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A day with the Pitmasters

Commemorative Hawg with a Heart to raise funds for Operation BBQ Relief

More News

The National Barbecue News is proud to announce the winners of the 2015 Sauces of Honors contest. This is a National barbecue sauce contest that had 165 total entries this year. Our goal for this contest each year is very simple: find the best sauce that accompanies smoked pork, chicken or beef. All entries were judged in rounds and by a comparative basis. Thanks again for all who sent us your entries and we look forward to doing it all again next year as well!

PORK – 59 Entries
  1. Captain Carolina – Company 7 BBQ
  2. Old Southern BBQ – Chicago Blue
  3. “Betty’s Blend” – Freddy Rays BBQ
  4. Sugar Britches BBQ Sauce & Glaze Spicy
  5. Sweet & Tangy – Sugar Hill Smokehouse
  6. “Creeper” – Freddy Rays BBQ
  7. Sweet Sauce O’ Mine
  8. Sucklebusters – Original
  9. Holy Smoke – Holy Smoke, LLC
  10. Sweet Barbecue Bones – Big B Barbecue
CHICKEN – 56 Entries
  1. Full Boar BBQ “Sweet & Spicy”
  2. Hogs ’N Heat – Sweet & Savory BBQ Sauce
  3. Chief Smoky – Company 7 BBQ
  4. Dimples Sweet BBQ Sauce
  5. Captain Carolina – Company 7 BBQ
  6. Eroc’s – “Sweet Fig & Jamaican Rum”
  7. Ole Ray’s – Apple/Cinnamon Barbeque Sauce
  8. Sugar Britches BBQ Sauces & Glaze Spicy
  9. Anna’a Famous Sauce – Team Top Chick
  10. Riley’s Triple R Sauce
BEEF – 50 Entries
  1. Chief Smoky – Company 7 BBQ
  2. Eroc’s – “Sweet Fig & Jamaican Rum”
  3. Smoky Jon’s Original Gourmet Supreme BBQ Sauce
  4. Full Boar BBQ “Sweet & Spicy”
  5. Sucklebusters – Original
  6. Sugar Britches BBQ Sauces & Glaze Spicy
  7. Riley’s Triple R Sauce
  8. Sierra Gourmet – Sierra Gourmet Grill
  9. Smoky Jon’s Fiery Gourmet Supreme BBQ Sauce
  10. Old Southern BBQ – Chicago Blue


By Linda Orrison

Here’s an opportunity for Southern BBQ folks to be a part of history!  To have your menus, signed cookbooks, and that old BBQ sign that’s sitting outback preserved permanently at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum!

Next time you are in the New Orleans area, I would highly recommend taking the time to visit the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.  This place is so very interesting to anyone, let alone the likes of we foodies.

SoFAB, as it is called, documents and celebrates the food and drink of all southern cultures through exhibits and programming. SoFAB is home to several entities, among them the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, The Museum of the American Cocktail, the John & Bonnie Boyd Hospitality & Culinary Library, and the Pacific Food and Beverage.

SoFAB, guided by curator Stephen Raichlen, a James Beard award-winning author and TV personality, with the help of their excellent staff, is rapidly growing into the nation’s most comprehensive cultural institution studying food and drink.

Many southern cultures are honored, and BBQ is very prominent by the installation of the Trail of Smoke and Fire.

Texas: Aaron Franklin
Louisiana: Cajun Microwave from The Crawfish Guy
Mississippi: The Shed
Alabama: Big Bob Gibson's
Florida: A mullet smoker
Oklahoma: Hasty Bake
South Carolina: Our own presentation of an oyster roast
North Carolina: Ed Mitchell's
Georgia: The Big Green Egg
Arkansas: Outdoor Kitchen, Spadden's
Virginia: Edward's Hams
West Virginia:  Kingsford
Maryland: Fat Daddy's
Tennessee: Rendevous
Kentucky: Moonlight Barbecue

They also have a Shadden’s BBQ sign from Arkansas, and Kentucky’s Fancy Farm Picnic has sent several items to display.
SoFAB is reaching out to NBBQA members to make sure that anyone who wants to be a part of BBQ history has an invitation to do so.
Now’s your opportunity to make a statement for your southern que!  All that is required is to put it in the mail and send it to them.

SoFAB Institute
1609 O.C. Haley Blvd.
New Orleans, LA  70113
502-569 0405

If you are sending a sign or any other memorabilia you think worthy (other than menus and books), please contact Liz Williams, President at to give them a heads up.

Hope to see you all represented in this great project!

Does it really matter with what you start?

By National Barbecue News Cooking Crew

One of the biggest secrets to making great barbecue is consistency. Being able to produce the same product every time you cook is tough, but it is impossible if do not start with the same raw product each and every time. Today we have the opportunity, like never before, to choose what type of proteins we want to start with. With brisket we have Wagyu, Angus, Prime, Select, Kobe as well as several other options. We also have those same options now with pork and the Berkshire, Duroc, Heritage, Hampshire breeds just to name a few choices. Most of the mass produced pork offered today comes from the Chester White breed but because these breeds are grown on different farms there is no guarantee that they all have the same diet. This fact will produce a different end product to your barbecue and the only sure way to really know what you will end up with is to start with the same product each and every time.

We decided to do a test between a slab of Huntspoint ribs versus a really good slab of mass produced grocery store ribs.  Below you can see the difference it makes to start with a quality product. We found that versus the standard ribs you buy at the grocery store we could get at least 2 more ribs per rack that were suited for a turn in box, which no doubt would have us cooking fewer slabs at a competition. We also found in our test that we wasted less when trimming up our slabs. Our slabs all started out at 2.7 to 2.9 pounds per slab. After we trimmed the fat and excess off our Huntspoint ribs we only lost 2 ounces, while our standard store bought ribs lost over 8 ounces…which is a total of 6 ounces difference in the trash. (The average rib contains 2 to 3 ounces of meat when finished cooking)

Huntspoint meats can help keep your barbecue consistent and different from your next-door neighbor or competitor. They offer several different pork products from smaller independent farms that will guarantee you will be starting with the same products each time you compete or serve your friends and family. Huntspoint can also handle your catering and restaurant bulk orders as well. No doubt our Huntspoint ribs cost more then our store bought ribs, but in the end you will get what you pay for. With less waste, more uniform shape and much more consistent marbling will make your barbecue much more consistent then just everyday grocery store meats. To answer our question “does it really matter what you start with?’ there really is evidence here that shows indeed it does matter.

Photo by NBN Cooking Crew
Standard ribs on top and Huntspoint Heritage Ribs on bottom: Two things that are noticeably different right out of the pack. 1) The color (above). 2) The thickness consistency from end to end (below).

Photo by NBN Cooking Crew
Standard ribs on top and Huntspoint Heritage Ribs on bottom: Two things that are noticeably different right out of the pack. 1) The color (above). 2) The thickness consistency from end to end (below).

Get sauced this summer!

By Ardie A. Davis

Take a look at the barbecue sauce options on the shelves of your local grocery store or supermarket today. What’s a consumer to do? So much sauce, so little time!

Faced with hundreds of commercially available barbecue sauces and millions of possible homemade recipes, how do you find the sauces that will measure up to what you want? Most of us will try a sauce someone we know has raved about. Sometimes a good ad will lure us. Often a 3-second glance at a label.

Does great barbecue require sauce or not? Some say anyone can barbecue. It’s the sauce that matters. Others say barbecue excellence requires no sauce. You decide for yourself. You’ll be in good company wherever you land.

I love it when someone tells me, “Your barbecue is so good it needs no sauce,” On the other hand, I’m not offended if someone puts sauce on my barbecue. I like it both ways as long as the sauce is good and it is applied with moderation instead of in meat drowning mode.

First, a few basic barbecue and sauce some lessons:
Always judge barbecue sauce on real barbecue meat. Why? Because it’s a barbecue sauce.

Barbecue is meat cooked with fire and smoke—either hot and fast direct grilling or slow and low indirect smoking. A good barbecue sauce will complement either.

A sauce may look good and taste great straight out of the bottle. When you put a good-looking barbecue sauce on barbecue meat, however, don’t be surprised if your palate shouts, “Yuk!”

On the other hand, a barbecue sauce can look ugly, uninteresting, and taste so-so straight from the bottle—but put it on barbecue meat and your palate shouts “Wow!”

Palates differ: Yuk and Wow are relative to individual palates.

Barbecue sauce should not be used to drown barbecue meat.

Barbecue sauces can multi-task. They are good on barbecue, and many can do wonders with starters, sides, desserts and non-barbecue entrees.

Obey the Pythagorean rule: all things in moderation. Regardless of how good it is, too much is too much!

Don’t trust barbecue sauce tasting notes when Lesson One is ignored. Finger sauce, plastic spoon sauce, saltine cracker sauce and bread sauce is not barbecue sauce. If sauce isn’t tasted on real barbecue, the tasting notes are incomplete.

The best barbecue sauce is the sauce you like. Concerning personal taste there is no argument.

This summer is a good time to get sauced on some remarkable sauces from Canada, Maine, Georgia, Kansas City, California, Texas, Tennessee, and California by way of Kansas City. I tasted each sauce by itself straight out of the bottle and on barbecue pulled pork, pork ribs, beef brisket and chicken.

CattleBoyZ Chipotle Maple Bacon
CattleBoyZ has outdone themselves with the new Chipotle Maple Bacon barbecue sauce honoring Robert Boulton, ambassador for CattleBoyz and ALS. It is sweet. It is thick and slow to pour from the old-fashioned latchtop bottle, but the wait is worth it. The sweet maple kiss says “Good morning, darlin’,” then whaps you with a kick of chipotle to remind you that love hurts. Chipotle gives it a gentle touch of fire, folded into maple sweetness with tiny bacon fragments.

At first bite you think “pancakes and waffles” until the chipotle hits you. It’s especially good on beef and chicken and is great in barbecue pit beans.

Denny Mike’s Mesquite Madness BBQ Sauce
If you’ve met Dennis Michael “DennyMike” Sherman, you know the man is passionate about barbecue and life. No surprise that you can taste that passion in his sauces and seasonings. So what if he’s a Mainer? He’s been baptized in the holy mesquite, oak and hickory smoke of Texas, Mexico, Tennessee and Kansas City. DennyMike puts out a fantastic medley of sauces and rubs, among them one of my favorites, Mesquite Madness.

Used to be that barbecue sauce in Texas barbecue joints was a rarity. At best you might find a bottle of hot sauce or jalapeno-infused vinegar. It’s still that way in parts of Texas, but the last time Chef Paul Kirk and I did a barbecue roadtrip in central Texas there was sauce on every table and sauce for sale in every place we visited.

DennyMike’s smooth tomato base complex blend of spices with a mesquite finish says, “Hello Texas,” but it resonates far beyond the borders of the Lone Star State.

Mesquite Madness dances well with barbecue beef, pork, chicken, burgers, brats and hot dogs. And I can’t wait to use it as a dipping sauce with barbecued lobster!

3 Taxi Guys Cabilicious Tijuana Taxi Sauce
It didn’t take long for these three guys to get in step with blowing barbecue smoke. According to their story, Rick, Jamie and John are “triplets” because they are so much alike, all three drawn to the taxi business. They met at a taxi convention in Las Vegas, landed in the same jail cell, and discovered their shared passion for barbecue. Suddenly there was a new line of barbecue sauces and rubs, aptly named “3 Taxi Guys.” No offense to taxi drivers, but this sauce will make your barbecue a whole lot more fun than a taxi ride in Atlanta, Pittsburg or San Francisco, the respective home towns of the 3 Taxi Guys. They make some fantastic barbecue sauces and have a lot of fun doing it. When they went to Mexico, searching for their “triplet sisters,” they took a ride in a Tijuana Taxi that inspired this sauce.

The vinegar base, slightly grainy blend of chili seasonings is similar to Arthur Bryant’s Original with added spicy Tijuana flavor notes.  Outstanding on pulled pork, pork ribs, beef and chicken; especially good as a vinegar base complement to pork. I’m thinking that a splash or two in a Bloody Mary would be perfect. A splash would also put some zing in a shot of gold tequila.

Rufus Teague Whiskey Maple
The Rufus Teague whiskey flask bottle and label is a stroke of marketing genius. Featuring a grainy 19th century image of an old Amish-style bearded gentleman in a Derby hat, dress shirt, tie and suit, looking straight at you with an almost smile and “Rufus Teague Made Some Sauce” next to the image, it pulls you in and inspires trust. Rufus’ story is short and sweet. He made some sauce. Everyone liked it and urged him to make more. This whiskey maple sauce pays homage to Rufus’ appreciation for good whiskey and maple syrup. The bottle, label, and story—embellished or not—grab your attention. When you try the sauce, you’re hooked.

Rufus’ smooth, sweet tomato base, stick-to-your-bones texture with whiskey and maple accents up front is a crowd pleaser. I especially like it on chicken. It is also good on beef and pork, especially on pork ribs. Yes to whiskey, yes to maple, yes to Rufus!

Southern Pride Culinary Classic BBQ Sauce
Chances are, more than one of your favorite barbecue restaurants cooks with a Southern Pride gas, mobile or electric smoker. Southern Pride stainless steel insulated pits are among the most popular in the barbecue restaurant industry. It’s no wonder that since Southern Pride knows barbecue, they also know sauce. I like the philosophy expressed on the label: “At Southern Pride we believe great BBQ doesn’t need sauce, but we understand that old habits die hard. So until that time, enjoy this traditional tomato-based sauce that is a good complement to any type of meat.”

Given the list of ingredients, I expected a very sweet candy sauce. The first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup. There’s also brown sugar, honey, molasses and corn syrup. The masterful addition of Worcestershire sauce, garlic, natural smoke flavor and other seasonings, however, make it a very smooth and slightly spicy barbecue sauce with a tangy finish that is good at first bite with or without barbecue meat. It is aptly labeled “classic” because the flavor is what we’ve come to expect from a barbecue sauce. This one is notches above many others.

Southern Pride is good on everything. I especially like it on chicken and beef, and it will transform grilled pork, turkey or beef burgers from good to remarkable.

SuckleBusters Sweet Tangy Spicy Original BBQ Sauce
SuckleBuster means “bustin’ with flavor.” Dan Arnold learned the word from his dad when he was growing up in East Texas. Dan and his wife Cheryl’s many awards testify that their barbecue sauces live up to the SuckleBuster definition.

SuckleBusters Sweet Tangy Spicy Original vinegar base with a cayenne kick is sweet up front, then tangy with a gentle cayenne kick. It is fantastic on chicken, beef and pork. Also try mixing 1/4 cup sauce per pound of ground chuck, pork or turkey burger patties before grilling. Yum!

KC Masterpiece 35th Ann. Classic
KC Masterpiece Barbecue Sauce has launched a million dreams. Everyone who has taken or plans to take the leap into the competitive business of making and selling barbecue sauce is inspired by the Dr. Rich Davis success story. The original has been a staple in my cupboard since Dr. Davis introduced in Kansas City thirty-five years ago.

The limited edition 35th Anniversary Classic, available online or in stores in the Midwest, Colorado and Texas, is true to the original with real sugar and molasses. Smooth, sweet, tomato base with secret seasonings and a pepper finish make this “masterpiece” an American classic.

It is versatile and all-purpose on barbecue meats, slathered on a few minutes before removing from the grill or served on the side as a dipping sauce. It is the essential “secret” ingredient in my barbecue pit beans that are always a big hit. “Made with love and real sugar.” Believe it.
Eating barbecue and tasting sauces is a hands-on activity. Make sure your outdoor garden hose is working, or plan to clean up at the nearest car wash when you’re finished.


Chicken with Roasted Poblano Chile Cream Sauce

Fire Up The Grill
By Steve Collins
The Home Chef



National Barbecue News is proud to be official publication of the following organizations:


The Barbecue Lover’s Big Book of BBQ Sauces: 225 Extraordinary Sauces, Rubs, Marinades, Mops, Bastes, Pastes and Salsas, for Smoke-Cooking or Grilling

By Bill Jamison


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