09 July, 2012

Review: Oregon Dan's Original BBQ Sauce, Hawaiian Style

I enjoy a good barbecue sauce. There's nothing like chicken or pork, cooked slowly over coals and finished off with a tasty, tangy sauce.

I'm picky about the sauces I buy. For one thing, I won't even consider a sauce if it's made with high fructose corn syrup. Read the labels sometimes - you won't believe how many BBQ sauces have HFCS as their first ingredient (which means that they're often little more than tomato-flavored corn syrup.) And I'm not really interested in sauces that are basically ketchup, worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. I can make a better sauce than that at home - I want something interesting and, hopefully, unusual. And finally, I tend to pass up sauces that have "smoke flavoring" added. I'm cooking over wood already. I'll put my own smoke flavoring in, with real smoke.

Anyway, I don't remember where I was when I found Oregon Dan's Original Hawaiian Style BBQ Sauce, but when I read the label it seemed like something I might like. Real sugar, tomato sauce, pineapple juice, some vinegar, some spices...it just sounded good.  

Unfortunately, it really didn't live up to its promise. For one thing, it was as sweet as candy, and the tang of the vinegar didn't do much to moderate that. Since Oregon Dan is adding pineapple juice to the sauce, he maybe should have cut down on the sugar a little and let the pineapple do the work.

On top of that, the sauce was thin, almost watery.  When I make barbecued chicken (as shown above) I pile the coals in the center of the grill and arrange the chicken in a ring around it. It lets the coals perform their magic slowly even with the higher heat, and the chicken just takes its own sweet time cooking, slowly building up a delicious smokey flavor and crisp-but-not-charred skin. Then, just before the meat is fully cooked, I dress the pieces with barbecue sauce and begin turning them and basting them, letting the sauce thicken and caramelize as it faces the fire. The result is usually perfect barbecued chicken.

But Oregon Dan's sauce was so runny that it drooled right off the chicken as soon as I could apply it. It splattered wetly onto the coals below and started putting them out. I was very disappointed.

If I ever find Oregon Dan's sauce again, I won't be buying the Hawaiian Style. Maybe there are other flavors that are better balanced. Or thicker. This variety is off my list.


MsMurder said...

I'm all about a vinegar based mop, this sounds like it has the right viscosity but the super sweet kills any desire I have to try it.

Dave said...

I just tried out some Weber's (yeah, the grill makers) BBQ sauce. It's really what I consider grilling sauce as it is made to cling to the meat and caramelise in the heat of the charcoal. But, it is sweetened with MOLASSES - no HFCS. It's sweeter than I prefer. But, it's hard to find any pre-made, bottled sauce that isn't.

MsMurder said...

The Weber's brand dry rubs are actually really delicious. The Kickin' Chicken is great on .. well everything! Pork, chicken, fish, veggies, rice with butter LOL