This summer the Heinz BBQ Pitmaster Collection hit the shelves with the support of 4 styles representing American BBQ. When I cook I’m a “sauce on the side guy” for the most part but these offerings present a solid case to go wet.
I kicked the tires on these sauces over several meals and while I was disappointed there wasn’t a mustard sauce, we have a great variety to work with.
Carolina Vinegar Style Tangy (Sam Jones, Skylight Inn)
Real Carolina barbecue is all about the deep-rooted traditions of whole-hog barbecue slow cooked over wood coals. We’ve teamed up with Sam Jones, of the legendary Skylight Inn BBQ in Ayden, North Carolina to craft a true Carolina style sauce that blends the distinctive tang of apple cider vinegar with just the right bit of sweet and spice to make it the perfect addition to your favorite pulled pork.
YLBBQ thoughts: Do yourself a favor and add this to your next pulled pork. In fact, we did! Seriously, smoke it now, rip it apart and give it a bath. As a standalone sauce it has a thin body, very acidic, and heavy on the vinegar but the sweetness tones down the twang a bit and the spices really stand out. Slap it between buns, top it with slaw and you’ll have a picnic favorite.
Texas Sauce Bold & Spicy (Robert Sierra, S&S Pit Crew)
In Texas, there’s nothing shy about barbecue, and a great Texas style sauce means bold flavors and big personality. That’s why Heinz teamed up with Robert Sierra, pitmaster of the Texas State Grand Champion S&S Pit Crew competition barbecue team from San Marcos, Texas. This sauce captures the very best of Texas barbecue – combining spices like cumin and chili powder for a sauce that’s bold and flavorful with just the right kick.
YLBBQ thoughts: Thick, bold and spicy. I think it’s too much on the bitter side (could be heavy on the black strap molasses) for how I enjoy my ribs and the and found the best pairing to come from local kielbasa. In the end it is hands down the universal sauce of the group. It can be used on anything and perform like a rockstar.
Memphis Sweet & Spicy (Dan Brown, Leonard’s PIT Barbecue)
From the birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll, the tradition of Memphis barbecue is rich and sweet with a pop of spice. To create a truly great Memphis style barbecue sauce, Heinz teamed up with Dan Brown of Memphis’ own Leonard’s PIT Barbecue – a barbecue institution since 1922. With sweet brown sugar and the flavors of the region’s traditional dry rubs, this is a sweet and spicy sauce that’s sure to be a favorite.
YLBBQ thoughts: Chicken. This is without a doubt made for chicken. The Memphis Sweet and Spicy is more on the sweet side with a subtle spice aftertaste. Paint your bird or have it as a dipping sauce, this is a can’t miss with chicken. I grilled chicken breasts and the meal was ideal but it really stood out on a rotisserie chicken from Market District.
Kansas City Sweet & Smoky (Joe and Mike Pearce, Slap’s BBQ)
Rooted in generations of barbecue tradition, great Kansas City style barbecue sauce is a perfect balance of thick, sweet, and tangy. Heinz teamed up with Kansas City natives and award-winning pitmasters, Joe and Mike Pearce, to craft a Kansas City style sauce that is a mouthwatering blend of that sweet and smokey deliciousness that the region is known for.
YLBBQ thoughts: My first taste of barbecue outside of Pennsylvania was in Kansas City in my mid 20’s. My friend I was visiting took me to a local rib joint that would forever change how I viewed BBQ. One taste of this sauce was an instant flashback to that experience. Perfect balance of smoke and sweet will compliment any rack of ribs you put on the smoker. Be careful you don’t over-smoke your ribs or this sauce may fight back. The smoke is present but not overpowering which is the zone you want to be in.
These are all solid sauces with specific meals in mind. Don’t just take my word for it, pick them up and see which you like best. I bought these on sale 2/$4 at Market District at the time and have seen a sampler pack of all 4 at WalMart online for under $6. I’ve tested several sauces over the years and the Carolina Vinegar Style Tangy and Kansas City Sweet & Smoky stood out as 2 that I would buy on a regular basis.