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Cheese Biscuit, Please!

For the first part of my growing up years, we always had Sunday dinner at B’s house. (B is what I called my grandmother. Her name was Isabelle but my granddaddy called her Bell. B is short for Bell.) When I was just a little thing, I remember B making homemade biscuits. Some of them would be plain and some of them would have cheese inside. We would sit around the table on Sunday waiting for her to join us so we could have a blessing, and she’d bring with her a basket of biscuits covered with a towel. She would look at each of us and ask, plain or cheese? I would be itching with anticipation and when her eyes fell on me, I’d holler in a 4 year old voice, cheese! Then, she’d give me a biscuit with cheese oozing out the sides. Sometimes I would eat the biscuit, but every time I would eat the cheese. I always sat beside her at the table because she was mine. I’d eat cheese biscuits that she’d stuffed extra full (because she knew that’s how I liked ‘em) as I sat beside her at the table. Funny what you remember, isn’t it?


Yucky Delicious Food

When I was little, I ate pimento cheese. Somebody gave it to me, I liked it, so I ate it. Once, when I was about 12 years old, I was whizzing through my grandmother’s kitchen while she was mashing up pimentos with the back of a fork. I didn’t know what it was, but it certainly got my attention! I asked what she was doing and she told me, mashing up pimentos to make pimento cheese. The realization that I’d eaten the same type of science project that she was doodling with just about made me sick. Later that day, when the pimento cheese was made, she asked me if I wanted some and I emphatically said no. She asked why because I’d never refused it before. I told her I couldn’t eat something so gross and I was horrified that she and mama had given me disgusting food to eat and they were using the fact that I trusted them against me and didn’t they love me more than that? I told her I wouldn’t feed her something so gross. She just shook her head at me. A couple of months later, I began eating pimento cheese again. I realized that sometimes something disgusting is good to the palate. Case in point – shrimp. I bought a pound of medium sized unpeeled shrimp for dinner. I shelled them and de-veined them. With all my heart, I can certainly say there isn’t much grosser than deveining shrimp. That little weasel is kind of slick/slimy and the digestive track is sticky and totally disgusting. This is coming from a person who has dissected worms, frogs, pigs, sea urchins, eye balls, sex organs, and whole cadavers. Yes, deveining a shrimp is the worst! The black, gelatinous alimentary canal would adhere to the slime on my thumb and I’d have to flick it off into the sink. Sometimes I’d have to flick several times before it gave up clinging to my skin or fingernail. I could almost not eat the shrimp after having my hands in them. Well, I remembered the lesson I’d learned about pimento cheese. I proceeded to skewer the shrimp, give them a coating of Old Bay, and grill them (well done). They were delicious! While I was eating my shrimp, I sincerely thought about their prior yuckiness and, after the transformation from heat, they really weren’t yucky anymore. Good. I always have enjoyed eating shrimp and am glad I didn’t ruin myself. So, I eat manually masticated pimentos and slime from the sea and really like both.

Sam Dillard’s Bar-B-Q Sauce Review

Oh my. Let me say that prior to this review, the other sauces I’ve reviewed, I had tasted at some point in my life. My excitement may have been just as profound as what I experienced last night, however, with the passing of time, my enthusiasm somewhat waned. This review isn’t hampered by the passing of time. Last night is the first time I’ve tried this sauce and it is 100% a winner! I’m talking about Sam Dillard’s Bar-B-Q Sauce. I am from the Eastern part of North Carolina where thin, vinegary sauce is king. I love that sauce but I also enjoy a sweet, tomato based sauce occasionally. This sauce is different from the more traditional type of sauce because it has a mustard base. It’s hot, it’s spicy and totally zippy. If you love highly seasoned food, try this sauce! I grilled two bone-in pork chops that I’d lightly salt and peppered then basted continuously while grilling. This sauce was so flavorful, it really didn’t need the extra salt and pepper (it’s just my habit to salt and pepper pork prior to cooking). When I opened the bottle, I sniffed and tasted a little and I wasn’t too impressed. As the sauce cooked, it grew better and better so if you buy it and become leery, continue to cook with it then, judge the final outcome. In terms of heat, it is faintly reminiscent of the mustard sauce in Chinese restaurants. I do not eat that type of mustard because it’s too hot, but I have tasted it. This sauce is reminiscent of Chinese mustard in that it hits the palate with some degree of heat then grows hotter in the next 10 seconds or so. I would not give this sauce to a child because I think it would be too hot. It has a medium to high degree of heat and I know some adults also would find this sauce too hot. I, however, loved it. The label indicates that it’s good on chicken, pork, or beef. I would agree. The serving size is 2 tablespoons of sauce and it has 15 calories, 230 mg of sodium, and 3 g of sugar. The ingredients are water, vinegar, tomato concentrate, corn syrup, spices, salt, onion powder, zanthan gum, turmeric, and natural flavors.
Here’s the breakdown of my review…
OVERALL rating: 5 stars (1 being horrible and 5 being terrific)
HEAT level: 7 (on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being very hot)
SWEET level: 1 (on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being very sweet)
SALT level: not very salty
TOMATO level: 1 (on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being very tomato pasty)
ZIPPINESS: very zippy!
FLAVOR intensity: 8 (on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being very intense)
COST: between $3.00 and $4.00 per 16 oz bottle

bottle 01

good 03

good 02

George’s Barbeque Sauce (hot and original) Review

I have bought George’s before and to be honest, I wasn’t impressed. If I didn’t take my reviews seriously, I would not have bought George’s again. I tried it long enough ago that I couldn’t truly tell you what it tasted like, so I bought more. I bought both hot and original recipes then sniffed both. I could not tell much, if any, difference between the hot and original recipes. Both of them did, however, have a smell that didn’t appeal to me. When I was little, my mother loved to pickle beets. I remember the odiferous, pungent smell of hot vinegar mixed with a lot of sugar, which was the base of her pickled beet concoction. Imagine that smell and toss in a pinch of mustard then you’ll have George’s. Both the hot and original flavors are a thin, vinegary eastern North Carolina style sauce that has crushed red pepper and other spices. When you shake them up, they both look the same and smell the same. I truly could not taste any difference in heat between the two. Neither one had very much kick but I could definitely taste the vinegar/sugar mixture (plus a dash of mustard). That flavor just doesn’t appeal to me but if you do like the taste of vinegar and sugar, you might like this. About four hours before I was ready to cook, I combined some peeled, deveined shrimp and the hot George’s sauce and put them in the fridge to marinate. Before cooking, I skewered the shrimp and noticed that I still wasn’t too impressed but decided not to doctor the shrimp with any salt/pepper and to let the sauce do its magic. I grilled the shrimp and basted them as they cooked. The sauce didn’t turn the shrimp a beautiful color and basically they looked like plain shrimp I’ve grilled in the past. Before I ate a shrimp, I sniffed it to see if I could tell any sauce had gone into the meat. I could faintly smell it. I took a bite and could also faintly taste it. It was bland. Very bland. It was as bland as it looked and had a faint pickled taste. I ate approximately three shrimp before throwing in the towel and doctoring them. I added some salt, pepper, and dipped them in a little cocktail sauce. The meal was not a loss but the sauce sure was. Now, after two cooking adventures with George’s, I won’t be buying the product again. I wish I had enough daylight to have taken some pictures for you. The darkness caught me and I knew the food wouldn’t photograph well inside. So, I threw in the towel concerning pictures. In your mind’s eye, just picture bland, pale food and there you go – that’s George’s.
Here’s the breakdown of my review…
OVERALL rating: 2 stars (1 being horrible and 5 being terrific)
HEAT level: 1 (on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being very hot)
SWEET level: 5 or 6 (on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being very sweet)
SALT level: not very salty
TOMATO level: 1 (on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being very tomato pasty)
ZIPPINESS: when I think of zippiness, I think of vinegar. This sauce had more sugar than vinegar thus making it not zippy.
FLAVOR intensity: 1 (on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being very intense)
COST: between $3.00 and $4.00 per 19 oz bottle


Tongue Tinglin’ Sauce (original flavor) Review

I grilled two beautiful, thick pork chops with Tongue Tinglin’ Sauce. The end result was a complimentary pairing of mild pork and a mix of spices. This sauce is rather complex and has a variety of flavors. The first taste is a touch of sweet, then a plethora of spices, followed by a little heat. I do not generally like sweet flavors but a touch of sweet occasionally can be good. Plus with some sugar, you get beautiful caramelization on your meat. For those who are not big on sweet, I did not find this sauce too sweet, so try it and see what you think. I also did not marinate the chops, I just basted them constantly while on the grill. This sauce grilled beautifully! It caramelized on the meat and created a beautiful reddish amber color. The label says you can use this meat as a marinade and I do not agree. With a marinade, you expect a little transfer of solution into the meat thus infusing flavor (granted, not like a brine). I do not see how this sauce would infuse into the meat because it sits on top, it doesn’t soak in. I did salt and pepper the chops before placing them on the grill. This sauce is not salty enough for pork so you do need to salt the meat. Pepper is optional, however, the sauce isn’t hot enough for those who really like a kick (and I like a kick). I think this sauce is paired best with pork then a close second, chicken. Some of the sauce leeched underneath my mac and cheese and collards. It enhanced the flavor of both side dishes. I will definitely use this sauce again! The ingredients are as follows: Tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, corn syrup, mustard, molasses, soybean oil, onions, garlic, peppers, natural spices and flavors, and zanthan gum. Serving size, 2 tablespoons, calories 60, sodium 310 mg, carbs 11g, sugar 7 g, everything else was negligible. The sauce won 1996 Battle of the Sauces champion and 1997 Superior Product in national competition. The label says you can bake, baste, dip, grill, marinate, roast, sauce, sauté, & season with it. Use it on baked beans, beef, chicken, French fries, pork, seafood, turkey, & vegetables.
Here’s the breakdown of my review…
OVERALL rating: 5 stars (1 being horrible and 5 being terrific)
HEAT level: 3 (on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being very hot)
SWEET level: 4 (on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being very sweet)
SALT level: not very salty
TOMATO level: 5 (on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being very tomato pasty)
ZIPPINESS: when I think of zippiness, I think of vinegar. This sauce was not vinegary but the spices did make it have some zing.
FLAVOR intensity: 6 or 7 (on a scale of 1 – 10, 10 being very intense)
COST: between $3.00 and $4.00 per 19 oz bottle

pict of bottle side ways

pork chops 002

pork chops 001

Mel’s “Famous” Barbeque Sauce Review

I grilled a combination of chicken thighs and wings with Mel’s “Famous” Barbeque Sauce. They turned out delicious! I actually began the process by marinating the chicken in Mel’s overnight then, basting continuously while cooking to keep the chicken moist. Mel’s is a thin, vinegary sauce that has red chili pepper flakes and some other seasoning and spices. It isn’t what I’d call a hot sauce; it’s just a vinegary, liquidy sauce that’s packed with flavor! The predominant ingredients are apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and spices. It complimented the chicken perfectly! The label says it’s best with poultry, pork, seafood, sliced cucumbers, squash, French fries, cream potatoes, and any type of greens. I can imagine that it is really good all of these ways. I would also think this is a good sauce to use while baking. So, rather than using chicken broth, water, vinegar, etc. in the bottom of your baking dish, use Mel’s to get an extra punch. This sauce is a winner! Here’s the breakdown of my review:
OVERALL rating: 5 stars (1 being horrible and 5 being terrific)
HEAT level: not hot
SWEET level: not sweet
SALT level: I didn’t notice it being overwhelmingly salty (I did not salt and pepper the meat before cooking)
TOMATO level: no tomatoes and certainly no tomato paste
ZIPPINESS: very zippy, bright, sparkling flavors
FLAVOR intensity: very flavorful
COST: between $3.00 and $4.00 per 16 oz bottle




Let’s Get Saucy

I love food, I love to cook, and I love sauces. I live in North Carolina and we have a wonderful program called, “Goodness Grows in N.C.” It’s a campaign to bring awareness to, and hopefully propel people into buying, North Carolina products. I always support the local merchants when possible and there are a bunch of barbeque/grilling sauces on the market in the Goodness Grows in N.C. program. If you search online for sauce reviews, rarely will you hit on a review about N.C. sauces (they all seem to be national brands). Hey, any sauce is good and I enjoy reading about them and eating them, but I want to help the home culinary teams. I’ve decided to taste test the sauces in the Goodness Grows in N.C. program. I’ll post my results here so check back every now and then for some saucy suggestions for your next grilling adventure. Read more…

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