It’s Christmas time, and as usual there were a couple of BBQ and foodie items under the tree this year. One of them, was a bottle of Tommy Bahama Blackberry Brandy BBQ Sauce. The label states is great for pork, so I fired up the grill and grilled up some boneless pork loin chops to give it a try.
The sauce was thinner than I expected it to be. It was nearly as thin as Worcestershire sauce. And frankly, it wasn’t as flavorful as I’d hoped. It didn’t get sticky and create the glaze I was hoping for. I did enjoy the flavor, althought I can’t say it was necessarily blackberry or brandy flavored. It turns out, that the sauce was better as a dipping sauce than as a cooking sauce.
I definitely enoyed it enough to finish the bottle, but I don’t think I’ll be buying any more of this novelty sauce.
I love the “microbrew” movement in BBQ sauces and rubs. It has created many new products and companies that share the love of good BBQ with a passion to make a great product.
Shane Draper at Draper’s BBQ is one of those folks who is sharing his passion and family traditions via his own “microbrew” BBQ sauce and rub. Shane is a 3rd generation pitmaster from Western Kentucky and as the label states, there’s “3 generations of pride and flavor in a bottle” that honors his family hertiage. While I had met Shane on line awhile back, it was only recently that I actually got to chat with him a little at the Kentucky Bluegrass festival where he was sharing samples of his products.
I came home with a bottle of both the A.P. Rub and the Smokin’ Sauce. I’d planned to cook with these products righ away, but a little knife accident sidelined me for a couple of weeks. I finally had the opportunity to fire up the grill and try out Draper’s rub & sauce. I like to sample rubs and sauces with pork tenderloin or chicken. I think flavors stand out a little more with these meats.
So, we had a couple of pork tenderloins ready to go for dinner last night. I applied the A.P. Rub to both and grilled them on the Bubba Keg. When they were nearly done, I gave one of them a coat of Smokin’ Sauce as a finish. Then, I sliced them and the family sat down to dinner.
Now usually, my wife and I like a finish sauce on pork tenderloin, but my kids prefer them dry. The Smokin’ Sauce definitely changed that. Much to my surprise, the kids couldn’t get enough of the sauced tenderloin. In fact, one of my daughters said, “I can’t eat any more, but can I lick the sauce off that last piece?” Now if that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is!
In all seriousness, Smokin’ Sauce is a tomato based sauce with a slightly sweet finish and just a little kick. Don’t think “Kansas City” when I say sweet, cause that’s not what I’m talking about. This is more Memphis than KC, but I’d even hesitate to put it in the category of Memphis style sauces. I have also tried the sauce on brisket and for me, I’d have to say that I prefered it on pork. But it was a good compliment to both.
The A.P. Rub is a really nice balance of salt, spice, and sweet. In fact Shane was sampling the product sprinkled on popcorn in Danville, KY. I found it just a little sweeter than the rubs I’ve been using most often. That’s probably what makes it more all purpose than rubs targeted at a specific meat. For comparison, I’d definitely put it in the cateogry of a Dizzy Pig or Yardbird type of rub. Truly, it’s an all-purpose (or A.P.) rub.
I’m very happy with the products and I’ll continue to cook with them. I’m also anxious to try the other sauces that Shane’s working on.
June 11th – cooking pork butt for a graduation party.
June 18th – my first BBQ competition
June 25th – pork butt & brisket for my cousin’s wedding reception
So with all that to do over the next month, I realized that I needed to lay in a few supplies and settle on a flavor profile (at least for the month of June). Since I’ve been using Plowboy’s Yardbird, it’s become my go to rub. Likewise, Blueshog BBQ sauce has become my go to sauce for ribs. I’m still in search of a go to sauce to apply to sandwiches, but for now I think I’m set.
I’m a lucky man. I grew up & still live within spitting distance of the home of Mike Mills and 17th Street Bar & Grill, one of the best BBQ joints in the country. Mike is referred to as “The Legend” based on his record as a competition BBQ team, his restaurants (So. Ill, New York, Las Vegas), not to mention his outstanding BBQ. I’ve written about the restaurant before, you can find that blog post here.
I’ve become a regular at the O’Fallon, IL restaurant and thoroughly enjoy the ribs there. 17th Street’s ribs are dry rubbed and served with just a touch of their house BBQ sauce, so on my last trip I picked up a bottle of sauce for home.
Since then I’ve tried it on brisket, pulled chicken, and pork steaks. And it’s a great compliement to all of them. It’s a thin, vinegary sauce with just the right amount of pepper & spice. I’ve gone through nearly an entire bottle of the past 2 weeks, so that should tell you something.
I don’t usually make my own sauce or BBQ rub, cause I find that there are so many good sauces & rubs on the market.
I’ll bet you’re like me and you find that you have a standard sauce that you go to for most things. Mine is Sweet Baby Ray‘s original sauce. As a result, I typically have a few open bottles with just a little bit left in the bottom.
Recently, I was doing BBQ beef on the Big Green Egg and as I got ready to pull and sauce the chuck roasts I realized that I had 5 partial bottles of Sweet Baby Rays. I snapped this picture of all the wounded soldiers on my Big Green Egg table.
What’s your “go to” sauce? Drop me a comment and let me know.