A while back on the BBQ Bros Facebook page I connected with Greg Coats, owner of Dock Street Barbecue. He sent his two sauces my way to try out: the “Kansas City Barbecue Sauce” and “North Carolina BBQ Dip”. Here are my initial thoughts, but see below for my comments on the pics as well:
Kansas City Barbecue Sauce – This was definitely my favorite of the two. One of the things I really liked about it is (as Greg mentions below) it doesn’t have a typical smokey flavor that a lot of K.C. style sauces have. It’s also not as thick as most of them. Personally, I’m not a super big fan of a lot of K.C. sauces b/c most of them taste the same (IMO of course…) and I really don’t like smoke flavor added to sauces. IMO, you should let your food bring the smoke flavor to the table and let the sauce just compliment it…but I guess that’s a debate for another day…
When smelling the sauce for the first time, it’s easy to pick out the balance of sweet (molasses, tomato, brown sugar) and tang (black pepper, cayenne) and even includes allspice which gives this sauce a lot of flavor. It only has slight kick of heat on the finish, but if you’re a big BBQ sauce person and like hot stuff (like me…), then you’d probably agree with me that it could even use a little bit more heat. But…we had 15 people at Christmas dinner and most everyone said they thought the heat level was perfect.
North Carolina BBQ Dip – This is a classic Carolina vinegar with a huge hot sauce and cayenne presence. It actually reminded me of a thinner version of a pepper pork shoulder sauce I make. This is a sauce that takes very little to provide a ton of flavor. You’ll need to like sauces with a lot of kick/twang to enjoy this one, but if you do, it’s one of the better ones I’ve had. One thing I’d like to see Greg test out is thickening this one up and maybe adding a bit of sweet to it. I’ve been experimenting with adding honey to Carolina vinegars and have really been enjoying the outcome so far.
The sauce pours super thin and needs to be shaken before using because all of the spices/herbs will have settled after sitting for a while.
You can check out Dock Street Barbecue on their website or Twitter for more info, but before you do, I had the chance to catch up with Greg and bounce a few questions off him. Here’s what he had to say:
BBQ Bros (BB): Tell us a bit about your company (how did you get started, your BBQ background, location, etc…)
Greg Coats (GC): I am a native Seattleite that has been messing around with sauce recipes for about 20 years on a pretty casual basis. I really started getting serious about BBQ about 10 years ago, when as a photo assistant, I would frequently travel throughout the south on assignments. Well, obviously I fell in love with BBQ, as there weren’t any REAL BBQ joints in the Seattle area. Everyone put WAY too much smoke to their meat. I love tasting some smoke, but there needs to be some evidence that there is actually meat in there!
So upon returning from a photo shoot in Memphis, I came across a Charbroil offset smoker at Home Depot and bought it on the spot. I learned how to smoke the best pork shoulder I had ever tried purely by trial and error. I usually cook a shoulder for 24-30 hours at 225 deg. and only add 4-5 hands full of soaked alder chips for smoke. I think the alder gives the pork a more Northwesty flavor, and it is quite mild in comparison to some of the more traditional woods. I do enjoy using hickory as well.
Years after feeling comfortable with the off set, I started donating BBQ dinners to my kids’ schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, and some local charities. I had already come to a stopping point with an eastern NC style dip, and a couple of KC style sauces, so when everyone kept telling me to bottle my sauces, I decided to give it a shot. My photography business wasn’t doing much, and I had just been layed off as a superintendent for a local custom home builder, so I launched what I call my Plan “C”. I would joke that Plan “D” was a swan dive off of the Aurora Bridge. (sympathy vote for retailers) That’s really about it, nothing special, just a love for authentic regional BBQ. Hopefully the fine folks up here will wise up and quit kicking out the same old drab, greasy slop they call ‘cue.
BB: Tell us about your sauces (what kind of sauces do you offer, what foods are they best on, what do you pride yourselves on, etc…)
GC: My NC sauce was intended to be used on pulled pork sammys, but I put it on everything; really good on white fish, fried chicken, in a bowl of chili, etc. The KC is a bit thinner than what you’re probably used to, with very little sugar and no liquid smoke added. I like my sauce to get IN the meat, rather than squish out from under a bun like really thick sauces tend to do. Also, as there isn’t much sugar, it doesn’t blacken up on the grill, and what heat there is generally tends to cook out fairly well. Both are gluten free and all natural. KC has corn syrup in it, but it is already an ingredient in the ketchup I use. Going with a ketchup that has no corn syrup, or making my own simply adds too much to my cost. Plus, I figure everything in moderation, right?
BB: Where can we buy your sauces?
GC: My sauces are currently available around the Ballard area, and Atkinsons’ Market in Ketchum, ID. (You can also custom order Dock Street sauces by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org)
Now that we’ve caught up with Greg a bit, let’s take a look at his sauces:
For starters, great logo design. Great colors, clean design and eye-catching. I’m a big believing in solid marketing and a company’s logo says a lot about how serious they are about what they do IMO…
Here’s a shot of the ingredients and a bit about the K.C. sauce. Only downside here is the HFCS, but that’s something Greg will most likely eliminate as his brand grows.
I took this shot to show you the various spices that are floating around.
Shot of the ingredients of the N.C. BBQ Dip. Simple, but very good.
And this is a close up shot of the bottom of the N.C. BBQ Dip before shaken up. You can see all spices that have settled, so once shaken up you can imagine all the flavor that’s in this sauce.
The K.C. pours a medium thickness and has a nice medium burgundy color.
The N.C. represents a Carolina vinegar well in that it is super runny and almost clear in color (except for the spices obviously…).
Side by side comparison of the two sauces poured over some pulled pork. Can you guess which is which? 🙂
Again, the N.C. is a classic watery vinegar and saturates whatever you pour it on with vinegar-pepper goodness.
Whereas the K.C. is thick adheres to the top layer of whatever you pour it own, it packs enough flavor that you don’t need a whole lot.