Review: Guy Fieri BBQ Sauces

Famed Food Network celebrity chef Guy Fieri recently unveiled a new line of four barbecue sauces, and I was sent a bottle of each to sample and review. I have to admit that I was leery of yet another offering from a television personality, but I was wrong in this case.

When I received the sauces the first thing I did was read the ingredients of each. I was very pleasantly surprised and almost shocked to see that they contain no high-fructose corn syrup. That's a small miracle in the world of commercial barbecue sauces these days. The ingredients were generally natural, and each of the sauces is also gluten-free; so far, so good.

Here is how each of the sauces are described on the bottle:
Kansas City Barbeque Sauce
Chef Guy’s Kansas City BBQ Sauce is your traditional, go-to sauce that you’ll dig on just about everything. Sweet, smoky molasses, a hint of apple cider vinegar and a little black pepper heat will rock everything from beef brisket to chicken wings or anything else you can throw on a grill. Gluten free.

Bourbon Brown Sugar Barbeque Sauce
Chef Guy’s sweet, sticky Bourbon Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce rocks on just about anything. Smoky bourbon, sweet brown sugar and a hint of spicy black pepper create off-the-hook flavor that’s a perfect complement to everything from beef to chicken, pork and seafood.

Carolina #6 Barbeque Sauce & Marinade
Chef Guy’s Carolina #6 BBQ Sauce & Marinade is the perfectly tangy and versatile "mop & slop" sauce. Apple cider vinegar, sweet brown sugar and a little bit of cayenne pepper heat is a rockin’ combination to be slopped right on pulled pork or used as a marinade or baste for any grilled meat. Gluten free.

Pacific Rim Barbeque & Wok Sauce
Chef Guy’s Pacific Rim BBQ & Wok Sauce is great on its own or as an off-the-hook wok sauce. Sweet ginger, some chile heat, nutty sesame and soy sauce are a rockin’ combination for stir fry, pork ribs, salmon or shrimp.
For my review I barbecued some chicken over Kingsford charcoal and cherry wood. I used a simple and fairly neutral dry rub so that it wouldn't unnecessarily muddy the flavors of the sauces.

Here are my unfiltered thoughts that I jotted down as I tasted each sauce:
Kansas City Barbeque Sauce
  • Vinegar punch for a KC sauce.
  • Not at all sugary.
  • Seems more like a Memphis-style sauce.
  • A bit thin for a KC sauce.
  • Good flavor.

Bourbon Brown Sugar Barbeque Sauce
  • Rich and thick, with a pleasant smooth & velvety consistency.
  • Mellow & subtle sweetness with a slight bourbon undertone.
  • Very nice!
  • A 50/50 blend with the KC sauce makes a great combination.

Carolina #6 Barbeque Sauce & Marinade
  • Bold cider vinegar flavor.
  • Mellow lingering spiciness.
  • Slight black pepper flavor.
  • Would be great on pork, but probably too spicy for the average person.
  • Maybe cut with the KC sauce?

Pacific Rim Barbeque & Wok Sauce
  • Bold soy flavor.
  • Background flavor of hoisin & ginger.
  • Salty.
  • A little goes a long way.
  • Mildly spicy.
  • Thick with lots of flavor complexity.
When I was done I mixed the leftover samples and, through the magic of barbecue sauce alchemy, came up with what would be a killer pork sauce:

  • 1/3 cup Carolina
  • 1/4 cup KC
  • 1/4 cup Bourbon
  • 1/8 cup Pacific Rim

I also had my ladies try each of the sauces and the favorite was the Bourbon Brown Sugar.

In conclusion, these sauces are good. They offer clean and generally bold flavors that are a welcome departure from typical mass-market sauces. Whether or not they are true to their stated barbecue regions is an argument with no end.

These sauces are rollin' out nationwide, so keep your eyes peeled and try them if they become available in your area. I think you'll be very glad that you did. In addition to being good out of the bottle they make a great barbecue sauce chemistry set to invent your own signature sauce.

Obligatory Disclaimer: This is not a paid endorsement. The sauces were sent to me free of charge, but the thoughts expressed are solely my own.

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14 Comments:
Blogger Chris said...
Excellent review, John. It made quite an impression on the forum with a lot of comments. Like them, I was surprised that it didn't have HFCS in them.

Have you tried them out on something cooked yet?
Blogger John Dawson said...
Thanks, Chris. Yes, I tried the sauces on barbecued chicken, as I explain in the review. D'oh! :-P
Blogger Sandi D said...
I think they kicked the butt of any commercial, mass produced sauce, out there. Carolina wasn't my fave (too spicy for this white girl!) but, if you are into that, I bet it was great.

Anxious to try the Asian blend...

Thank you, hun, for cooking/grilling for us...you save us weekly from meals from a box ;P
Anonymous Anonymous said...
"each of the sauces is also gluten-free" is not correct. The Pacific Rim contains soy sauce which is derived from wheat. Will have to check his other sauces, but the Pacific Rim is a no go for GF people.
I tried all the sauces as well on a variety of me...pork, beef and chicken.None of the sauces are at all unique when compared to the bullseye sauces , memphis, texas,kansas...or the jack daniel sauces...don't get me wrong because when i combined equal portions of all 4 sauces it became a new taste sensation that raped my mouth and widened my perceptions on flavor...woooooooooooow....
Anonymous Anonymous said...
i actually thought the KC sauce was way to sweet and the liquid smoke taste was over powering. Ill stick with my favorite off the shelf sauce, KC Masterpiece.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I am so glad these sauces are out on the store shelves. My husband and I are carefull what we eat as we are allergic to sulfites and refuse to injest high fructose corn syrup or white sugar. It is nice to be able to grap a bottle without having to read the label to make sure it contains stuff we can't eat. I prefer the bourbon/brown sugar style.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I've tried 2 of the sauces (Bourbon Brown Sugar and Carolina 6). These are my favorite barbecue sauces! They are a little pricey, but worth it. Mmmmm, delicious.
Blogger Bob Morris said...
The Carolina # 6 is unbelievable. I brined my chicken wings and thighs in sugar, salt and # Carolina 6 for about an hour, then put the chicken on my Traeger smoker for about 45 minutes at 200 before kicking the temp up to 275 - 300 until I reached 180 degrees. Best chicken I've ever done!
Anonymous Anonymous said...
The KC is my new pork favorite! The Bourbon sauce is good on pork but better when mixed 1/2 & 1/2 with Carolina. You have to like very strong vinegary if you like the Carolina, a bit much for me but a lot of flavor and simply a taste bud thing. Have not tried the Pacific Rim yet.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Carolina has way to much vinegar, the sauce is to thin and need to cut back on the heat and then it would be perfect.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I always pick up new sauces to try for the boyz....my son went wild over the bourbon and puts it on steaks and burgerz....big thumbs up
Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Carolina has too much vinegar. But the Pacific Rim is SO, SO, SO good. I eat it with a spoon. Haven't been able to find the other 2 sauces as yet.
Blogger John Dawson said...
Anonymous - Carolina sauce is supposed to be "too vinegary". That's how they roll. ;-)

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