Freelance Foods Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
Freelance Foods Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
$12.99 for 12.5oz at Freelance Foods
Water, Tomato Paste, Bourbon Whiskey, Sugar, Mustard, Distilled Vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, Kosher Salt, Red Wine Vinegar, Honey, Molasses, Garlic, Onion, Black Pepper, Paprika, Xantham Gum, Mustard Powder, Ground Peppers, Oregano, Spices
Lance Allen Kramer reached out to me to give his new sauce a try and I was happy to oblige. His barbecue brand, called Freelance foods and run out of Spring, TX, is relatively new and currently features just two sauces and a rub, along with a lot of swag too. Lance's career is food is longer than that though as he has experience as a chef in different capacities, as well as appearances on the Food Network and other channels. He even has his own food-based Youtube channel called Flavor Frontier. Those spots in front of the camera make sense when you consider Lane's other career—actor.
There's no mistaking the bourbon in this sauce with its upfront presence, but it's pretty equally weighted by the standard tomato, sugar, and vinegar trio of barbecue sauce. The bourbon immediately provides extra depth and uniqueness here, but a deeper whiff also brings in a heavy spice combination with notes of garlic, earthy peppers, and a slight smokiness. At the same time those spices pop out, the sweetness gains definition by way of molasses, and Worcestershire enters as another piece of the barbecue puzzle.
Thickness & Texture
This rusty red sauce has a glossy sheen and is semi-transparent, which is why it's easy to see a ton of spices that come in small red, orange, and white specs, along with some large black and white bits too. The sauce is pretty smooth and has a medium thickness and lightly syrupy consistency. This has the sauce falling in a fast and even pour from a suspended spoon that doesn't take long to change to fast drips and leaves a thin coating left clinging to the silverware after a final couple slower drips release.
Out of the Jar
Right off the bat you get a balanced barbecue flavor here with tastes of tomato, vinegar, and sugar. After a couple seconds of settling on the tongue, the taste of bourbon is released and adds a unique flavor component right before the more common Worcestershire works a savoriness into the mix. The spices then make their play with a light garlicky taste and a heavier earthy pepper being the most notable traits. The peppers and vinegar then both get turned up as the sauce makes its exit, and a very faint smokiness comes in too as the sweetness fades, leaving a tangy and lightly spicy aftertaste that still has remnants of sweet tomato and bourbon.
Slathered & Cooked
This sauce coated the chicken in a thin and even layer that baked down very well over indirect heat. When moved over the coals, there was minimal sauce loss and only light caramelization, mainly where the chicken was touching the grates. The main story in the flavor was a textbook sweet and tangy tomato profile with a little smokiness to back it up. The bourbon was there from bite one too, adding its distinct taste into the equation. With a ramping up of the sweetness, the spices and heat didn't enter until the leg was almost done being consumed, but everything tasted out of the jar was accounted for by the time the chicken was finished.
Put to Use
I had been taking a break from barbecue sauce testing, but Lance's offer to send me his sauce has me back in the game, and this was a good sauce to get me going again. I was left content by the well balanced and complex barbecue flavor that was delivered both out of the jar and after being cooked, but also was intrigued by how the bourbon was used to make what would have been fairly standard sauce, something unique. To be totally honest though, I found bourbon a bit of a distraction for my own taste buds, making the sauce taste a little off as the booze real stood out in the aroma and flavor. This kind of left me curious to try out Freelance Foods standard barbecue sauce because it likely delivers that barbecue complexity, with a touch of heat, without the one component that left me second guessing my otherwise all positive perception. Of course, taste is subjective, and someone who is more into bourbon might find this to be a true five-star specimen, so I wouldn't hesitate to recommend giving it a try, especially on chicken, where the flavor was a good match up to the mellow touch of poultry.