Serious Heat: So Many Spicy Barbecue Sauces, So Little Time

Serious Heat

Andrea Lynn, senior editor of Chile Pepper magazine, shares thoughts and observations from the fiery food world.

Note: On Wednesdays, Andrea Lynn, senior editor of Chile Pepper magazine, drops by with Serious Heat.


Photograph from on Flickr

I find that barbecue sauce partiality is heavily influence by how you were raised. So it's no surprise this Alabama gal craves pulled pork with that tangy white sauce of Big Bob Gibson's, famous in the Northern part of the state. There are other barbecue sauces I love, of course, but nothing transports me to my childhood like that mayo-like white sauce speckled with pepper.

That is, until I recently tried Big Bob Gibson's Habanero Red Sauce for a round-up of favorite sauces in Chile Pepper's May issue. How can you improve upon a championship red flavor? Add a kick of habanero for a massive pop. Spicy and fabulous, it almost took over first place in my selections. I am admitting my biases.

Below, after the jump, are other hotly-contended spicy barbecue sauces that were favorites around the office during our taste-test. And, of course, tell us your favorite spicy barbecue sauce and why.

Red Rum 66 Golden BBQ Sauce Equally impressed with all the Red Rum BBQ sauces, this one stands out for its uniqueness with hints of mustard, apricot and ginger. This almost chutney-like sauce, akin to an Indian-style barbecue, is great with chicken or mixed with cream cheese for a dip.

3 AM Bobby Que Chipotle BBQ Sauce With a vinegar and black pepper aroma, as well as a smoky and tangy flavor with a depth of flavor from molasses, serve this sauce basted over ribs for the ultimate pairing.

Carlsbad Gourmet Stone Smoked Porter & Pasilla Sauce Mesquite, medium spicy with a bit of tang and hints of fruit, pasillas give a nice change of pace; great match with ribs or a hearty steak.

Picky Vicki XXX Hot Stuff Extreme BBQ Sauce Sweet hickory flavoring with an east-to-swallow heat, this goes well slathered over just about anything. (We certainly did that.)

Bone Suckin' Sauce-Hot Medium heat with a clean finish, this versatile sauce is always a hit in the office for its classic barbecue taste with a sweetness that isn't overwhelming. Also available in an equally-delicious thicker-style that's softer in heat.

U-Kuva-i-Africa Safari BBQ Kebab Sauce There is a strong paprika smell and taste to this mildly sweet sauce. Spread over chicken or try a neat twist on yogurt and stir some of this sauce in.

CaJohns Jolokia BBQ Sauce 10 Finger-licking good--the heat stays in your mouth quite a while, yet you can't stop eating it. Nicely served over wings or on burgers.

Ribber City Blueberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce This was the surprise of the bunch--who would have guessed a blueberry barbecue sauce would cause such a cult following! An unusual combo of chipotle and blueberries, this sauce could be used as a condiment to a spicy brunch dish. Or, pair with salmon, chicken, or pork.