Heinz partners with top pitmasters to launch new product line: Heinz Pitmaster Collection BBQ Sauces
In front of the review board today is a line of barbeque sauces that we’re all excited to take a look at. Just out from Heinz is a new line of barbeque sauces…Pitmaster Collection BBQ Sauces. It’s a collection of four sauces representing some of America’s barbeque regions.
Not wasting any time in their own test kitchens, Heinz partnered with renowned pitmasters from each region to craft an authentic sauce that accurately defines their region’s unique style of barbeque. In so doing, each sauce is 100% natural using locally-sourced ingredients.
Jumping into the BBQ sauce game is a bold move by Heinz, yet a novel approach. In an already saturated market, it’s refreshing to see a large-scale food manufacturing firm embracing tradition. After all, these barbeque regions are the backbone of one of America’s greatest iconic foods. The regional designation of each sauce should go a long way in describing their characteristics. That is of course, that each sauce is indeed an accurate representation of the region.
Let’s grill up some wings, take a look at the Pitmaster Collection BBQ Sauces and meet the pitmasters behind them.
Memphis Sweet & Spicy
Meet the Pitmaster: Created by Dan Brown, pitmaster and owner of Memphis’ Leonard’s PIT Barbecue which has been serving up original Memphis style BBQ since 1922.
Sauce Description: With sweet brown sugar and the flavors of the region’s traditional dry rubs, this is a sweet and spicy sauce that’s sure to be a favorite.
Ingredients: Water, Dark Brown Sugar, Cane Sugar, Tomato Paste, Distilled White Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, Blackstrap Molasses, Salt, Spices, Cornstarch, Dehydrated Onion, Mustard Seed, Natural Smoke Flavor, Paprika, Xanathan Gum, Natural Flavor, Anchovies, Onion, Garlic Powder, Garlic, Tamarind Concentrate, Natural Extractive of Paprika
Let’s Meat the Sauce: It’s difficult to verify the authenticity of this sauce being a true Memphis style sauce, since Memphis barbeque is more about the rub than it is the sauce. What sauces are served in Memphis vary greatly from pitmaster to pitmaster. Yet, the common denominators of Memphis sauces are there.
Out of the bottle, this medium-bodied sauce indeed has the molasses flavor with a sweetness that doesn’t overpower. There’s a slight heat factor that creeps up, but it too doesn’t overpower. The subtle hint of smoke goes well with the nuances of the spices.
The sauce held well on our grilled wings and glazed nicely when kept away from the fire. Directly over the fire, the sugar content began to cause problems. Careful attention was required to prevent burning, but the extra effort rewarded us with some attractive looking wings.
Final Thoughts: For those who don’t want a thick and sticky extra sweet sauce, Memphis Sweet & Spicy will be right up your alley. This general purpose sauce is not as spicy as its name might imply, nor too sweet and the flavors all come together in a well rounded balance. It enhanced the flavor of our chicken wings without masking the flavor of the meat itself.
Texas Sauce Bold & Spicy
Meet the Pitmaster: Robert Sierra is the pitmaster of S&S Pit Crew. This competition barbecue team from San Marcos, Texas is the Texas State Grand Champion.
Sauce Description: This sauce captures the very best of Texas barbeque — combining spices like cumin and chili powder for a sauce that’s bold and flavorful with just the right kick.
Ingredients: Distilled White Vinegar, Tomato Paste, Water, Cane Sugar, Dark Brown Sugar, Salt, Blackstrap Molasses, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Spices, Corn Starch, Natural Flavor, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Paprika, Natural Smoke Flavor, Mustard Seed, Tamarind Concentrate, Xanthan Gum, Anchovies, Onion, Garlic, Turmeric, Natural Extractive of Paprika
Let’s Meat the Sauce: Bold is indeed a great description of this medium-bodied sauce. It’s heavy on tomato flavor and light on sweetness. There’s just a slight heat factor that when mixed with the vinegar tends to confuse the tastebuds in a good way.
This sauce was a pleasure to cook with. It held to our chicken wings quite well. A coating 5 minutes prior to removal and one last brushing before removing them from the grill produced quite the attractive piece of chicken.
Final Thoughts: Texas Bold & Spicy is indeed a bold sauce, but not really all that spicy. The moderate spice level is a perfect match for the tomato and vinegar flavors. The sweetness is perfect for those looking to not candy-coat their meat.
Although the sauce made for a great tasting chicken wing, it was a bit heavy on the flavor for a mild meat like chicken. After all, Texas BBQ is mostly about the beef. Save this sauce for beef, lamb or pork ribs. It would make a burger extremely happy.
Kansas City Sweet & Smoky
Meet the Pitmaster: This sauce is the brainchild of Kansas City natives and award-winning pitmasters and owners of Slap’s BBQ restaurant, Joe and Mike Pearce.
Sauce Description: A perfect balance of thick, sweet and tangy that is a mouthwatering blend of that sweet and smoky deliciousness that Kansas City is known for.
Ingredients: Distilled White Vinegar, Cane Sugar, Tomato Paste, Water, Dark Brown Sugar, Blackstrap Molasses, Salt, Corn Starch, Natural Smoke Flavor, Mustard Seed, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Xanthan Gum, Spices, Natural Flavor, Anchovies, Onion, Garlic, Tamarind Concentrate, Oleoresin Paprika
Let’s Meat the Sauce: Boy, the name “Sweet & Smoky” sums up this sauce in a nutshell! This sauce is typical of Kansas City style sauces. It’s sweet and tomatoey with just a slight degree of spiciness that slowly sneaks up on you.
Similar to it’s Memphis counterpart, use caution when grilling with this sauce. Its high sugar content will cause it to burn over a direct fire. Otherwise, it produced a pretty and tasty piece of chicken.
Final Thoughts: If a traditional sweet barbeque sauce is your preference then you’ll like this sauce. It’s well rounded in all aspects of the flavor profile. The level of smoke flavor may interfere for those who prefer their own smoking methods. The flavor of this sauce seems a perfect fit for grilled chicken and pork ribs.
Carolina Vinegar Style Tangy
Meet the Pitmaster: Sam Jones is a third-generation pitmaster and pitmaster of the legendary Skylight Inn BBQ in Ayden, North Carolina.
Sauce Description: A true Carolina style sauce that blends the distinctive tang of apple cider with the just right bit of sweet and spice.
Ingredients: Distilled White Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, Tomato Paste, Dark Drown Sugar, Cane Sugar, Water, Salt, Spices, Corn Starch, Xanthan Gum, Mustard Seed, Garlic Powder, Paprika, Natural Flavor, Natural Smoke Flavor, Turmeric
Let’s Meat the Sauce: Typical of North Carolina BBQ, this thin-bodied sauce is heavy on vinegar, light on sweet with just a slight spicy kick. There’s just enough tomato flavor to keep the vinegar from conquering all of the taste buds.
We were actually able to baste our wings several times with this sauce with no indication of burning. The end result was a slight glaze that complimented, yet didn’t overpower the flavor of our chicken.
Final Thoughts: Carolina Vinegar Style Tangy might be a hard sell for those unfamiliar with North Carolina style BBQ. If barbeque sauce means thick, Sweet Baby style sauces, you may find this sauce disconcerting, yet don’t give up on it. This style of sauce is designed for pulled pork or pulled chicken sandwiches. While it may not be the perfect sauce for painting a rack of pork ribs, it’s the perfect basting sauce. This sauce represents North Carolina quite well, as long as you’re a fan of Lexington style.
Our Final Opinion
Overall, Heinz has done a great job with their Pitmaster Collection BBQ Sauces. The various BBQ regions are represented well and no one sauce really stands out over the others. Our taste testers were evenly divided in their preferences, proving that taste is indeed selective.
To say that Heinz has matched the quality, flavor, love and passion that a professional pitmaster puts into his home brewed sauce would be preposterous. Yet, Heinz has produced a line of sauces that is better than we would have expected from an over-the-counter, corporate-produced sauce.
Heinz’s Pitmaster Collection BBQ Sauces is indeed just that…a collection. Each sauce has its own personality and with proper use, it can be converted from a sauce collection to a grilling arsenal.
The Pitmaster Collection BBQ Sauces have one noticeable shortcoming…the lack of a South Carolina mustard sauce and an Alabama white. Now that would really round out the collection! Can we expect a sequel? One can only hope.
For more info and great recipes,visit: Heinz BBQ.