‘Tis the season. My afternoon walks are pleasantly enhanced by the smell of charcoal and propane performing the “Dance of the Protein Fairy” as barbecue enthusiasts take to the smokers and grills in the neighborhood. It’s a sure sign the warmer temps are here to stay for a while and, armed with my new cookbook I told you about last week, I am ready for battle.
I also have some new weapons in my arsenal. This week I was treated to a sample of Rufus Teague barbecue products. I’d seen them before but never had the pleasure of actually using them. My box contained one bottle of Touch O’Heat, one bottle of Honey Sweet and a container of Fish Rub.
This Kansas City company named for the late Mr. Teague is marketed with clever and humorous quotes attributed to its namesake, so my first question was whether it was cute or good. Spoiler alert: It’s both.
The first thing I opened was the Touch O’Heat. Though ambiguously labeled as “kinda hot, kinda not,” I’ll say there is no way better to describe it. You’ve heard that line before, but I was immediately impressed by the balance and complexity of the sauce. It won’t blow away the heat junkies with face-melting flavor, but the heat-sensitive folks like Snake will know it’s there. I feel like I can handle a generous amount of heat but really enjoyed this. If you want to feel the burn, simply add a little hot sauce.
Honey Sweet finally made its debut. “Concocted by Rufus. Bees worked hard, too.” It, of course, has similarities to the Touch O’Heat but you do get the honey. I first tried it on crackers just to sample. It’s not syrupy. It doesn’t pin your dimples to your ears. Once again, I found it a well-balanced sauce.
Don’t take these as under-committed sauces. They are tomato based like most but exhibit wonderful flavor profiles, gently releasing the nuances their respective labels suggest. The Honey Sweet is well suited for pork, in my opinion, and the Touch O’Heat screams for the yardbird.
The Fish Rub will at first shock you with the website price tag of $15.75. Relax. That’s for a three-pack of 6.8-ounce containers. A little goes a long way, so expect three containers to last you about eight years. If we’re talking about Kansas City origins, I’d guess it was originally designed for freshwater fish. Interestingly, it has an aroma starkly different from what I’m used to. I can’t wait for some fresh inland catch, but I will certainly try this on some redfish.
Some sauces are fads, some stick to your ribs. I like these enough (so far) to keep them around for a while. Call me impressed. I’m currently listening to all Rufus had to say.
It’s Snake’s birthday. Let’s have a barbecue.