Last week, it was my pleasure to bring to you the Original flavor in the Rocky’s Hot Sauce lineup. With so many pretenders to the throne of “The Best Tasting Hot Sauce” on the market, it was genuinely refreshing to try something like Rocky’s that both hits hard and packs a delicious flavor, making its claim to the title more plausible than most. This week, I have the honor of tasting Rocky’s Bar-B-Que sauce. In the past, I have reviewed barbecue sauces that packed some heat, but it is interesting to find something that essentially considers itself a barbecue-flavored hot sauce. The distinction is important, but it could also be delicious. Let’s find out.
Hot Sauce (aged cayenne red pepper, distilled vinegar, water, salt, garlic powder), Honey, Worcestershire Sauce (distilled white vinegar, molasses, water, sugar, onions, anchovies, salt, garlic, cloves, tamarind extract, natural flavorings, chili pepper extract), Molasses, Butter, Garlic, Natural Flavors, Onion Powder, Cayenne Powder, Xanthan Gum, Capsaicin Extract
This is no joke, folks. The only difference as far as I can tell between this product’s ingredients list and the Original flavor’s is that this one packs in some extra molasses (which is already part of the Worcestershire Sauce that is in both products anyway). Now, that extra molasses may very well give this one enough to distinguish it from its sister sauce, but I still find it amusing that there’s really only one difference.
The molasses does give the Bar-B-Que a slightly darker brown color, and it does seem to make it a little thicker and stickier as well. As with the Original, this sauce features Rocky himself on the bottle, and includes an orifice reducer to prevent unsuspecting consumers from coating their food with too much sauce. That’s something worth mentioning here, since this is a barbecue-flavored sauce, but not necessarily an actual barbecue sauce (which would typically be a bit too thick for an orifice reducer).
Smell and Taste:
It sure does smell like a barbecue sauce, proving that some extra molasses goes a long way. The smell is a little sweet, and immediately reminds me of brisket. Down here in Texas, that’s about as high a compliment as I can give. The flavor is a bit more complex, though, as it carries that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup style of two great flavors smashed together. Rocky’s Bar-B-Que isn’t wholly a standard hot sauce, but it isn’t completely a barbecue sauce, either. Both flavors are clearly evident in this bottle, making this one taste like a twist on the Original flavor, rather than a completely separate product.
The molasses takes a bit of the bite out of this one, so I’m going to give it a Medium. It is still spicy, and casual consumers should be forewarned, but this one is not quite as dangerous as the Original. Here’s where the Reese’s analogy comes back, though, as Rocky’s Bar-B-Que packs a flavor that is greater than the sum of its parts. I’m giving it a Notable, as I can’t seem to stop myself from going back for more. It is seriously everything I love about the Original flavor, plus the delicious stylings of a barbecue sauce, and all that with only a slight variation on the recipe. Impressive.
Though the addition of the barbecue flavor may reduce this sauce’s versatility a little for some folks, there’s no reason to let this sauce sit on the sidelines. Brisket, chicken, and pork are the obvious choices here, but it would make a great omelette sauce as well. Frankly, I’m about to go grill a burger after this (since I’m writing this on Thursday night), and I know it will be fantastic. I also have some chopped beef that is conveniently unsauced. Guess what I’ll be throwing all over it.
I have two more flavors in the Rocky’s lineup to review, so expect those in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I think I may need to pry the orifice reducer off of this bottle. I like my barbecue sauce to flow just a bit more than a reducer allows, and while I’ve repeatedly made the distinction between a barbecue sauce and a barbecue-flavored sauce, I really want to coat my food with this delicious product. Anyone other than chilehead neophytes should consider doing the same.