Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
MarketStEl

Wrecked Barbeque Sauce

Recommended Posts

I think I may have made this request before, but if this hasn't been done already, could someone kidnap Rich Davis and drown him in molasses?

After all, whoever did this would only be doing to the creator of KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce what he did to the sauce itself.

(An aside: Some of you who are history buffs may have picked up on the obscure reference in my topic title. One of the worst man-made disasters to strike the city of Boston occurred in 1911 when a molasses tank at a sugar refinery in the city's North End exploded, sending a syrupy brown tidal wave through the neighborhood and into the harbor. The gooey flood killed dozens, knocked out the Atlantic Avenue elevated and caused serious property damage.)

A hint of sweetness is characteristic of Kansas City barbecue, but IME real Kansas City barbecue -- and barbecue sauce -- has just that: A hint of sweetness. KC Masterpiece is sweeter than it is tangy, precisely the opposite of my favorite KC sauce -- Gates' -- and also far from the taste of the other good Kansas City sauces I've had (Cowtown, Jack Stack, Zarda).

And here on the East Coast, where most people think Kansas City is a city in Kansas (it isn't: Kansas City, Kansas is), all the private-label Kansas City sauces you find in the supermarkets are chock-full of molasses.

Now one chain has taken a step for the worse. I was in a Wegmans supermarket in Cherry Hill, N.J., a few weeks back and noticed that their store brand barbecue sauce came in a Kansas City version.

Wegmans is one of those chains that offer lots of wow and fancy foods, and its store brand has a reputation for quality. But I ended up walking out without a bottle of their Kansas City barbecue sauce.

That's because the very first ingredient listed on the label -- before tomatoes, before "spices", before even molasses -- is high fructose corn syrup.

What's the problem here? Type 2 diabetes-inducing levels of molasses not sweet enough?

And when might those of us in the benighted regions beyond the pale of real barbecue be able to expect a bottle of real barbecue sauce on our store shelves? (Paging Ollie Gates: There's some money being left on the table here.)


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you're preaching to the choir in this subforum. HFCS in BBQ sauce? That's some kind of crime, I think.

Gates doesn't sell sauce in non-KC supermarkets? I didn't realize that. How dreadful for the rest of the country. You need me to mail you a case of it?

:raz:

Seriously though, I think if I moved away from Kansas City, I would probably just stop eating BBQ out, either making the sauce the way I think it's meant to be, or waiting until I can come back to visit. Same way I don't generally eat BBQ on vacation. A few months ago, I was sitting in an open air beachfront restaurant in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, with a group of people all from the Kansas City area, and mixed in among the authentic Mexican dishes and fresh seafood, was "barbecued" baby back ribs. Someone at my table actually ordered them. I don't get it. Why fly 600 miles south into another country, and then eat a poor imitation of something your hometown is famous for?


"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think you're preaching to the choir in this subforum.  HFCS in BBQ sauce?  That's some kind of crime, I think. 

Gates doesn't sell sauce in non-KC supermarkets?  I didn't realize that.  How dreadful for the rest of the country.  You need me to mail you a case of it? 

:raz:

Seriously though, I think if I moved away from Kansas City, I would probably just stop eating BBQ out, either making the sauce the way I think it's meant to be, or waiting until I can come back to visit.  Same way I don't generally eat BBQ on vacation.  A few months ago, I was sitting in an open air beachfront restaurant in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, with a group of people all from the Kansas City area, and mixed in among the authentic Mexican dishes and fresh seafood, was "barbecued" baby back ribs.  Someone at my table actually ordered them.  I don't get it.  Why fly 600 miles south into another country, and then eat a poor imitation of something your hometown is famous for?

Truuuuuuuue story. The same can be said for our cheesesteak.


I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There aren't many industrial sweeteners that are cheaper than HFCS, which is why its use is so widespread. Manufacturers and marketers operate under the belief that most consumers do not read labels or ingredient listings. I'm guessing they're right. It's too bad that any sauce can be referred to as a 'Kansas City' version. Not only is that an abomination but I'm guessing that it actually misinforms more consumers (who actually do read labels) than it enlightens.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think you're preaching to the choir in this subforum.  HFCS in BBQ sauce?  That's some kind of crime, I think. 

Gates doesn't sell sauce in non-KC supermarkets?  I didn't realize that.  How dreadful for the rest of the country.  You need me to mail you a case of it? 

:raz:

Seriously though, I think if I moved away from Kansas City, I would probably just stop eating BBQ out, either making the sauce the way I think it's meant to be, or waiting until I can come back to visit.  Same way I don't generally eat BBQ on vacation.  A few months ago, I was sitting in an open air beachfront restaurant in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, with a group of people all from the Kansas City area, and mixed in among the authentic Mexican dishes and fresh seafood, was "barbecued" baby back ribs.  Someone at my table actually ordered them.  I don't get it.  Why fly 600 miles south into another country, and then eat a poor imitation of something your hometown is famous for?

Truuuuuuuue story. The same can be said for our cheesesteak.

Some of us, it appears, are inclined to tempt fate anyway, with predictable results.

In my own defense, I had not planned to seek one out while in the Bay Area. This occurred purely by chance.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There aren't many industrial sweeteners that are cheaper than HFCS, which is why its use is so widespread.  Manufacturers and marketers operate under the belief that most consumers do not read labels or ingredient listings.  I'm guessing they're right.  It's too bad that any sauce can be referred to as a 'Kansas City' version.  Not only is that an abomination but I'm guessing that it actually misinforms more consumers (who actually do read labels) than it enlightens.

=R=

The next time you're in a Jewel supermarket, take a look at the Essensia line of barbecue sauces.

(Essensia is the premium store brand sold in stores operated by the former Albertson's, Inc., now part of SuperValu. In the Philadelphia area, these stores go by the name Acme.)

The brand name is a derivative of the word "essence", and Essensia products all carry on their labels a legend reading "What's essential is [insert name of ingredient or quality specific to the product here]."

Essensia makes four varieties of barbecue sauce: Texas, Southwestern, Memphis and Kansas City.

According to them, for the Kansas City sauce, "what's essential is the molasses."

You can't even find molasses in either Bryant's or Gates' sauce.

Fie on Rich Davis again!


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's because the very first ingredient listed on the label -- before tomatoes, before "spices", before even molasses -- is high fructose corn syrup.

What's the problem here?  Type 2 diabetes-inducing levels of molasses not sweet enough?

And when might those of us in the benighted regions beyond the pale of real barbecue be able to expect a bottle of real barbecue sauce on our store shelves?  (Paging Ollie Gates:  There's some money being left on the table here.)

Because I like things sweet, I actually had to go down into my fridge and look at my bottle of sauce to see what the ingredients were, fully believing that I might have to do a Midnight Confession to you folks.

Not...to...be. The first ingredient in the store-bought sauce I have? Tomatoes (possibly in the form of tomato paste...I'm too lazy to go back downstairs and check). The second ingredient? Distilled vinegar. They don't start sweetening things up until the third or fourth ingredient, and I popped open the bottle to have a quick hit: it's got a nice tangy jolt to go with the sweetness that I so enjoy.

Yeah, yeah...it's Montgomery Inn's sauce, but hey: it's still good, even if I don't live in the true

cue territory. We do have at least a couple of very fine, *real* 'cue places here in the Detroit area (one [slow's] that actually house-makes all 7 of their different sauce offerings), so I'm not a total rube on 'cue or anything.

I understand what you're saying, though: even to a sweet-tooth like me, no BBQ sauce has any right calling itself that if sweetener is the primary ingredient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Sandy,

You might want to try a Texas-style sauce. There is a great recipe in the "Smoke and Spice" book that I've mentioned in the cookbooks section. Compared to KC sauces it has very little sweetness, less tomato, more vinegar, and a lot more spice. I'm actually making the recipe this morning that is called something like "BBQ Ranch Sauce" and obviously has nothing to do with Ranch dressing.

If you like spice, and dislike sweet sauce, then you'd probably like this.

Best,

Alan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After The Pitch's Charles Ferruzza wrote an article wherein he likened KC BBQ to Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat, I wrote this letter to the editor:

Regarding Charles Ferruzza's My Big Fat Mouth (April 27): Great analogy between KC Masterpiece and Rice-A-Roni. When I was in Paris, we were walking near the Sorbonne, and someone hopped out of a box truck, "made" us for USians and, upon finding out we were from KC, invited us into his barbecue restaurant (Randy and Jay's, now in its second decade of operation). He climbed up on the bar, retrieved a dusty old box and proudly showed us a three-bottle gift pack of KC sauces: a Gates, a Bryant's and the dreaded Masterpiece. He was a Memphis native and had returned to the States to judge Memphis in May a time or two since expatriating. We quickly told him that, if he ever opened any of the bottles in the dusty old box, he should 86 the Masterpiece and enjoy the other two.

It's frightening to think, with the location of the BBQ Hall of Fame on the line, that people as far away as Paris might be laboring under the illusion that the thinly veiled molasses glop is our idea of 'que sauce. Sacre bleu!

Judy Jones


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perfect analogy, Judy.

The only difference is that the San Francisco miller who invented Rice-a-Roni didn't have the temerity to open a restaurant there. (I think that Quaker Oats acquired Golden Grain Co. sometime around 1990.)

An even better analogy would be the bakery on Fisherman's Wharf where I purchased a loaf of alleged sourdough bread on my recent visit. Especially if this bakery has ever been featured on a Food Network TV program.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That's because the very first ingredient listed on the label -- before tomatoes, before "spices", before even molasses -- is high fructose corn syrup.

What's the problem here?  Type 2 diabetes-inducing levels of molasses not sweet enough?

And when might those of us in the benighted regions beyond the pale of real barbecue be able to expect a bottle of real barbecue sauce on our store shelves?  (Paging Ollie Gates:  There's some money being left on the table here.)

On a hunch, while walking through a store today, I happened upon an endcap of Open Pit "BBQ Sauce." Quotes deserved. Ingredients list: HFCS, water, distilled vinegar, tomato paste...and I just shook my head. It took until the *fourth* listed ingredient to actually find some kind of "food." Ick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For anyone who likes the super sweet molasses/brown sugar style of BBQ sauce (note I'm not saying KANSAS CITY STYLE BBQ SAUCE....), I highly recommend Blues Hog. I don't think it contains HFCS, and the folks who produce it are "real" bbq people who travel the competition circuit. This stuff is sweet, really sweet.......good luck opening the jar again once the molasses sets up sweet. We use a little bit of it sometimes on our competition ribs and pulled pork, I think their sauce and also their rub are very popular amongst competitors. It's a little too sweet for me as far as regular use, but it has a good amount of spice in addition to the sweetness. It is available from different sources if you google it, and if you happen to have a bbq supply store in your area they should have it.


Edited by Zeemanb (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On a hunch, while walking through a store today, I happened upon an endcap of Open Pit "BBQ Sauce."  Quotes deserved.  Ingredients list:  HFCS, water, distilled vinegar, tomato paste...and I just shook my head.  It took until the *fourth* listed ingredient to actually find some kind of "food."  Ick.

...um, vinegar is a perfectly acceptable real ingredient for a barbecue sauce. (In fact, in parts of North Carolina, it's the base ingredient.) Given that tomato paste is used instead of tomato puree, I think I might even be less critical of water being so high up on the list than I otherwise might.

That said, I think that most home cooks whipping up a batch of Kansas City-style sauce would probably use tomato puree rather than tomato paste. However: Tomato paste is sweeter than tomato puree thanks to the concentration process, and using it instead might be a good way to introduce sweetness into a barbecue sauce without having to go hog wild with the molasses or brown sugar (which is merely refined sugar plus molasses). It's probably not sweet enough to permit you to dispense with the sweet stuff altogether, though.


Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For anyone who likes the super sweet molasses/brown sugar style of BBQ sauce (note I'm not saying KANSAS CITY STYLE BBQ SAUCE....), I highly recommend Blues Hog. I don't think it contains HFCS, and the folks who produce it are "real" bbq people who travel the competition circuit.

Its good stuff, we use it often. It is sweet. I believe the first ingredient listed is brown sugar. My go to sauce however is Gates although I wouldn't use it in a competition.


Edited by chileheadmike (log)

That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...um, vinegar is a perfectly acceptable real ingredient for a barbecue sauce.  (In fact, in parts of North Carolina, it's the base ingredient.)  Given that tomato paste is used instead of tomato puree, I think I might even be less critical of water being so high up on the list than I otherwise might.

This is true...I do know that Carolina-style BBQ sauce is vinegar-based. I didn't question whether vinegar was an acceptable ingredient in sauce (obviously, it is, and more than that, it's necessary). I was simply remarking that the first actual solid food-type thing named in the sauce was the *fourth* thing listed. To me, BBQ sauce needs to have some kind of actual solid food form within the first couple of ingredients to be something that I'd find acceptable as something I want to eat/ingest. Preferably, the first ingredient, thankyouverymuch.

To be fair, though, I don't much care for Carolina-style, and in fact have quite the sweet tooth, but that doesn't mean that I want my BBQ sauce to be a host bottle for HFCS. Quite to the contrary: I want a sauce whose flavor comes from *real* ingredients *first*.

That's not so wrong, now, is it? ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have used Blues Hog as an addititive to our own concoctions in competition, too, although always against my protestations as I find it too sweet. As an aside, though, in my judging class I was in the vast minority in that regard - while the sweet/savory scale is entirely subjective and not taught as a criterion - most of my classmates leaned toward the sweet stuff. Maybe we're losing the battle and KC *is* going over to the dark (molasses-y) side :shock:


Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...