Thursday, June 01, 2006
It's the Sauce that Makes the Boss
If there is one thing that amuses my wife more than anything else I do, it's my obsession with barbeque sauce. She likes a good sauce as much as the next person, but it's not anything like how I do. I wasn't always obsessed with the perfect sauce, but after a trip to Moses White & Sons in Tampa, Florida, I decided that something needed to change. That something was the bland ketchupy sauces that I had purchased in the past (KC Masterpiece, I'm looking at you). Instead I went on a quest. This was a difficult quest, as Utah didn't have any barbeque joints at the time, so I was confined to store-bought concoctions. Fortunately around the same time, the Cheeth turned me on to a sauce called Stubb's. It was a culinary revelation. While Moses White's sauce was still better, here was a store-bought sauce that had a bold body, spicy kick, and smooth aftertaste that are the hallmarks of a fine sauce. For a long time, that was the best there was here. Then a restaurant called the Smoke House came to town and the world was changed forever. Their spicy sauce was an eastern-style sauce instead of the Texas-style that I was accustomed to. The Smoke House's sauce embodied everything that I wanted in a good solid barbeque sauce, with a spicy kick that still lingered in the back of my throat for a good 10 minutes after I was done eating. It's the first sauce that I can actually eat straight. I've tried it on eggs, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, sundry meats, and assorted other things, and it hasn't let me down yet. The best thing is that I've been able to buy it direct from the Smoke House, thus completely eliminating my need to grab some Stubb's, as good as it has been to me.
Now there have been some other imitators come to Utah since, notably Goodwood (which has the best name I've ever heard. It's just awesome), but their sauce is a bush league sauce in comparison. Their spicy was the same stuff as their sweet, just in a different bottle. They have done some reformulating, but it still pales in comparison. Then there are the really local places like Lon's Cooking Shack or PaPa's (which has the most ridiculous name and sign that I've ever seen - it's got a little pig and then it says that Weee [haha, the pig noise they say] do what we can to serve you, or something like that). They're all bush league. Anyway, I got on this tangent because of a story in the New York Times about another man's obsession with a fine sauce. I'm tempted to order some of the sauce mentioned in the article myself to be honest! All this leads to the question that I'm sure you're just begging me to answer, what kind of barbeque guy am I? I love using my stainless steal homage to outdoor cooking, but when it comes right down to it, I'm a true saucier (sauce-i-eh, like the French) and find that a good sauce can make anything better.