May 2, 2013
"The Shed" Reality Show TV Primer
and BBQ Sauce Review
Last week my friend and I were testing out some BBQ sauce that I received from the guys at The Shed. Normally we love making our own sauce; however, when BBQ sauce arrives at the front door it seems wise to test it out rather than to file it away somewhere in the cabinet.
There's a fun little back story here with The Shed. When I was at the Kingsford Invitational last year, one of the judges was Brad Orrison. Brad and his family run a BBQ "joint" called The Shed in Mississippi. It's very popular and the Orrison family has also become a premier team in BBQ competitions. One night after the filming of the Kingsford Invitational Brad and I were stumbling back to the bus (hey, they provided us a lot of free beer). I said to Brad, "You know, you're a goofball. You should be on a reality TV show." He said something along the lines of, "oh yeah, wouldn't that be sweet!" It looks like Food Network agreed with me. The Orrison family is going to be featured on the Food Network this fall with a reality series documenting The Shed and the crazy antics of the Orrison family. That's pretty cool so keep your eye out for the show. Anyway, Brad and his dad sent me some BBQ sauce so here's what I thought about it:
Testing the "Southern Sweet Sauce" on a Buffalo Chicken Fatty
I'm really into making buffalo chicken fatties. It's basically a weave of bacon, with chicken, hot wing sauce, blue cheese, parmesan cheese, and garlic rolled up and smoked. At the end of the smoke I like to brush a simple BBQ sauce all over the top. The basic "southern sweet" seemed perfect. I didn't want too strong of a flavor but I certainly wanted that BBQ sauce flavor to shine through. This sauce worked great. It's a thick rich tomato based sauce with a good bit of sweetness. I couldn't detect any spicy heat in the sauce which makes it a good general BBQ sauce for any purpose. This sauce would work great on a pulled pork pizza. Hmmm, maybe I'll do that next.
Testing the Spicy Mustard and Spicy Sweet BBQ Sauces on Ribs
I took a total of three bottles over to my friend's house: Spicy Mustard, Spicy Sweet and the Southern Sweet BBQ sauce. The general plan was to smoke baby back ribs on the Weber Smokey Mountain in a rib rack for about 3-4 hours and then foil them until tender. The ribs were then brushed with sauce and put on a medium heat charcoal grill to caramelize the sauce a little bit. Conveniently, we had three racks of ribs. Three racks + three sauces = happy me.
The first thing I noticed was that all three sauces were nice and thick. When I poured them on the rib racks the sauce just stuck there. It didn't run off. The sauce brush was needed to spread it all over the rib racks. The spicy mustard sauce had a real nice yellow color that I thought was quite unique. The spicy sweet sauce and the southern sweet sauce had a similar dark red color. All three sauces tasted great with the finger test (sticking a finger in the jar and licking it). My favorite of the three was the spicy mustard sauce. This was a unique sauce that had a nice strong mustard flavor. It worked really well with the ribs. Next, the spicy sweet sauce was my second favorite. This had a nice heat going that was balanced with a rich sweetness. This is a real nice basic sauce. As with the buffalo chicken fatty I discuss above, the basic southern sweet sauce was also really nice. However, this sauce provided the least flavor to the ribs. It was a basic BBQ sauce. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes the ribs are so good all you want is a basic sauce with no overpowering flavor. The southern sweet sauce is just this type of sauce.
All three sauces worked really well yet provided different experiences. The mustard sauce dominated the flavor department because it is strong and spicy. Thumbs up all the way. The spicy sweet sauce also provided nice flavor with both a sweet and spicy kick. The most basic sauce, the southern sweet sauce, really allowed the baby back rib flavor, the smoke flavor, and the dry rub to shine through. If I had to pick just one, however, I would go with the spicy mustard. I thought it was amazing and was one of those sauces where you lick your fingers nonstop. The other two are good as well so I'm just thankful to have a box full to keep experimenting with!!! Thanks Brad and Craig!
One last thing that stood out to me was that on the side of the bottle the phrase "junk free" is present. These sauces appear to have no preservatives and are designed to contain simple natural ingredients. Sounds good to me! These sauces should be available in most grocery stores as well as online.
Disclaimer: The Orrisons sent me free BBQ sauce to sample. I really liked them. As with all of my reviews, if it wasn't good, I simply wouldn't write about them.