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.
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?