Thu Sep 26, 2013
Delivering a progression of flavor that covers tangy, sweet, pungent, and spicy in a bold, but balanced way makes Slap Sauce easily one of my favorite mustard-based barbecue sauces.
Michael McCord, the man behind Slap Sauce, was kind enough to send this Carolina mustard sauce for a review. Its invention was the product of necessity after he spent a whole day smoking a hog for a tailgate party only to realize he forgot to procure some sauce. A bit inebriated, it was require to concoct a sauce out of ingredients on hand, and thus Slap Sauce was born. That was in his college years, but he continued to make the sauce, with some minor modifications, since that day. After winning "Best Sauce" at the Annual Atlanta Butt-Off at SweetWater Brewer, Slap Sauce gained traction and Michael began bottling and distributing it. Along with the mustard-based Slap Sauce, Michael also a second sauce—Alabama Salvation Sauce—under his company, Firebud Brands.
On fist smell, it's hard to describe this as anything other than yellow mustard and vinegar. Seemingly equal parts of both, the pungent aroma of mustard mixes with the harshness of vinegar to create quite the singe on the nose. If you take in a deeper whiff, there are notes of garlic and onion in there, as well as a distant sweetness.
Thickness & Texture
If it wasn't apparent from the smell, the bright yellow color of this sauce clearly states its mustard base. There are tons of spices visible, mainly in the form of specs of black pepper and dots of red cayenne. The sauce runs medium-thin, drizzling quickly and smoothly from a suspended spoon and leaving only a light coating of sauce on the spoon in the end.
Out of the Jar
The strong bite of mustard starts off this sauce. A light sweetness quickly backs that down, but it's a fleeting flavor as vinegar then powers in with a punch. As the vinegar drowns the sugar, the sting of the mustard comes back into play and creates a 50/50 balance between tart vinegar and pungent mustard. As the sauce sits on the tongue, spices like garlic powder and onion powder struggle to make an appearance, but are mostly held off by the overpowering base. In the last seconds, the peppers make their presence known, leaving the mouth with super tang and medium spice.
Slathered & Cooked
As expected, the thin sauce went on lightly, but it baked in well, so the sauce built up an even and decent layer to coat the chicken well through multiple brushings. The caramelization over direct heat was minimal, but some attractive grill marks were left where the chicken touched the grate. The flavor remained fairly unchanged from out of the jar. The same mustard bite and vinegar tang defined the sauce and gave a pleasing flavor to the chicken. I was able to taste the spices a little more after being cooked, and the sweetness was turned up maybe one notch.
Put to Use
Slap Sauce has been my favorite mustard sauce to date. Although I was drawn to the honey-mustard flavor of Salt Lick's mustard sauce, Slap Sauce is more what a good barbecue sauce should taste like. It delivers heat, tang, spices, and a little sweetness in an interesting progression from start to finish. It comes out with a bold, but balanced flavor, the type that stands up to and enhances smoked meat. I'm not must of a fan of mustard sauces on chicken, but I really loved Slap Sauce—it was my favorite leg out of six I tested that day. The sauce would also be well suited for pork, beef, and lamb.
We all need to give Michael McCord a big Meatwave thanks since he sent two bottles of Slap Sauce to me. That means the second is up for grabs in a giveaway this week, and this is one I think you'll really enjoy. To enter the giveaway, comment on this post with your favorite use for a mustard barbecue sauce. Deadline for entries is 11:59pm on Tuesday October 1, 2013. Read the official rules for more details. One entry only per individual. Good luck!