Thursday, March 11, 2010

Gettin' Sauced

The boys over at Man Up Texas BBQ put on a great event in Austin over the weekend where 45 BBQ sauces went head to head for the top rating. In addition to the sauces, there was live entertainment, free beer and BBQ. I was asked to be a judge, and although usually don't bother with sauce, I was happy to be part of such a great event.

The whole family was able to attend, but my daughter's not quite ready for BBQ sauce. No problem, I dove right into the affair with six sauces to start. Saltine cracker palette cleansers were provided, and were definitely required. Each of the sauces had such distinct and powerful flavors when sampled alone, and it was nothing like trying them on some smoked meat.

My tasting notes ranged from "Campbell's Tomato Soup" and "Overly Sweet Marinara" to "Sweet, Spicy and Simple". As I reached the end, the flavors had admittedly started to run together, so I took a break, had a St. Arnold Lawnmower beer, and tasted the finalists once again for the final ranking. Below is the stomach cringing sight of all the sauce cups I sampled from.

After 45 sauces, I had to narrow it down to a top 10 for each category, but I really only truly enjoyed about 5 from each category. My top 5 are below, and I'm glad to know that a few folks agreed with me.

1. Don Strange Pequin
2. Joseph's Riverport Barbecue (First Place in Bottled)
3. Black's Regular
4. Sucklebuster's Original
5. Wooden Spoon Hickory

1. Luling Bar-B-Q
2. Burnet Feed Store Spicy
3. Salt Lick Regular (First Place in Fresh)
4. Stanley's Regular
5. City Market Regular

I was also glad to see that I enjoyed what I thought were some of my favorite sauces (City Market, Black's and Salt Lick), even at a blind tasting. Thanks to Drew, Brad and the rest of the Man Up gang for a great event, and I look forward to your next one.

- BBQ Snob


Drew Thornley said...


Thanks so much for being one our judges. Wouldn't have been the same without you. Great recap, and great picks. Let's figure out the next thing we can do together.


Jacob said...

I'm so glad you had Luling Bar-B-Q as number one just as I did. I have been saying for a year it is the best BBQ sauce in all of Texas, with City Market being close. Of course the two are next door to each other, and similar, but Luling BBQ is better.

Also that Joseph's Riverport was surprisingly fantastic, I took a bottle home.


Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.