Today I’m checking out the Shlopin’ Sauce from Backyard Texas Sauce. For me, today’s product is an exercise in the six degrees of separation in the world, and how somehow in my life, it seems to always be closer to three. The makers of this product are the same folks that run the Backyard Grill in the Northwest Houston area; basically my old stomping grounds. I’ve known of their restaurant and that it was well-received in the community, and just once I was able to try their BBQ sauce, but ironically, I never knew they were bottling the sauce until my old stomping grounds crossed paths with my new foray in to the fiery foods industry. The product shows up, along with two others, freshly anointed with its win as a 2013 Golden Chile Winner, and so I eventually learn that, via three channels, I’m two to three degrees separated from the owners. I’ll stop blithering on about this nonsense though, and we’ll get down to the business of seeing how well this sauce stands up.
For what, by the ingredients, sounds like a pretty average BBQ sauce, the little touches that they include in their lesser than 2% category are making me think this could be a sauce that has the potential to catch me off guard a bit, and hopefully in the good way. Here is what is in this sauce: Tomatoes, Water, Distilled Vinegar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Mustard Seed, Brown Sugar and Chili Powder. They go on to list 2% or less for Salt, Onion Powder, Spices, Natural Flavor, Celery Seed, Garlic Powder, Cumin Seed, and Cayenne Pepper.
This moderately thick, deep brown sauce quickly announces itself via the aroma as something quite unlike the normal BBQ sauce that shows up for reviews. The aroma of chile powder is quite predominant. If I were listing ingredients just based on the aroma, I would have guessed chile powder much higher up the list. There are hints of tart, sweet and savory, but honestly, it’s hard not to think of this as a hot sauce or chili rub instead of a BBQ sauce based on its aroma. It just has that much chile presence.
There is quite the obvious tastes of chili powder, with savory garlic and onion. This is followed up by a little bit of a tart bite from the vinegar and a sweetness that is more obviously corn syrup based, but has enough of the brown sugar flavor to it that it balances out. You don’t pick up too much of the other elements in the sauce, but the celery seed and cumin seem to come through a little bit. As I mentioned before with the aroma, this is definitely different, and I find myself in a crossroads of potential for this sauce. It has elements of chili starter to it, as well as BBQ and also southwestern meat rubs. I can easily tell you that it comes in as a Mild, but the flavor part of this is more complex to express. It both embraces and detracts from several Texas influenced cuisines, not settling in specifically at any one. Suffice it to say that if you love Tex-Mex or Texas BBQ, this could very well be your go-to sauce for quite a few dishes. I’m going to rate it as a strong Nice. As I am rating it from the perspective of a BBQ sauce, the texture is a little grainy, and I might like it with the smallest amount more of sweetness, but beyond that it’s a well put together sauce that doesn’t stand squarely in one genre, and should be a treat for those that like to experiment in the kitchen and out on the grill.