Barbecue Sauce

The Food Network offers the Barbecue Sauce of the Month Club.  Christmas is coming, and hint, hint.  I slather the red stuff on everything.  I just ate a baked potato with nothing but bbq sauce.  My Chicago friend, Linda, is probably the only one who understands me.  The wrong sauce can ruin a perfectly good hunk of meat.  It’s everything.

Vienna Beef, of the hot dog fame, makes a DELICIOUS bbq sauce, but nobody carries it.  You have to go to the factory down by where Cabrini Green Housing Projects used to be.  Linda and I used to split a case (2 gallons each).  But that’s not practical now that I live in CA.

So I’ve settled. 

I’ve been Sweet Baby Ray’s guy, even though it’s more on the sweet side than the tangy side.  The original recipe is best.  I pour it on ribs, burgers, chicken, chops and steaks.  French fries.  Potatoes.  Sandwiches.  In Bill-world, most food is simply a bbq sauce conveyance mechanism.  

But lately, another sauce has shoved Sweet Baby Ray’s down the ladder a few rungs.

Bull’s-Eye Barbecue Sauce “Sweet and Tangy” variety.  Delicious–and made with no high-fructose corn syrup!

Most of the sauces in California tend toward the hot spicy side of the spectrum, with a little chile powder thrown in.  I hate chile powder.  Hate, hate, hate it.  Sorry, I can’t control my taste buds.  When I go out for bbq, I end up with something a little too spicy for my tastes.  I’m looking for sweet and tangy.

The Bull’s-Eye Sweet & Tangy sauce lives up to its name.  A perfect balance–it makes meat taste candy coated.  I tried to take my bbq destiny in my own hands, and made a pretty good sauce of my own.  Sweet and tangy (I added lemon).  But the Bull’s-Eye beats mine, hands down.

Most of the bbq ribs in town are slow cooked and then dabbed with sauce.  So far, so good.  The great tragedy is that they don’t finish off the ribs over an open flame.  Un-charred bbq is joyless bbq, I think.  I look for a touch of caramelized crispiness on my ribs.  Sadly, only one place in town does that… and they have my favorite ribs (I ain’t sayin…)… but their sauce isn’t as good as Bull’s-Eye’s.

In Chicago, I loved Merle’s (in Evanston)–where everything about the place says “pig.”  And Smokey Bones (in Naperville).  My brother had a few places he liked.  I miss those places.  Full service restaurants.  Not fast food.  A dining experience of delicious bbq.  

Try the Sweet & Tangy, and let me know what you think.

Here’s a video of me being a barbecue rock star.  Okay, so it’s not me.  I can dream, can’t I?


8 thoughts on “Barbecue Sauce

  1. Oh man, your brother has bought me a good amount of Uncle Bub’s over the last few years…that stuff is EEEEEXCELLENT.

  2. Bill,

    Just moved to Vegas and I can understand yor BBQ sauce yearnings. I completely agree with you on Vienna BBQ sauce (never thought I would think longingly of Fullerton and Damen) and Sweet Baby Ray’s. I will have to try the Sweet and Tangy. I learned to try the offbeat brands at different local chain grocery stores. Usually the stuff is junk, but you have to be adventurous.

  3. Bill –

    As a truly devoted disciple of the grill I must lovingly disagree with you on this topic.

    Like good spaghetti sauce, good BBQ sauce cannot be purchased, it must be made; slowly – with the utmost attention, according a closely guarded secret recipe. Keep searching and do not abandon your quest, your own special nirvana sauce is just another try away.


  4. Bill,

    I bbq all the time. Remember the first NCR rib cook-off? My ribs were pretty good. My homeade rib sauce is my favorite, but Claimjumpers has the next best thing. I get it shipped to Idaho. GO BEARS!

  5. Bill,
    Not to make you homesick or anything, but there’s major news on the bbq Home front…
    Sweet Baby Ray’s has opened 2 restaurants…Elk Grove Village and Woodale. Yes, SBR, that purveyor of one of the finest sauces to ever carmelize on a piece o’ pig, is now a purveyor of their very own fine smoked meats. Their brisket made my heart skip a beat. 😉 Wednesday night is ALL YOU CAN EAT RIBS!!! (Only $16.99!!!) I predict I’ll be 300 lbs by Easter.

    Here’s a link so you can see where I’ll be committing gluttony:

    John H: Next time you’re in town….

    Stickyly yours,
    ps. The video would have been better if the grills had a good, smoky fire going.

    pps. Rex is back. Orton’s out for a month. Be on the lookout for blocked passes and Int’s. I can’t bear to watch

  6. I do understand BBQ. The wrong sauce and ….yeah, gotta love Vienna, it is the best. Even I sometimes have trouble getting down there to buy it though and that’s when I buy “Famous Dave”s devil sauce” . quite good as well ( hate that name though). I actually buy it @ Menards.

  7. Hi Bill! We LOVE BBQ too! Lou considers himself quite the expert, he learned on a mission trip to Memphis where they have excellent BBQ. He actually orders Corky’s BBQ sauce from there! You have got to come back & visit Chicago, BBQ places are popping up allover. A few we recommend are: Smoque on Pulaski, Fat Willy’s on Western and Smokin Woodys on Lincoln. Anyway, we enjoy reading your blog. Even though we aren’t in Shipmates anymore, we still learn from your bits of spiritual truth (and sense of humor).
    Lou and Peggy Ballasch

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