20 October 2015
That's Hillsdale Bank, as in lending institution, not gently sloping landscape or edge of a river or stream. As pastoral as Hillsdale Bank sounds, Greg and Donna Beverlin's restaurant in Hillsdale, Kansas is actually in an old bank building. They've been at it for over 25 years and have won a lot of fans in the Greater Kansas City Area.
Yes, they're from the Greater Kansas City Area, and this is definitely a Kansas City Style Sauce. It's thick - one of the thickest I've come across, actually. It's smooth - no noticeable bits or chunks. It's quite a bit sweet and quite a lot smoky - in fact, it's one of the smokiest I've come across. This is the HOT version, so there is some noticeable burn on the back end.
I love the clean, simple label. I love that the ingredient list is so short. And I love that it's billed as 82% organic (never seen that before!). Overall, it's got a nice balance between the sweet, the tangy and the spicy, but maybe has just a little more smoke than I usually prefer.
07 October 2015
Have you ever heard of a barbecue sauce with "barbecue sauce" as one of its ingredients? Actually, a lot of the competition cooks are probably nodding their heads right now. Even apart from the sauces used in the meat categories, many a sauce category entrant has taken a commercially available sauce, doctored it a bit, and turned it in. But a commercially produced sauce with "barbecue sauce" as an ingredient? That's a new one on me.
Then again, Kenny Nadeau and Mike Smith, who started the Uncle Kenny's brand and still run it today, are competition BBQers. Yes, in addition to running a popular restaurant and catering operation in Central Florida, and selling their line of sauces and rubs, the UK guys still compete in FBA and KCBS. And very well, too - they won a Grand and a Reserve in 2015.
Despite operating out of Florida, these sauces are definitely in the style of Kansas City - thick, rich, smoky and sweet. The Original version has an excellent balance of sweet, tangy, savory, spicy and smoky flavors - no one flavor is dominant and the result is a great tasting sauce.
The Mustard version is like a really octane honey mustard sauce. It kicks up the sweetness and the heat a couple of notches, which is needed to balance the strong yellow mustard flavor.
Both sauces are exemplary and fine examples of how to balance the flavors that make a great barbecue sauce - even if the first ingredient is...barbecue sauce.