It’s In The Sauce: Joe Joe’s Hog Shack BBQ Sauces
Every once in a while, we here at the pit like to sample the wares of our readership, and then if you don’t mind, tell you about it. You might call it a review, but we just call it spreading the word. It’s a highly tasty thing we get to do, so we don’t mind none doing it. I mean, golly, we get to eat BBQ, and help out some others along the way. Why wouldn’t we! So this won’t be our normal sort of post that you’re accustomed to. But rather a thank you to some good folks who sent us some of their spoils! Today’s culinary brain thrust comes to us all the way from the lovely folds of Maryland, courtesy of Joe Joe’s Hog Shack.
Joe, the man behind the curtain over there, has come up with three pretty darn impressive sauces: Blackberry, Sweet “N” Tangy, and a Carolina Sauce, the latter of which, is the final incarnation of his first sauce, Joe Joe’s Hog Sauce. But before we tell you about his sauces, we wanted to first tell you a little more about the man, because I think we rather fancy him. And you might too.
Joe is a traveling man. An outdoors man. Leastwise, that’s what we’ve gathered. And that right there ranks him decidedly high in our book. A bit of a gypsy’s soul, apparently he can oft-times be found gunk holing up and down the east coast tarmac in his recreational vehicle. Gunk holing. It’s a sailing term. Honest. Not sure how it applies here, but I just like the word, I guess. Anyways, back to Joe. You might also spot him dug in at a campsite somewhere, aside beautiful rivers and fluttering trees. Routine weekends at the hunting lodge are not uncommon with Joe either. Yeah, we like this guy! Anyways, Joe started to develop BBQ sauces to take with him on his many trips afield. Something for to please the palate of his travel mates. And what at its genesis was just a hobby, morphed into something far greater. A passion. And a business. These three sauces are the culmination of much kitchen tinkering. Much work. And much love. Let’s dig in, shall we, and learn a little more about them!
Seek the Meat!
Rummaging through the freezer for a test meat is always fun. My bride is a highly organized individual with an acute need for tidiness. This is reflective in all her areas of the house. Color coded and alphabetized. Even our movie collection is organized into Genre. And of course alphabetized from there. But my freezer at once, is the opposite of this. I’m talking about the freezer out in the garage, now. Man space, as it were. To open the top lid of that freezer is to view chaos in its most distilled, and paralyzed form. There is everything in there from ham bones, to pheasant, to liver, to fish guts wrapped up in plastic bags and stashed and forgotten there to keep them from smelling up the trash can. And somewhere down in the icy crags of the freezer, shoulder deep, I found the perfect test meat for our sauces today. Chicken legs. Plain, old, boring chicken legs. If anything would bandy well with a flavorful sauce, these would be it.
So I got to work at once with a little searing over direct heat, to crisp up the skin, and then tucked them back over indirect heat, opposite the hot coals, for the rest of the cook. We applied the sauces at the end of the cook, during the final few minutes.
Meanwhile, over at the Track Side Pit, our fellow patron/co-founder, was doing some testing himself. He had a much better portion of the yard bird too. Thighs! Man, we love them thighs! And here is a shot of them in full maturity, heavily glazed in Joe Joe’s Blackberry Sauce. Man, get your bibs on people!
The Blackberry Sauce was at once a delight on the tongue. It’s a thin sauce. There is no spicy after-kick, and was highly favored by our food critics, also known as, our wives. Mother In-law approved too. It sported a very pleasant blackberry flavor, not over-powering, but just pleasantly there, sweet, yet mildly complex, and because of its high sugar content, be sure to use this stuff only at the end of the cook. It would make a great glaze, we wagered, be it on your pork ribs, or beef ribs, chops, even the Easter ham! It also is supposed to do well with vegetables, we read, and of which we had to agree. When our corn on the cob wandered by happenstance into the sauce, it almost felt like a marriage had just transpired on my plate. It was amazing. Out of the three sauces, the Blackberry was my personal favorite, and the favorite also of most of the people we ran it by. You just wanted to eat with a spoon right out of the jar! It’s a very, very fine sauce.
Our fellow patron, however, thought the Carolina Sauce smothered on his apple wood smoked pork chops, was, and I quote, “A death row kind of meal“. And whilst I don’t care to thoroughly test his thesis on that, I shan’t argue too hard against it either. For through some rather exhaustive field studies of my own, forced to smoke up a rack of spare ribs the other day, I varnished said ribs with a good deal of this Carolina Sauce, and what henceforth transpired in my mouth can only be summarized as, “meant to be“. Man that was good! Authentic BBQ flavor. We both thought all these sauces were very good on chicken, but we both agreed they were outstanding on pork. Especially this vinegar-based, peppery, Carolina Sauce.
We were also pretty much in accord that the ultimate end game for this Carolina Sauce, in our opinion anyways, has got to be a good pulled pork sandwich. Something of which we were glad to verify. The thinner viscosity of this vinegar-based sauce oozed with great effect into the succulent hollows of the pulled pork, it was quite tasty, people, and no doubt would satisfy any man or woman in kind. Even, perhaps, those unfortunate enough to be residing in the cold, incarcerated flanks, of death row.
Sweet “N” Tangy
Now back to the legs, where we’ll finish things off today. The last sauce we tried was Sweet “N” Tangy, of which we liberally slopped on a couple of the chicken legs. Now here was a tomato-based sauce that as soon as you popped the lid off the jar and took a sniff, you just knew that Mr Joe, of Joe Joe’s Hog Shack was a gifted man. And you become relatively certain also, that his family is probably well-fed! A tint of smokey goodness, it is a thicker sauce with a very impressive peppery kick at the end. Not enough to make your nose run or anything, but enough to let you know you’ve lived a good life today. It’s a very good sauce, as good as any you’ll buy in any store somewhere. Maybe even better, because Joe made it.
Joe, you’ve done good, good sir. Your sauces are worthy. Adept. And well thought out. Thank you for your expertise, your time, and simply giving the sauce business a go, so that we all can share in your spoils. The world is a little better tasting now, because of you. Thank you!
On another note, and about the only thing we can knock on the sauces, is the glass jars they come in. We love glass over plastic, but they were rather prone to cracking during shipment. Not a big deal, because when we contacted them, they promptly sent us a replacement. Very quick customer service over there. And good people, too.
So if you’re looking for a new sauce to try out, give our friends at Joe Joe’s Hog Shack a try.
And tell Joe he done good! Because he did…
and now I wish we were grilling chicken instead of lamb chops!
July 6, 2016 at 4:06 pm
Oh come on now, nothing wrong with lamb chops! That’s a good life! Great to hear from you, btw!
July 6, 2016 at 4:19 pm
Nice timing..I am in the hole after the Ghost pepper and need a mother in law (and wife) approved sauce for the next family grilling.
July 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm
Hiya Gary! Man that Fire in the Hole is good stuff if you’re not a pansy. But yes sir, Joe Joes Blackberry Sauce will make your wife happy. All the lady folk seemed to like it. Well, men folk too. Good stuff indeed.
July 6, 2016 at 7:12 pm
Nice! It’s great to see another POTP post which I was looking forward to, and devoured post haste! It was all quiet on the Patron front there for a little while, which I hoped meant you were immersed in a smoky delicious weekend of BBQ… and based on your sauce review, that certainly looks to be the case!
Bravo on a fine write up of Joe Joe’s sauces…boy, not only are you a master class poet of meats and all things smoky, but you are also skilled in the art of pursuasiveness, and made a believer out of even skeptical me on the sauces…I can’t wait to try them!
July 6, 2016 at 9:25 pm
Well thank you! Yes, it was a smoke-filled weekend of the highest degree. Much meat was had. Much quality pit time enjoyed. And much writing and stories about it yet to come. It’s good to hear you’re looking forwards to new posts, and I applaud you for your patience. That is a hallmark trait of a good pit keeper. The ability to wait for it. For we cannot in good faith rush a BBQ post anymore than we can rush BBQ itself.
Many thanks SmokieButGoodie on your stalwart readership.
July 6, 2016 at 9:55 pm
Generally speaking there is not too much we miss about living in the States. But, when I read a post like this and remember wistful hours spent in wayside stops (especially in the Carolinas) tasting samples of various barbecue sauces and rubs and coming home with bottles of new concoctions to use at home I wish for a moment to shoot home and get some.
Oh well, the pictures and memories will do for now and I will keep mixing my own rubs and sauces to use down here in sunny Ecuador. Thanks for the food memories and for the fine post.
July 7, 2016 at 9:26 am
Thanks Juan in Ecuador! Yeah, nicely put old boy. Nicely put. You got it good down there, sounds like, and well, if you have to make your own sauces and rubs to be able to live there, I’d say you got a good deal going. But you knew that!
Bless ya John and Mary!
July 7, 2016 at 10:05 am
Wow, you even got my 12-year old daughter reading your blog now, saying the blackcurrant we have to try! Just picked about 10 litres today, stil some left after jellies and cordial so here’s to experimenting…
July 8, 2016 at 12:12 pm
correcting myself 🙂 the post was blackberry but I reckon black currant will be pretty darn good as well!
July 8, 2016 at 12:14 pm
Very nice! Pretty sure you and your daughter will enjoy the blackberry sauce. It’s quite delicious. And wow, 12 might be our youngest reader yet! Very cool!
Hope all is well with you guys.
July 8, 2016 at 6:13 pm
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