Cowboy Joe's Pit & Grilling Sauce on Pork Chops
Leslie got in touch. She'd found Barbecue Master and thought I'd like to try out Cowboy Joe's Pit & Grilling Sauce. They have just taken first place in the Austin, Texas "Man-Up" annual competition and then 4th in the National Barbecue Association competition with 600 entries.
Life has been crazy around here as some of you know with a kid out of the country and an airline take-over with some questions about when I'd get him back. I still had to eat, and this sauce interesting, since it's a vinegar, and North Carolina is the vinegar capital of sauces.
Leslie sent out samples of the mild and spicy, and made my quick and easy boneless pork chops. I also tried the sauce (or really a mop) on some chopped pork as well that I had from our last low and slow smoke.
Here's What Cowboy Joe's Barbecue Sauce Looks Like in the JarWhen I first opened the box, I thought I had what I'd call a sauce - thick like Kansas City sauce. In North Carolina, Bone Suckin' Sauce is a thick sauce billed as a vinegar sauce, but it's certainly not a classic North Carolina BBQ sauce. It's more like Kansas with a hint of vinegar.
The darker color was throwing me off, but when I opened the jar, this was what I call a mop. It's thin like a classic North Carolina vinegar sauce but with a sweeter smell. What this means is that you can use it as a marinade, and you can brush it on while grilling where on thick sauces you need to wait until the meat is almost done, or the sugars will burn, and your barbecue meat will be charred on the outside.
I did marinate the pork chops for about 20 minutes in Cowboy Joe's Pit & Grilling barbecue sauce. And, then I sauced a little. It does not take long to grill boneless pork chops, so I didn't need to mop much. Just on each flip.
On the chopped pork, I just heated the sauce and poured it over as we do here in North Carolina on pork butt or shoulder sandwiches.
This was a really robust and tasty sauce. Cowboy Joe's was sweet just as it smelled. So, it's not a North Carolina knock off which is almost totally vinegar in flavor with some heat (hot pepper seeds) and in the western area (piedmont) a little red (some form of tomato).
I love a wide range of styles of barbecue sauces, but I do associate vinegar with NC. Our sauce does seem to be an acquired taste though, and many kind of freak out on the big hit of vinegar.
You get a little vinegar flavor in Cowboy Joe's but more sweet than tang, so I'd have to say that it would be more mainstream and appeal to a wider audience. You get the mop style which is great for moisture as you can see in my pork chop photo.
I go thumbs up, unless you are looking for NC style vinegar sauce. Then I'd say go with Ralph's (very small batch) or Scott's (easier to find). If you're looking for your first vinegar mop sauce, Cowboy Joe's is much less tart so a great bet if you're not used to vinegar sauces.
I love our NC vinegar sauces, but I have to call things the way I see them. Our barbecue sauce here can be kind of a shock. You get something similar here with Cowboy Joe's Pit & Grilling Sauce but with more balance and less bite. Someone may come by and revoke my North Carolina citizenship card. But, I adore out sauce style. I just know it's a niche product. Cowboy Joe's would be broader in appeal.
On a side note, I did get my son back. Now, I need to make him some smoked pork with Cowboy Joe's.