Chef Sharone Hakman came to San Diego during the Gourmet Experience in Del Mar to promote his sauce and do some cooking demonstrations. I was offered a ticket to the Gourmet Experience, but had to decline since we were going to be out of town. But, I did accept a bottle of his bbq sauce to try. I am not really a bbq sauce connoisseur, but Travis is. He loves finding new sauces, trying different ones, and I’m pretty sure he’s always on the search for the perfect sauce.
Forgive me for not taking pictures of the things we ate with the bbq sauce as we evaluated it and discussed whether we liked it. First, we tried it with leftover rotisserie chicken, then broccoli and roasted cauliflower. I wanted to brush it onto shrimp and grill them but 1) it was raining that night and 2) the shrimp I thought I had in the freezer were no longer there. We had it with turkey meatloaf and finally I brushed it onto chicken drumsticks and baked them (425 F for 30 minutes).
The first time we tasted the bbq sauce, we were surprised by the smoky sweetness. And then we were hit by the chipotle heat. It’s a heat that is subtle at first, but builds on the back of your tongue and your lips. The bbq sauce is also very thick. It pours out of the bottle nicely, but it’s a thick sauce and you can even see pieces of onions in it. Because it’s so thick and hearty, I found it a little overwhelming poured over the meatloaf and dipping chicken into it. However, as a glaze for the drumsticks, I think it really shined. The heat from the oven caramelized the sugars in the sauce to make a sticky, crispy skin on the outside, with enough saucy sweetness to give the chicken some flavor. Next time, I think I’ll marinate the chicken in the sauce for a few hours, then brush on fresh sauce before it goes into the oven.
Travis was enamored of this particular sauce, but he did like it. It’s a little too bold for me and I’ll be enjoying it in small quantities, not smothering foods in it. The bottle is flask-shaped and heavy, and the descriptive text on the label is entertaining. I wouldn’t say I “need” this sauce, but it’s certainly a good one to have around. The main quibble I have is that you can only order it online and it’s expensive – $8 + $2.99 shipping (although, if you buy 3 you’ll save $4 overall). That’s a lot of money to pay for a bottle of sauce and, I have to admit, not something we would pay when there are so many options in stores around town.
Chef Hakman – you make a heck of a bbq sauce, but maybe you can dial down the price a bit (and also the arrogance on the label, perhaps?) to make it more competitive with the other players on the bbq shelf.