Sunday, June 29, 2008

Coming Soon ...

I've run out of barbecue sauce. So, it's time to make more.

I have a recipe that I've used for a while now. It uses corn syrup, which is an ingredient that I'd like to stop using. This time, I'm not going to experiment with that.

Why? Because I just got a gift box from abroad. In it where bottles of Stubb's Liquid Smoke.

I think my purveyor of hard-to-get-in-the-Philippines goods (otherwise known as my father) thought this would be interesting to try. I'd agree. I've never used this product before. So, I'm looking forward to trying it.

I like the packaging. Boy, does it look authentic. Not like those Wright's labels. Stubb's looks like something that should be on any pantry shelf.

Well, I was thinking that until I read the ingredients. What's in Stubb's? Water, soy sauce, hickory smoke flavor, vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, caramel coloring, garlic and onion powder, spice.

HFCS (high fructose corn syrup)?!? I'm beginning to suspect that this product is more marketing that it is high quality food. Any chucklehead can slap together a simple marinade in a matter of minutes and avoid paying for the high cost of these folks' packaging.

What's in Wright's (the product I've used for years)? Water and natural hickory smoke concentrate.

Oh, you mean the liquid smoke has liquid ... and smoke ... and that's it? Who would've guessed?

I'm still going to make some barbecue sauce with the Stubb's. I'm just not quite as looking forward to it as I was.

In all fairness to Stubb's, it looks like it is designed to be a ready-to-use marinade and not just an ingredient. As such, perhaps it should really be labeled "Stubb's Hickory Smoke-Flavored Marinade" rather than "Stubb's Hickory Liquid Smoke".

Interestingly enough, when you go to Stubb's web site, they have a recipe for a marinade using these "liquid smoke" products. Basically, use the hickory or mesquite liquid smoke, add a little salt, a little black pepper, a little bit of Worcester or soy sauce, and some lime juice.

At the Stubb's web site, they've got a few nice blue bits on their little jukebox. Sets a nice tone while you look at some of the pictures. Looks like a lot are of concerts at their bar and the bulk of the rest of Stubb himself. There are a few of some decent authentic Texas BBQ pits. Love that.

So, from the looks of it, the Stubb's products have a good pedigree. And, I bet if you went to their establishment in Texas that you'd partake in some amazing barbecue (any restaurant with a real pit and who gets in the likes of B. B. King and Stevie Ray Vaughan is fine by me). It's just that the mass market products are made for, well, the mass market. You know, industrial food.

Just for kicks, I cracked the bottles open and tasted each straight. The Wright's tastes like what it is: smoke. The Stubb's products also taste like what they are: simple marinades without the acid component. So, perhaps the Stubb's liquids will perform well in the role for which they were obviously intended ... as nearly complete marinades.

We'll see. I'll try them out both as a liquid smoke ingredient in my BBQ sauce and as marinade starters.

More when I have it ...

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