Rather than taking a look at a single sauce today, let’s do a comparison review of a group of four different sauces. In order to keep things somewhat consistent, all of the sauces for today’s bulk review are mustard-based sauces. So let’s jump in!
From left to right, the sauces are: Cox Bros. Carolina BBQ Sauce, Williamson Bros. Classic Carolina Style Bar-B-Q Sauce, Susquehanna Blue Smoke Mustard Sauce, and Insane Chicken Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce.
The Method to My Madness
To test out these sauces, I used some Tyson chicken wings purchased at Sam’s. The wings were lightly seasoned with a 50/50 blend of Draper’s AP Rub and Moo’d Enhancer, smoked at between 250 and 275 degrees for an hour using a cherry Mojobrick, and then finish off on the Weber OTG Kettle. Each sauce was used on two flappers and two drumettes – tossed in the sauce, with the remainder lightly drizzled over the wings.
Now let’s see how each sauce does…
Cox Bros. Carolina BBQ Sauce
This sauce comes from Cox Bros. BBQ (locations in Manhattan, KS and Junction City, KS). Cox Bros. prides itself on cooking and serving various regional styles of BBQ – from tangy Carolina style to beefy Texas style. Their Carolina BBQ sauce acknowledges both Carolinas with usage of mustard and vinegar in its makeup and composition.
Ingredients: cider vinegar, mustard, sugar, butter flavored oil, chili powder, soy sauce, spices
|Appearance||Muddy yellow color with spices visible; thin consistency||Thinly coated wings; mostly transparent, but drizzle was evident|
|Aroma||Mustard, vinegar, & pepper||Pepper is muted out a bit, but mustard and vinegar are still present||A Taste||Blending of SC style and eastern Carolina style sauces – mustard and spicy vinegar; biting flavor with very little sweetness||Biting flavor was a little bit muted, but mustard/vinegar still prominent|
Williamson Bros. Classic Carolina Style Bar-B-Q Sauce
This sauce comes to us from Marietta, Georgia (with additional locations in Canton and Douglasville). They opened their Marietta location in 1990 and have since enjoyed success with the restaurant and catering, and their sauces have seen enough success to warrant establishment of a separate bottling facility.
Ingredients: ketchup, mustard, vinegar, water, sugar, onions, salt, pepper, celery salt, bay leaves, chili powder, garlic
|Appearance||Bright yellow color with spices visible; very thick and smooth consistency||Coated wings very well; bright yellow color very prominent|
|Aroma||Mustard all the way||Mustard flavor, albeit slightly muted||A Taste||Very smooth flavor – mustard with a hint of sweetness; not overly spicy||Flavors are consistent with those tasted standalone|
Insane Chicken Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce
This sauce comes to us from Insane Chicken. Well known in the hot sauce realm, they offer up a couple of BBQ sauces as well. I’ve reviewed one of their other sauces which, quite frankly, was very well received!
Ingredients: prepared mustard, red wine vinegar, molasses, water, brown sugar, tomato sauce, honey, apple juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, spices, xanthan gum
|Appearance||Golden brown color; some visibility of spices; thick consistency||Coated on wings very well; kept golden brown color|
|Aroma||Sweet and tangy; some bite from the vinegar||Sweet and tangy||A Taste||Sweetness/mustard; definite back heat||Sweet, mustard, spicy|
Susquehanna Blue Smoke Mustard Sauce
This sauce comes courtesy of Ronald Worby of Susquehanna Blue Smoke Competition BBQ Team. I had the pleasure of meeting Ron at Memphis in May as part of the Tucker Cooker team. He is a guy who knows his way around all things BBQ and cooking, and his mustard sauce is sure to not disappoint!
Ingredients: water, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne sauce, mustard, fruit preserves, salt, smoke flavoring, paprika, peppers (black, white, chipotle), garlic powder, onion powder, tomato paste, celery powder, molasses, syrup
|Appearance||Golden yellow color; thick and chunky consistency||Coated on wings very well (with chunks removed)|
|Aroma||Mustard. Glorious mustard.||Kept true to mustard roots.||A Taste||Very smooth mustard flavor.||Very smooth. Slightly muted when on the wings.|
So what do I recommend? It really depends on what you’re looking for in your mustard sauce. If you’re looking for something with some spiciness, I definitely recommend the Insane Chicken Honey Mustard. If you are looking for a sauce that stays true to mustard roots, then you’ll want to use either the Williamson Bros. or Susquehanna Blue Smoke mustard sauces.
Cox Bros. BBQ – http://www.coxbbq.com
Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q – http://www.williamsonbros.com
Insane Chicken – http://www.insanechicken.com/
Susquehanna Blue Smoke – http://www.freewebs.com/susquehannabluesmoke/