Clark Crew BBQ Spicy
Clark Crew BBQ Spicy
$8.00 for 20oz at Clark Crew BBQ
Ketchup, Sugar, Apple Cider Vinegar, Molasses, Honey, Worcestershire Sauce, Habanero Puree, Salt, Maple Syrup, Water, Paprika, Chili Powder, Black Pepper, Natural Smoke Flavoring, Garlic, Cayenne, Onion, Vanilla Flavoring, Mustard Seed, Mustard Flour, Cinnamon, Chipotle Puree, Crushed Red Pepper, Spices
On a fateful day in 2012, Travis Clark took his family to be spectators at a barbecue competition and the outcome was the entire clan decided to form Clark Crew BBQ and start competing themselves. From then until now, Clark Crew BBQ has garnered over 700 Top-10 awards, was named National Team of the Year, Oklahoma Team of the Year, and took top prize at the Jack in 2019. With all that success, the team took the next step in their barbecue adventure and opened up a brick and mortar location in Oklahoma City in December 2019. They also currently have three sauces, three rubs, and various condiments available for purchase through their online site.
A heavy wave of Worcestershire brings the complexity right away in the aroma of this sauce. There's a lot of layers at work in the smell, with a mixture of a sweet tomato and molasses serving as a base behind the Worcestershire, a medium vinegar tang, and a mellow smokiness and savoriness. The pepper layer is multifaceted and strong, with earthy, fruity, and sharp notes that make it pretty clear you're in for some heat.
Thickness & Texture
This dark maroon sauce has a glossy sheen and a slight texture to it due to the spices. While the sauce is dark and opaque, you can still see a ton of spices that are white, red, and black and come in all sizes. The sauce weighs in right in the middle of the thickness scale and has a constancy also balanced between syrupy and watery. From a suspended spoon, the sauce falls in a fast and uneven pour that doesn't take long to change to a few slower drips and then cease, leaving a medium coating of sauce left clinging to the silverware.
Out of the Jar
A honey sweet start to the flavor gains depth from molasses and a tomato ketchup taste right out of the gate. As the sauce settles on the tongue, a ton of flavors begin popping up and melding together with Worcestershire being the strongest component, but there's also some mustard pungency, vanilla, garlic, and onion all adding their unique stamps. The longer the sauce stays on the tongue, the more the vinegar increases the tartness and the more you can taste a bit of a smokiness in the background. It's only when the sauce starts to exit the mouth do all the peppers work their magic, releasing an earthy and spicy kick that becomes very dominant in the aftertaste, leaving a scorching mouth.
Slathered & Cooked
The sauce coated the chicken in an even, medium layer that baked down very well over indirect heat. When moved directly over the coals, there was light caramelization with no burning and only minimal sauce loss. Like out of the jar, the flavor remained robust and immense. The molasses and honey both came a little more into the forefront, but heat and tang persisted and led to a nice tingle on the lips. The caramelized bits were exceptionally good with the sugar and spices having a concentrated flavor that stood out even against the already complex and strong flavor profile.
Put to Use
I try not to look at the ingredients too much while testing sauces—I feel like knowing what's in the sauce may put undue influence into what I'm experiencing. I noted many times in my initial takes of Clark Crew BBQ Spicy just how many flavors were going on and the overall complexity it had compared to other sauces. Then it all started to make sense when I began this post and had to write out the ingredients—a whole lot that goes into this sauce, and you can taste almost every single one of those items. This created a robust flavor profile, but in the best sense of the word—nothing was pushed too far and everything felt in balance and worked together. That being said, it was a little heavy handed for chicken, with the general robustness plus the heavy heat drowning out the natural flavor of the meat a bit. I would still use the sauce for poultry, but it might find a better home on the heartier smoked meats like pulled pork, ribs, brisket, and the like.