Kansas City’s barbecue sauce is tomato-based, thick, sweet and smoky. These Kansas City-style spareribs are a perfect example of that style of barbecue.
If you travel into South Carolina, mustard sauce is the primary barbecue sauce used. With family roots in South Carolina, I’ve tried most of them. When I’m there, you’ll more often than not find me hanging out at Sticky Fingers in downtown Charleston or Mt. Pleasant.
Sticky Fingers operates several BBQ restaurants in the southeast, from Tennessee to Jacksonville, FL. Offering five different sauces, I thought it time to truly evaluate their Carolina Classic barbecue sauce and determine if it really passes the mustard.
The first thing that impressed me about the plastic bottle is the whooping 18 oz. size. Right off the bat, they’re not being stingy. There’s nothing fancy about the label, just the Sticky Fingers logo.
The ingredients listed are: Mustard (water, vinegar, mustard seed, salt, turmeric) High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Cider Vinegar, Tomato Paste, Spices, Sodium Benzoate (To protect freshness).
The sauce is a brownish yellow color that is typical of most of the mustard barbecue sauces I’ve run into. There are specks of something in the sauce which I assume to be the “spices” listed in the ingredients. The sauce is a medium to medium-thin consistency with very little aroma other than a slight hint of mustard.
Out of the Bottle Taste Test
The taste is that of mustard, there is no doubt. There’s sweetness in there as well, yet doesn’t seem to pull away any of the mustard flavor. Oftentimes in mustard sauces, sweeteners such as honey or molasses are so overpowering that the mustard flavor is somewhat lost. That’s not the case with Sticky Fingers’ Carolina Classic. I think the corn syrup was a good choice for the sweetener.
The vinegar flavor may have been taken right to the edge yet, didn’t go over it. There is a small heat kick to it, but nothing that a meek palate couldn’t accommodate. I’d consider it slightly spicy.
Apply the Meat Taste Test
Since I often use mustard barbecue sauce in place of traditional mustard, I gave Sticky Fingers’ Carolina Classic a run on a grilled burger as well as a smoked slab of ribs.
It indeed offered a nice flavor to the hamburger. It got along quite well with the ketchup and other fixin’s but I would recommend having an ample supply of napkins on hand as it is a thinner consistency than that of regular mustard.
The ribs were superb. An application of the sauce 10 minutes before pulling the ribs out of the smoker with an additional lathering prior to serving seemed to be perfect. The smoke flavor really balanced out the sauce. The vinegar, mustard and spiciness seemed to completely blend together in what should be a South Carolina mustard sauce. The mustard didn’t over take the ribs.
The Final Verdict
Even though I’m trying to remain as impartial as I can with this review, I still have to recommend Sticky Fingers’ Carolina Classic. The flavors are blended perfectly. The only downfall of this sauce is the consistency. I would like it to be a bit thicker. The thinness seems to make it difficult to manage at times.
I know the true diehard South Carolinians prefer a stronger mustard flavor, since they grew up on the stuff. For the rest of the nation, this is what most of us would prefer. That includes this Tennessee boy who grew up with the sweeter sauces. It’s not all the time that you will utilize a mustard barbecue sauce, but Sticky Fingers’ Carolina Classic is a good choice when you do.
To take a look at more of Sticky Fingers’ Products and where you can purchase them, check out their website…Here
Enjoy your ribs and always remember…admire the fire!
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What’d Ya think?
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