Swamp Boys Rub's Bold Yeller
The Swamp Boys barbecue team was founded in 2004 by group of five longtime friends, four who were special education teachers together in Winter Haven, FL. It only took a couple years on the circuit until they began to see a lot of success and be named a top 5 team by the Florida BBQ Association, and by 2017 they had taken a top team honor on three occasions. They venture outside their home state as well, and Swamp Boys were named the number one national team by the National BBQ Rankings in 2009 and 2013. Armed with all of those barbecue awards and knowledge, the team members have gone beyond just competing and also spread their smoked meat wisdom with classes, consulting, and even appeared on the show of BBQ Pitmasters. Swamp Boys' one rub and three sauces are available for sale online.
A pungent and tangy mustard aroma with a strong peppery kick are the primary traits in the aroma of this sauce. The mustard and vinegar are sharp and harsh, but do get cut with a medium amount of sweetness that offers a bit of contrast and balance to the pungency. With a few deeper whiffs, the full complexity that's at work under the hood comes into plain sight with a Worcestershire complexity that's built upon by a heavy spice layer that includes the standard players of garlic and peppers which are both earthy and spicy.
Thickness & Texture
This mustard yellow sauce is smooth with a glossy sheen to it. The sauce is opaque, but its light hue makes it easy to see a plethora of spices in red, white, and black small and medium specs. The thickness is a little south of the middle of the scale and the consistancy is medium syrupy. From a suspended spoon, the sauce falls in a fast and steady stream that doesn't take long to switch to quick drips followed by one or two slow ones before ceasing and leaving a medium coating of sauce left clinging to the silverware.
Out of the Jar
The distinct bite and pungency of mustard starts the flavor profile, but it's quickly balanced out by a honey-like sweetness. That sugary taste is fleeting as the vinegar soon turns up the tang and the mustard comes back with a vengeance, delivering an even stronger sharp flavor. At this point, like in the aroma, the Worcestershire and spices come in together and turn up the complexity of the sauce a lot with garlicky, smoky, and earthy notes. As the sauce exits the tongue, both the mustard and vinegar make power plays while the peppers get in on the action too to add a medium heat that creates a spicy, tangy, and sharp aftertaste.
Slathered & Cooked
This sauce coated the chicken in a thin, even layer that baked down well over indirect heat. When moved directly over the coals, there was no burn off and light caramelization, mainly where the leg was touching the grates. With a boost of sweetness, the sauce delivered a balanced mixture of sweet, pungent, tangy, and spicy from the start. Then, a few more bites in, things got even tastier as the spices started to really come out and deliver the full profile experienced out of the jar. While it's not uncommon for a mustard sauce to suffer from some grittiness after being cooked, this sauce only had a minimal amount of that characteristic, leaving a pleasing texture as well.
Put to Use
When I revamped my site back in the spring, I noticed I hadn't reviewed all that many true mustard sauces, which has led me to add one of them into the mix during each of my recent sauce testing ventures. I used to not be a huge mustard fan, but trying more of these sauces has really turned my perception around, especially when you get one as good as Swamp Boys Rub's Bold Yeller. With its heavy complexity and multiple layers of flavor, there's no mistaking this as a barbecue sauce, and with mustard as a base, there's extra sharpness and pungency that really makes it deliver a strong and bold flavor. Being a spicy sauce fan, the extra tang and heat that this sauce has was definitely going to win me over, but what lifted it into the highest ranks in my mind was how the flavors progressed and worked off each other along that journey. Mustard sauces pair really well with poultry and this one rendered one mighty fine chicken leg, but I can image this being great slathered on ribs, pulled pork, or brisket too—really most smoked and grilled meats. If you haven't been converted on mustard barbecue sauces yet, this one may just be the hook you need.