By, Jim Knepper
So…if you’re a customer of ours or a regular reader of the Blog, you’ll no doubt know my thoughts on BBQ Sauce in general (including our own), but in the event that you don’t know…I typically have to turn my head or leave the service line when people begin to smother our Pulled Pork with thick, sweet sauces simply because I personally believe that the essence of the smoke, combined with the spices and crunch of the bark that we work so hard to achieve is what our Pulled Pork is all about! That said, I am definitely not Anti-BBQ sauce…we make our own of course, but it’s a twist on an Eastern North Carolina Vinegar base and it’s very thin, using dark cider vinegar that is produced locally…when combined with our slaw and pulled pork on a crusty bun, it blends perfectly together!
OK, with that disclaimer aside, I have always loved the name ‘Dimples’ and it still makes me smile every time I say it. (An important part of the BBQ experience in my opinion) So, I was flattered when the fine folks (specifically Richard) at Dimples asked me to review their sauce. I had read many previous reviews of this North Carolinian product and all were stellar so the chance to get my finger in a bottle, er’ I mean to use some in a few different culinary applications, was more than welcomed.
When I got the sauce, I immediately unpacked it and noticed first and foremost the clean, simple ‘Dimple’ label…nice! Not pretentious, not a lot of flash, letting the sauce be the ‘star’ of the bottle. I think this speaks a lot about the confidence of the producer and frankly looks much better. You be the judge…(while you’re looking, note that the bottle in the front was also opened on it’s way from the box to the block…more on that later) 😉
That first dip with my finger let me know that there would be nearly infinite possibilities for this sauce and my mind began to race with menu ideas and applications. It was thick, but not crazy thick, it was sweet, but not too sweet, it had an obvious tomato base that I got right off the bat to be ketchup (like our own) and there was a smokey finish that wasn’t overpowering. Overall, first impression was that it was a well balanced sauce that would without question, satisfy the taste buds of the vast majority of our customers…saving them those thick, ‘store bought’ mega-brands!
My first use of the sauce was on Chicken thighs that we grilled up (on our GrillGrates) with a bit of rub during the initial cook and then a liberal application of Dimples during the last few minutes on the heat so as not to burn the sauce. It came out spectacular…a bit sweet for my personal taste, but just right for my wife who’s got a more sensible palate and one that I trust when it comes to evaluating such things! Not only did the thighs look good, they tasted even better and the sauce definitely did not overpower the rub or char from the grill.
Second night with my Dimples…I couldn’t resist the burning desire to put it on some Shrimples! I know, I know…I said it and I love saying it; Shrimples with Dimples! Once again, we prepped with some rub (including a touch of Old Bay) and cooked over hickory at high heat with the Dimples application during the final turn and just as they came off the grill. This preparation was absolutely incredible and I’m not just sayin’ that…the Shrimp, Rub, Dimples combo was spectacular and not only looked awesome, it tasted even better!
Yesterday, I got a ‘prize package’ that I was fortunate enough to win from the fine folks at Kiolbassa Sausage Company and while, not a planned use for this evaluation…the Jalapeno Cheddar sausage went straight from the FedEx truck to my grill and then into my belly with some Dimples on top! Once again, PERFECT! (excuse the caps 😉 ) Combining the heat of the Jalapeno, smoothness of the cheese and sweet, not too thick Dimples created a sweet heat that could not be beat! I have to admit…I wasn’t planning on that rhyme, but I’ll take it!
I have so many more menu ideas in mind for the Dimples that there’s not enough room to cover all the dishes in writing, but here are a few thoughts: Add it to Soups, Baked Beans and other Sauces to increase it’s appeal and enhance the flavors of your favorite dishes. It would be really tasty on a thick burger with some smoked Hog Jowl and Blue Cheese too! Possibilities are endless for this very versatile sauce that in their own words “defies all categories of smokey goodness”!
So, my final answer…go get you some Dimples and experiment on your own! You won’t regret it and I am sure will find many more uses for it than I have so far. I would give it two sticky thumbs up, but probably lick them first and that might gross some folks out, so instead I’ll simply recommend that you find a retailer or order some online! They are at www.DimplesBBQSauce.com where you can find all the information you need to get some! Why “Dimples” you might ask? Well, word is that they are a common genetic characteristic in the members of this family owned small business and therefore add their ‘personal’ touch to each and every bottle!
Feel free to post photos or stories of your Dimples applications here on the Blog and look for it SOON in the GreatQ4U! Grill and Smoker shop when you’re in or around Central PA! For more info about us, visit us online at www.GreatQ4U.com or find us on FaceBook and Twitter!