sauce as it is BBQ sauce, it's exceptional none the less. For people who love truly spicy foods, this is a first rate product. Whether you use it as a grilling glaze or splash it on tacos, it will provide both the heat and flavor you desire. For the truly brave, I could also see it working quite well as a wing sauce. In fact, I have just enough Moonshine Madness left to try it on wings next time I cook. Just make sure you heat the sauce first...

You can get the whole Bourbon Q story and purchase a bottle of Moonshine Madness for yourself @

D&W Blue Ribbon Gourmet BBQ Sauce

D&W BBQ Co. is a small, family owned and operated sauce company located in College Station, Texas. Though the company was founded just a couple of years ago, the sauce recipe has been in the Wright family for 50 years. Deke Wright grew up watching his mother, Tina, make the sauce for family cook outs and took on the recipe in her honor.

D&W sauce is packaged in 16 oz glass bottles. The bottle has a great looking "Texas Style" logo reminiscent of the old West. It also feature the blue ribbon used to symbolize colon cancer awareness. One dollar from every bottle sold is donated to the Colon Cancer Alliance in honor of Tina Wright who sadly passed from the disease in 2010.

Like many Texas BBQ sauces, D&W is on the thin side. However, the flavor of D&W is unlike any Texas sauce I've encountered. In fact, it's pretty unique to the world of BBQ sauce as a whole. It's a sweet and tangy mixture of both ketchup and mustard. Though technically a tomato based sauce, the mustard is what stands out in the aroma and flavor of the sauce. The main ingredients are accented by standard sauce ingredients like liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce and sugar.

Though the weather in Michigan still feels like winter, I officially declared last weekend the beginning of BBQ season. D&W was the first product I used open the new season. I smoked three racks of baby back and painted the bones with D&W as the finished smoking. It was just thick enough to cling to the ribs and gave the meat and nice burnt orange shine. The sauce has a pretty bold flavor out of the bottle, but it was muted quite a bit by the heat. The sauce was tasty on the ribs, but pretty mild.

I used D&W BBQ sauce on two other occasions. First, as a dip for chicken nuggets. Later, I poured the sauce over pulled smoked chicken. As Deke Wright had suggested in an email, D&W sauce truly excelled as a dip or table sauce. It was fantastic poured over the smoked chicken and was a hit with the family as a dipping sauce. My wife and I both agreed that it was a great product for dipping french fries as well.

Whether you use it as a grilling glaze or dip, D&W is a top notch choice. The flavors are bold and slightly tangy, but still mild enough (especially when heated) to be served to just about anyone. I love the sauce's unique blend of flavors. It's a great change of pace, especially among Texas sauces.

To learn more about D&W, check out their website. Check out the D&W star rating on our Product Reviews page.

Buffalo Tom's Gourmet Hot Sauce

With more than twenty years of restaurant experience, Buffalo Tom knows food. A Buffalo native, Tom also spent ten years sharing his recipes in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with tourists from all over the world. After years of pleading from friends and customers, Buffalo Tom finally began sharing his gourmet hot sauce with the public in 2002. After a brief hiatus from production late in the decade, Buffalo Tom's has returned and is now focused on national expansion.

While Buffalo Tom's website promises new products in the works, I'm focusing this review on his signature Gourmet Hot Sauce. This burnt orange sauce is packaged in 10 oz. glass bottles. The label is hilarious! Check out Tom astride that buffalo (above). "Yeah Baby!" The sauce is slightly thick for a hot sauce, but still thin enough that it pours very quickly from the bottle.

Buffalo Tom's Gourmet Hot Sauce is a cross between a traditional Buffalo wing sauce and a standard cayenne pepper/vinegar blend.  It has a sharp vinegar tang and plenty of spice. Because it's a hybrid recipe, the sauce is very versatile. It works as a wing sauce or with any other dish that one would typically add a dash of cayenne to.

I used Buffalo Tom's sauce for smoked chicken this weekend. I hot smoked a whole chicken (separated) and dipped each piece in Buffalo Tom's. I then threw the bird back on the smoker to let the chicken finish cooking in the sauce. I served additional sauce on the side for dipping.

The sauce loses a bit of its heat after being cooked, but not much. It still packed plenty of tangy, spicy flavor. It complimented the mild, smokey chicken very well. Most of the chicken, especially the dark meat, was flavorful enough that I didn't need additional dipping sauce. I did, however, add another shot of Buffalo Tom's to the pulled breast meat.

Buffalo Tom calls his sauce, "The Only Real Choice." While that may be a bit of hyperbole, his Gourmet Hot Sauce is versatile (and tasty) enough to be your choice on most occasions. It works well on pizza and potatoes in addition to chicken. I still prefer standard jalapeno or cayenne sauces for Mexican dishes, but Buffalo Tom's is pretty good on just about everything else.

To find out more about Buffalo Tom's Gourmet Hot Sauce, visit

Rufus Teague Honey Sweet

In today's crowded sauce market, so many products are hybrid blends that borrow from the traditions of various BBQ regions. Not so for Rufus Teague. Rufus Teague BBQ products are unapologetically Kansas City. Though sold nationally, their products are produced in the Missouri BBQ destination and always have been.

Rufus Teague sauces are bottled in large glass flasks and slapped with stylish labels featuring a great vintage photo of Rufus. Rufus Teague's packaging is as good as it gets. The flasks are cool on their own, but the labels put them over the top.

Honey Sweet was the first sauce produced by Rufus Teague. As I mentioned, it's pure Kansas city. The sauce is thick tomato, molasses blend. It's sweetened naturally with sugar and honey. The sauce is all natural and features no HFCS. True to Kansas City form, Honey Sweet balances it's sweetness with natural smoke flavor. Unlike their other sauces, Honey sweet doesn't provide much in the spice department.

I served Rufus Teague Honey Sweet on babyback ribs to prominent Southern Michigan pig farmer and fellow BBQ lover. He gave the sauce high marks and I had to agree. The thick, dark sauce was a great choice for brushing on the smokey bones. Paired with a salty, somewhat spicy, rub, Honey Sweet was the perfect compliment. The flavors are bold enough to command respect, but mild enough to be enjoyed by everyone.

Were I to rank Kansas City style sauces, Rufus Teague's Honey Sweet would be near the front of the line. Though it lacks the spice and layered depth of their great Touch O' Heat, it's still an excellent pork or chicken compliment. It looks great in the bottle and on the meat. Thankfully, it tastes even better.

Rufus Teague BBQ products can be purchased on their website. Check out Honey Sweet's star rating on our "Product Reviews" page.

Granna's Gourmet Jalapeno Pepper Vinegar

Granna's Gourmet (Charleston, SC) started with a single product, bread and butter pickles. Granna's pickles were so beloved among her family and friends that they urged her to package and sell them to the public. In May 2010, Granna's Gourmet was officially launched, targeting local foodies and tourists around the low country. Granna's Gourmet has since expanded to eleven signature products. Their product line can be purchased locally at several retail outlets. They're also available online at

Though I love a good pickle, the Granna's Gourmet product that I recently sampled was their Jalapeno Pepper Vinegar. This simple condiment is a product that is near and dear to my heart. After spending seven years in North Carolina, I grew to love this type of  "table sauce." Pepper, vinegar mixtures can be found on tables in nearly every diner and BBQ joint in the Carolinas. Folks there put it on just about everything from BBQ to french fries.

Granna's Jalapeno Pepper Vinegar is packaged in slender five ounce bottles with a plastic stopper in the mouth that prevents the sauce from pouring quickly. The ingredients are as simple as it gets: vinegar and jalapeno peppers. Granna uses white vinegar making the sauce crystal clear. The jalapenos are cut length wise and float freely in the bottle.

Despite the hefty amount of fiery chilies, Granna's Gourmet Jalapeno Pepper Vinegar isn't really a "hot sauce". Sure, there is a degree of spice, but the sauce is simply intended as a tangy flavor enhancer. It won't scorch your throat or make sweat beads form on your forehead. Use enough of it and your lips will tingle, but that's about the extent of the heat. The infused vinegar takes on the flavor of the jalapenos, but only a portion of their heat.

Since opening the bottle, I've used the sauce on just about everything. I've doused eggs, potatoes, pulled pork, pizza, tacos and even salads with a splash of the vinegar. I view these types of sauces as the univeral condiment. That being said, their is one particular use that has become my favorite. I ALWAYS add several dashes of pepper infused vinegar to greens. When cooking collard, chard, or mustard greens, vinegar is the perfect balance to the greens' naturally bitter flavor. The added spice from the peppers doesn't hurt either.

Sauces like Granna's Gourmet Jalapeno Pepper Vinegar are as tasty as they are simple. They're also pure Carolina (North or South). No self respecting Carolina diner would go without them. Nor would I.

You can learn more about Granna and her gourmet products here. Be sure to check out "Product Reviews" page to see the star rating for Granna's Gourmet Jalapeno Pepper Vinegar.

Note: Samples of this product were provided by Snazzy Gourmet. Check out to purchase Urban Accents products or any of their other sauces, marinades, rubs and snacks.

Angry Nephews BBQ Sauce

Nephew's BBQ Sauce has separated themselves in the crowded market of BBQ sauces with creativity and quality. Nephew's makes unique (and tasty) BBQ sauces that combine sweet fruits with spicy peppers. Innovative flavors like Ghostly Pumpkin and Peachy Potle have built a strong regional fan base for the Garner, NC company.

Perhaps their most highly regarded sauce is the Angry Nephew's variety. This spicy tomato / vinegar sauce was named by Country Living Magazine as one of the best sauces in America. It's also earned praise and acclaim from and several prominent BBQ bloggers.

Angry Nephew's BBQ Sauce is packaged in 16 oz. mason jars. Despite its ketchup base, the sauce is relatively thin. It pours quickly, like paint, from the wide mouthed jar. Angry Nephew's is a deep, rich red and looks great in the jar.

As I mentioned, all Nephew's BBQ Sauces use select combinations of fruit and chili peppers. Angry Nephews is a bit more conventional in that the "fruit" featured is tomato. In this case, the chili pepper is the infamous jolokia chili. Affectionately known as the "ghost pepper," jolokias are recognized as one of (or arguably the) hottest chilis on earth.

Despite the presence of the raging hot ghost chili, Angry Nephew's BBQ sauce isn't quite as scary as the label would indicate. In fact, the initial taste didn't reveal any heat at all. The heat in Angry Nephews is sneaky. It builds slowly in the back of your throat with each bite. Half way through my first test of Angry Nephew's, I found my forehead sweating and my lips tingling. It was enough to make me reach for a glass of milk, but not so overwhelming that I felt the need to stop eating.

One unique aspect of Angry Nephew's BBQ sauce is that it features cola as a primary ingredient. I frequently use cola in BBQ sauces and marinades when cooking at home, but I rarely see it used in commercially produced sauce. I like the bite as well as added sweetness that cola provide. It actually works well for balancing vinegar in sauces.

Speaking of vinegar, Angry Nephew's features apple cider vinegar that produces a detectable tang. Given that Nephew's BBQ Sauces are produced in Central North Carolina, it's only fitting that vinegar plays a role in the flavor. It's practically state law.

For my first test of Angry Nephew's, I used it as a wing sauce. The consistancy was perfect for evenly coating the wing.  I also used the sauce on a slow smoked brisket. I warmed the thin sauce and poured it over the smokey sliced beef. The pairing was BBQ perfection. Every once in a while you stumble across flavor combinations that are a home run. Angry Nephew's BBQ sauce turned out to be the perfect accent to brisket. The spice and tang were just what the bold flavored beef needed. It's now my #1 recommendation for a brisket sauce.

I've really enjoyed all the flavors of Nephew's BBQ Sauce that I've tried, but Angry Nephew's is my clear favorite. It's great on chicken, but really excels when paired with beef. I'll become a staple in my household whenever brisket is on the menu.

Check out all of Nephew's BBQ products on their website. Don't forget to see Angry Nephew's star rating on our "Product Reviews" page.

Grumpy's Not So Bold BBQ Sauce

Grumpy's BBQ Sauces have been picking up awards from competitions all over the country over the last several years. If you've tried their products, you're probably not surprised. The "Q" Review gained a great deal of respect for this brand after sampling Grumpy's Bold XX. (See the raving 5 star review)

Like all of Grumpy's BBQ sauces, Not So Bold is packaged in 16 oz. glass bottles. This particular variety features an orange label. The dark mahogany sauce is pretty thick and pours moderately slow.

While Bold XX found a perfect balance of spice, sweetness and smoke flavor, Not So Bold toned back the flavor dial quite a bit. The all natural, tomato based sauce is a familiar Midwestern style that is heavy on the sweet thanks to an abundance of brown sugar. Not So Bold is the only sauce that I can remember with brown sugar list first among the ingredients. There is a slight note of hickory smoke flavor, but sugary sweetness is definitely dominant. The ingredient list also features vinegar, hot sauce and cayenne pepper. Tang and spice, however, were undetectable.

I used Not So Bold for both ribs and pulled pork. The thick sauce painted the ribs nicely. Though the flavor wasn't quite as bold as I'd have preferred, it was still adequately tasty and sticky on the bones. Out of the bottle, the sauce was a little thicker than I like for drizzling on smoked pork. To remedy this, I heated the sauce and mixed it with the smokey chopped pork. Paired with a tangy coleslaw, the Grumpy's sauced pork was a hit.

Though it doesn't quite hold up next to Bold XX, Grumpy's Not So Bold is still the type of sauce that nearly everyone can enjoy. It's comparable to the popular line of Sweet Baby Ray's. I give Grumpy's a slight nod over the national brands for the simple fact that they use all natural ingredients.

Check out the full line of Grumpy's BBQ Sauces on their website. The star rating for Not So Bold can be found on our Product Review's page.

Urban Accents Cayman Citrus Dryglaze

Chicago based Urban Accents produces a wide range of gourmet spice blends. Aimed at today's wave of home cooks, Urban Accents's blends feature modern takes on everything from BBQ rubs to seasoned salts. I previously reviewed their Red Pepper and Garlic Beef and Burger Rub as well as their Perfect Pork Cedar Spice Roasting Rub.

In addition to the Urban Accents pork and beef rubs, Snazzy Gourmet ( also sent their Cayman Citrus Heat DryGlaze. Though I wasn't familiar with the term "DryGlaze," I was looking forward to using the sweet and spicy blend. Carribean inspired flavors are among my favorites.

Cayman Citrus Heat is packaged in 2 oz. pouches. The spice blend if finely ground. The spices are primarily red in color thanks to the presence of a variety of chilies.

I used Cayman Citrus Heat on both grilled chicken and turkey. Each time I used the rub, I applied it thoroughly and allowed the meat to rest overnight. The sweet heat was perfect on the mild white meat poultry. The rub has a substantial amount of sugar which caramelized nicely on the grill. With red pepper, chili pepper and jalapeno pepper in the ingredient list, I expected plenty of spice. I definitely wasn't disappointed. Cayman Citrus heat has a sneaky heat that slowly builds in the back of your mouth bite after bite.

The combination of sweet and spicy works so well in this spice blend. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this Dry Glaze is the way the flavors managed to penetrate to the interior of the meat. While most rubs only season the exterior, this spice blend worked almost like a marinade flavoring the poultry throughout.

With yet another top shelf product, Urban Accents has made me a believer. Upscale and vibrant, their spice rubs are as tasty as they are unique. Their a welcome alternative to the familiar blends that I typically use.

Note: Samples of this product were provided by Snazzy Gourmet. Check out to purchase Urban Accents products or any of their other sauces, marinades, rubs and snacks.

Tendergrass Farms Beyond Organic Meats (Pt. 2)

In part 1 of my Tendergrass Farms review, I highlighted their grass fed beef products. Each of the steaks was very good, especially the ribeyes. Though grass fed beef is a major part of the Tendergrass operation, it's not the only thing they have to offer. Tendergrass partner farms also raise pastured pork and poultry.

To round out my order with Tendergrass, I selected a "Beyond Organic" turkey breast and "Beyond Organic" Italian sausages. The turkey breast weighed slightly over two pounds and was vacuum sealed. The cut was just the right size for a standard family of 4. I'd always roasted turkey breasts in the past, but I decided to try something a little different with this one. Since it wasn't any thicker than a typical whole chicken breast, I seasoned it with a sweet and spicy rub and threw it on the grill.

As expected, the turkey breast was mild and lean. It grilled up nicely, taking on the Caribbean inspired flavors of the spice rub. The turkey breast proved to be a very versatile cut. While roasting is obviously the most popular method of preparation, grilling is a perfectly viable option given the size of these particular breasts. Like chicken, they can also be exceptional with a wide variety of flavor profiles. I used a sweet and spicy tropical rub, but anything from Tex Mex to Asian (or even simply salt and pepper) spices will work.

Tendergrass Farms' "Beyond Organic" Italian sausage is vacuum sealed in 12-14 oz. packages containing for rustic links. Using only pastured, organic pork, these sausages do NOT contain the nitrates that are so prevalent in most sausage products. These sausages are were mild and surprisingly lean. They weren't nearly as greasy as sausage products that I usually purchase at our local meat markets. 

I thought the flavor of these sausages was exceptional. We purchase and consume organic sausages on a regular basis and these are among the best we've had. They're perfectly seasoned. Not too salty or too spicy. I cooked the sausages on two occasions: first slicing them up for my jambalaya and later serving them whole on hotdog buns with grilled sweet peppers and onions. 

Tendergrass Farms offers a wide variety of "Beyond Organic" meats raised by small, family farmers that  pride themselves on producing a superior product. Rather than meeting standards set by government, these passionate farmers have raised the bar and set their own standards much higher. Using techniques like rotational grazing and abstaining from antibiotic use can be a difficult and costly way to raise animals, but Tendergrass farmers are committed to these practices. For those that appreciate these methods, operations like Tendergrass Farms are an alternative to mass production. Organic and grass fed meats will certainly cost you more than what you find behind most supermarket meat counters. However, for many, knowing where your food comes from is far more valuable.

If you're interested in learning more about grass fed beef or "Beyond Organic" meats, check out the Tendergrass Farms website,

Tendergrass Farms Beyond Organic Meats (Pt. 1)

Tendergrass Farms is a small collection of family farms committed to raising the highest quality pastured, organic beef, pork and poultry. Their personal standards exceed any outlined by the USDA resulting in a product they call "Beyond Organic". Each of their animals is free to forage in open grassy pastures. Additionally, Tendergrass partner farms abstain from using hormones and antibiotics that most meat producers rely on to increase yields.

This is the second time I've been fortunate enough to sample and review Tendergrass products. Several months ago I reviewed their grass fed beef flat iron steak and their pastured pork spare ribs. The company now has a new look and website. They also have an expanded selection of pastured meats available for purchase online.

Founding Farmer, David Maren provided several products from the vast Tendergrass lineup for review. David and his family raise pastured turkeys for Tendergrass. The quality of products David sent for the first round of reviews was exceptional. I was really excited to see what he had to offer this time around. I used their new e-commerce website to make my selections. The process was incredibly easy. The site is informative and very user friendly. The meat arrived at my doorstep frozen and packed in dry ice just a couple days after placing my order. If you have any reservations about having meat shipped, you needn't be concerned. The folks at Tendergrass know what they're doing. Your order will arrive professionally packed, vacuum sealed and frozen.

I selected three different cuts of grass fed beef for review: ribeye steaks, sirloin steaks and filet mignon. To vary things up a bit, I also chose a pastured turkey breast and two packages of the "Beyond Organic" pork Italian sausages.

Grass Fed Beef Sirloin Steaks: The sirloins were the first product that I sampled. In fact, I pulled them out to thaw as soon as the package arrived. Each steak was approximately 8 oz. and individually sealed. I've always loved sirloin for it's robust beef flavor. These steaks absolutely delivered on that point. They were very lean, but quite juicy despite the fact that I over cooked them a bit.

Grass Fed Sirloin Steak
Grass Fed Ribeyes: It's hard to beat a good ribeye. Few cuts of beef have as much flavor as a well marbled rib steak. Tendergrass grass fed ribeyes have just the right ratio of fat for my liking. Though they're a bit leaner than the ribeyes I typically get from our local meat market, they were still packed with flavor. I marinated the steaks before they hit the broiler, but I don't think I needed to. In addition to an exceptional flavor, the steaks were also quite tender. They sliced very easily. Of all the products that I've sampled from Tendergrass Farms, these grass fed ribeyes may have been my favorite.

Grass Fed Ribeye Steak
Grass Fed Filet Mignon: I finished off the beef selections with the king of steaks, the Filet Mignon. Known for it's butter like tenderness, the filet is a cut usually reserved for special occasions. Thanks to Tendergrass Farms, we turned an ordinary Wednesday into a special occasion, by grilling up four of these petite steaks. Tendergrass filets average around 4 oz. in weight. They are cut in the neighborhood of 1" thick. I seasoned these little gems simply with olive oil, salt and pepper. They grilled for just a couple of minutes on each side. Filet is a cut that you definitely don't want to overcook. Miraculously, I managed to hit medium-rare on all four steaks. True to form, Tendergrass grass fed filets were nearly fork tender. Though I prefer a heartier cut, it's easy to see what the filet is adored by so many. It's truly a delicacy. (Sorry, no pictures for the filets)

There are so many benefits to eating grass fed beef. Not only is it a healthier option, it's also a way to support small, family farms that take pride in providing a higher quality product. You don't have to sacrifice flavor either. Grass fed beef from Tendergrass Farms has all the rich, meaty flavor you expect from a great steak.

Be sure to check out to learn more about Tendergass Farms. You can also purchase your own grass fed beef or pastured pork and poultry. Check back with The "Q" Review for Pt.2 of our feature on Tendergrass farms where I'll spotlight their pastured turkey and pork.

Fox Bros. Wing Sauce

Fox Bros. BBQ is recognized throughout the South as one of the premier BBQ destinations in Georgia. This Atlanta joint is quickly gaining fame for their mix of sweet Southern "Q" with a spicy, Texas influence. In response to customer demand, Fox Bros. now sells their signature BBQ and Wing sauces in local supermarkets and online at

Fox Bros. Wing Sauce is packaged in 16 oz glass bottles. The packaging is pretty standard and the label a bit uninspiring. The dark red sauce is on the thin side and pours quickly from the large mouth of the bottle.

As I mentioned, Fox Bros. is known for blending sweet with heat. That's exactly what makes Fox Bros. Wing Sauce so unique (and delicious). While a standard wing sauce typically relies completely on a vinegar and chili pepper blend for flavor, Fox Bros. builds on that base with tomato paste and sweeteners. The result is what amounts to a BBQ / Pepper Sauce hybrid that is just the right balance of each.

I first used Fox Bros. Wing Sauce on a rack of ribs. I brushed a few coats of the thin sauce on a rack of baby backs as they finished cooking. There was just enough sugar in the sauce for it to caramelize and darken under the heat. The sweet and spicy blend was really outstanding on the bones. Though it didn't create the bright, glossy shine that I typically look for on ribs, it was easy to overlook because the flavor was so good.

Though I was tempted to use the entire bottle on ribs, I reserved half of it for its intended use. Super Sunday provided the perfect opportunity to cook wings. I warmed up the sauce to bring out the sweetness and take the chill off. I then tossed a couple dozen hot out of the oven wings in the sauce just before serving. Drenched in sauce, the wings were pretty spicy. I kept a glass of milk within reach to occasionally douse the flames. The heat didn't stop my wife and I from devouring all the wings in a matter of minutes.

Fox Bros. Wing Sauce may break with Buffalo tradition, but folks in Atlanta don't seem to mind. The can also count me a new fan of their product. I love the added sweet element that Fox Bros. features. In my opinion it really elevates the sauce above most other wing sauces. This bottle of sauce has solidified Fox Bros. as one of my "must visit" BBQ joints next time I'm in the South.

Note: Samples of this product were provided by Snazzy Gourmet. Check out to purchase Fox Bros. products or any of their other gourmet sauces, marinades, rubs and snacks.

Be sure to click our "Product Reviews" page to see Fox Bros. Wing Sauce's star rating.

Urban Accents Red Pepper and Garlic Beef & Burger Rub

After using and reviewing Urban Accents' "Perfect Pork Rub" last week, I was anxious to put their Beef and Burger rub to the test. I was impressed with Urban Accents' upscale approach to BBQ rubs and was curious to see how their style would be expressed through their beef rub.

Snazzy Gourmet provided The "Q" Review with a 1.5 oz. pouch of Red Pepper and Garlic Beef & Burger Rub. Like the pork rub, Beef & Burger was an aromatic blend of coarse and finely ground herbs and spices. It too, features Urban Accents' contemporary and appealing packaging. The rub is clearly visible through the pouch.

This rub was very different (and far more complex) than any other beef rub that I've used. While typical beef rubs focus mainly on a salt, pepper and garlic blend, "Beef and Burger" steps out of the box with ingredients like dill seed and mushroom powder. The blend is also sugar free. The result is a very earthy (and herby) profile that seems a little too gourmet for the BBQ world I'm used to.

I used Urban Accents' Red Pepper and Garlic Beef & Burger Rub on a smoked pot roast. The flavor of the rub was still front and center despite a long, 10 hour cook time. The aroma of the spice rub also stood out. Even though smoked beef smells great on its own, "Beef & Burger" provided a mouth water boost. The roast smelled as good as anything I've ever pulled off the smoker. I sliced the beef and served without sauce. The rub was so flavorful that I didn't want to mask it with sauce.

The remainder of the sample pouch went on four thick burgers. The weather outside was frightful this week so I had to cook the burgers indoors in my new giant frying pan. Once again, the aroma of "Beef & Burger" stood out. It seemed to fill every room in the house. Though the herby (not sure "herby" is a word, but it's the best I can come up with to describe the flavor) flavor was still prominent, I'm not sure I liked the way it meshed with the fried burgers. When it comes to a burger, I more of a salt and pepper guy.

"Beef & Burger" is far more complex and aromatic than what I typically season beef with. Though I tend to favor a more simple seasoning for burgers, I would strongly recommend "Beef & Burger" for roasts. It would be a fantastic choice on a beef (or pork) roast for Sunday dinners or Holiday affairs.

Note: Samples of this product were provided by Snazzy Gourmet. Check out to purchased "Beef & Burger" or any of their other fantastic gourmet sauces, marinades, rubs and snacks.

Don't forget to scan our "Product Reviews" to see Urban Accents' Red Pepper and Garlic Beef & Burger Rub's star rating.

Urban Accents Perfect Pork Cedar Spice Roasting Rub

Urban Accents is a Chicago based specialty foods company founded in 1996. Emphasizing premium, all natural herbs and spices, Urban Accents targets today's home cooks that are looking for something a cut above the norm. The company maintains an upscale, contemporary image through their branding and product line.

I discovered Urban Accents while browsing I found the packaging of their grilling/BBQ rubs very appealing and decided to test some of their products. Snazzy Gourmet was kind enough to provide a sample of the Urban Accents Perfect Pork Cedar Spice Roasting Rub for review.

Urban Accent rubs are stylishly packaged in 1.25 oz pouches. The rub is a mix of coarse and fine ground herbs and spices. "Perfect Pork" is unique in that it's not simply a variation on the brown sugar / paprika blends that are commonly used in BBQ circles on pork. I found the rub to be more earthy and savory than a standard pork rub. The rub does contain sugar, but I wouldn't classify it as sweet rub.

Another unique characteristic of the rub is the natural smoke flavor. While this is a common element in BBQ sauces, I rarely see it used in powder form. I was concerned that it may be a bit bitter in powder form. As it turned out, the smoke flavor gave the rub a deeper complexity than I was expecting.

I used the rub on baby back ribs and paired it with a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. The salty, savory rub held its own, but didn't dominate the overall flavor profile of the ribs. I used the rub liberally giving each bone a bold flavor and aroma. My wife, who rarely comments on spice rubs, was even quick to point out the degree in which the rub enhanced the pork's flavor.

With it's earthy and savory profile, "Perfect Pork" is great for grilling or smoking. However, roasting would be the application that I would most highly recommend this product for. Without the benefit of wood smoke or an open flame, oven roasted pork requires a bit of a flavor boost. The bold herbs and spices in "Perfect Pork" are more than adequate for turning a boring pork loin roast into something fresh and upscale.

Note: Samples of this product were provided by Snazzy Gourmet. Check out to purchase Urban Accents rubs or any of their other fantastic gourmet sauces, marinades, rubs and snacks.

Don't forget to check out The "Q" Review's Product Reviews page to see the star rating for Perfect Pork Cedar Spice Roasting Rub.

Bone Suckin Sauce

Since starting The "Q" Review in June 2010, I've reviewed seventy two BBQ sauces. Most of the sauces that I've featured have been very good. Some have been exceptional. With so many great sauces in the world of BBQ, it's almost impossible to choose a single favorite.

However, that wasn't always the case. Before I started blogging, my exposure to great BBQ sauce was pretty limited. I primarily used the national brand sauces found in every neighborhood supermarket. The lone exception was Bone Suckin' Sauce. It's safe to say that Bone Suckin' Sauce was my clear favorite at the time.

While The "Q" Review has expanded my knowledge of BBQ sauce a great deal, I've never had the opportunity to review the original Bone Suckin' Sauce. Fortunately, the good people at Snazzy Gourmet offered me the chance to do just that. Bone Suckin' Sauce is just one of many gourmet products offered by the online retailer.

Bone Suckin' Sauce (Raleigh, NC) is one of the most award winning sauces on the market. Publications like Newsweek and Food & Wine have even declared Bone Suckin' Sauce the best in the United States. Those kinds of accolades have helped Bone Suckin' Sauce grow from a small, regional product into a national brand.

While many small batch sauces are now packaged in mason jars, Bone Suckin' Sauce was one of the first to use this trendy method of bottling. The bright red sauce is contrasted by a their recognizable white label. The look is simple, but very appealing. The sauce is on the thin side and pours very quickly from the wide mouthed jar.

Bone Suckin' Sauce uses all natural sweeteners like honey and molasses for a rich initial sweetness. True to it's Carolina roots, the sauce also features a hefty amount of tangy apple cider vinegar. To create a truly unique flavor profile, the sauce adds a dash mustard and horse radish. Garlic, peppers, earthy spices and natural hickory smoke round out the ingredients.

The sweet and tangy sauce begged to paired with pork so I cracked the seal on the 16 oz. mason jar for baby back ribs this weekend. Though the sauce is thin, it's just thick enough to brush on the meat. It takes a few coats, but leaves a beautiful glossy shine.

The sweet sauce only gets sweeter after it hits the heat of an open flame. The tang mellows and the spices accent an exceptional flavor. The sauce was perfect on the ribs and paired very nicely with the salty rub that I used. Being relatively thin, it would also be fantastic poured over pulled pork, chicken or beef.

It's easy to see why Bone Suckin Sauce is so well thought of. The company has managed to bring Carolina BBQ to the masses with their sweet, tangy concoction. After spending the last seven years in North Carolina, it's exactly the type of sauce that I've grown to love. Be sure to check our "Product Reviews" page to see Bone Suckin' Sauce's star rating.

Note: Samples of this product were provided by Snazzy Gourmet. Check out to purchase Bone Suckin Sauce or any of their other fantastic gourmet sauces, marinades, rubs and snacks.

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