30 November 2013


Steve Ownby never imagined he'd wind up in the barbecue business. After retiring from a career in the insurance business, Ownby wasn't sure what to do with himself. He didn't hunt, fish or play golf, but he was a KCBS Certified Barbecue Judge and enjoyed cooking in his spare time. And other people enjoyed what he was cooking. One catering call led to another and before he knew it, he had a full-fledged catering business on his hands based out of his home in East Tennessee - Holy Smoke BBQ. And after months of using commercially available barbecue sauces and rubs for his catering business, Ownby eventually decided he needed his own line of products. He developed the products under the tutelage of one of the best - Bill Arnold, of Blues Hog Barbecue fame.

Long time readers of this blog know that Blues Hog is one of favorite barbecue sauces of all time. I have said before that I would eat shoe leather if I could dip it in Blues Hog. And I'm happy to report that Holy Smoke BBQ is a delicious apple that did not fall far from the tree. The sauce has a similar favor profile to Blues Hog - sweet, with a very mild burn on the back end, with some very interesting spice notes lingering in the mix. The consistency is thinner, though, which I like. Overall, this is simply one of the best sauces I have tasted. Do yourself a favor and give it a try!

Grade: A+

02 November 2013


Who doesn't love a good family recipe? Using a recipe from your ancestors creates a connection through generations and lets those loved ones live on each time someone enjoys that special family concoction. I treasure those recipes that have been handed down from my grandparents and great grandparents. That's why I think Millie's Barbecue Sauce is so special. Craig Brown and his wife Toni have taken his mother's secret recipe for barbecue sauce and shared it with the world in these great barbecue sauces. The Browns began by selling their sauces at St. Louis area farmers markets, and their popularity is growing.

The sauce comes in two variations - Sweet & Tasty and Sweet & Spicy. The Sweet & Tasty is a relatively straightforward Kansas City style sauce - thick and dark, sweet and sultry. Besides sweetness, there is a nice citrus-y brightness and a bit of vinegary tanginess. It's not quite as smoky as most KC-style sauces, but does have darker notes of molasses and raisins that are a nice touch. The Sweet & Spicy offers slightly more heat, though it is still quite mild.

Grade: B+