05 November 2012

Cattlemen's BBQ Sauce

Cattlemen's® BBQ Sauce is a brand of food service sauces made by French's, of yellow mustard fame. I recently decided to try their "Memphis Sweet" and "Carolina Tangy Gold" sauces after smoking a pork shoulder this weekend.

BBQ sauce is a complicated topic. I've made many sauces from scratch and enjoy doing so, but there are times when it's quicker to use a pre-made sauce. As the above brand name suggests, Memphis sauce is associated with thick, molasses-heavy dark sauces that are low on acidity. While it is my hometown sauce, I'm not always in the mood for it. Sometimes I want a thinner vinegar sauce, sometimes I just want heat, and sometimes I want to explore something unusual like the Alabama white sauce for chicken. It's also quite common in this area to take store-bought sauces (even from local producers) and modify them slightly before serving. Add a little Worcestershire or apple cider vinegar and you can't quite call it your own, but you can find your ideal sauce for that particular occasion.

Mustard-based sauces are not popular in the Mid-South but I really like them. And the Carolina Tangy Gold was quite good, though halfway through that sandwich I added a little hot sauce to punch it up a bit. Frankly I think it will be a great condiment for ham sandwiches or other mustard applications. The Memphis Sweet was precisely what you'd expect from a food service BBQ sauce: adequate but not intriguing.

I served my chopped pork shoulder sandwiches with cole slaw, potato salad, slow cooked baked beans with bacon, and grilled buns. And since there are a few more pounds of shoulder downstairs in the fridge, I'll be eating BBQ for dinner for the next few nights, paired with some delightful sparkling Spanish wines that have arrived as samples. I'm so looking forward to it.

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