09 September 2015

BBQ SAUCE OF THE WEEK: Memphis Barbecue Co

Melissa Cookston actually hails from Mississippi, but Memphis is where she's made her name. She's won Grand at Memphis in May twice and has won the Whole Hog category four of the last five years (!). She's appeared on BBQ Pitmasters as both a competitor and a judge, and is now a best-selling cookbook author as well. As of late, she has also been a restaurateur. After a previous career in chain restaurant regional management, Cookston opened Memphis Barbecue Company in the North Mississippi suburbs of Memphis in 2011. They have since opened locations in the Atlanta suburbs and in Fayetteville, North Carolina. And if you've got a chain of barbecue restaurants, you've gotta have a sauce!

The sauce is typical of West Tennessee sauces in that it's ketchup-based, but has plenty of vinegar too, so it's not too thick. It's got that amber color and a texture that's smooth, but with some tiny bits visible. It's definitely sweet, but immediately also offers a rich, robust savoriness that sets it apart. It's an extra dose of Worcestershire, I think, and it's nice. It's followed by notes of garlic and onion that round out the flavor, and finally, a little bit of heat. Very well balanced, and overall, very enjoyable.

Grade: A

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