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

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