Thu Jul 3, 2014
Calling a sauce "Absolutely Perfect Blue Ribbon" takes a whole lot of confidence, and luckily this sauce lives up to its name with an incredibly well balanced bright and tangy all-purpose barbecue sauce flavor.
Absolutely Perfect has 30 years of history behind it—founder Ken Mellow started working on this sauce after getting his first grill and then tinkered with it throughout the years to find the right barbecue flavor with a bit of innovation as well. In 2006, the sauce started making the rounds in competition, going on to win numerous awards included 2nd place at Memphis in May. The sauce, along with a rub, is now available online and in select stores in the St. Louis area.
Blue Ribbon has a very bright, fresh aroma. There's a fruity base with hints of orange behind the more dominant tomato, and a light vinegar tang that mixes in seamlessly. There's a light sweetness, mellow spice, and added depth by way of Worcestershire, onion, and garlic.
Thickness & Texture
This orange-red sauce sits right in the middle of the thickness scale. It has a quick and steady pour from a spoon that slows to a few final drips, then leaves a light coating of sauce left clinging. There's a very slight texture to this otherwise smooth and glossy sauce, and although it's opaque, disperse specs of black pepper can be seen throughout.
Out of the Jar
The flavor out of the jar starts much like the aroma, and then builds on it. Blue Ribbon begins bright and fruity, with a sweet tomato base that has a distinct orange tanginess. It's sweet, but not overpoweringly so. The sugars find balance though as soon as the vinegar hits, which creates perfect contrast between sweet and tart that doesn't drown out the fruitiness much at all. As the sauce settles on the tongue, the Worcestershire that was faint in the aroma department starts to play a bigger role. It adds a complexity that is only deepened as garlic and onion notes come out, as well as an earthiness from dried chilies. Those chilies then deliver a touch of heat as the sauce leaves the tongue, and a mellow burn lingers that continues to hold all sweet, tangy, and fruity flavors that came before.
Slathered & Cooked
This sauce kept delivering on the "blue ribbon" name on the grill as it coated evenly, baked down perfectly, and held up over direct heat, developing attractive caramelization without burning. The flavor kept up its bright and balanced character, holding on to all fresh, fruity, and tangy components with a mellow spice. It was a very attractive chicken leg that had a flavor that matched its looks.
Put to Use
I was dubious when I got an email requesting I review a sauce called "Absolutely Perfect Blue Ribbon." Sure, barbecue folks like to brag, but that's some hubris to label your sauce with not one, but two such bold claims. As I went through the entire sauce review, I kept trying to find faults, but came up almost empty—this sauce lived up to its name. Bright, fresh, and well balanced, this was a top notch sauce both out of the jar and on the grill. I can't imagine anything that wouldn't get a lift from a little Blue Ribbon—it would do equally well on ribs, chicken, seafoods, burgers, veggies, you name it.
As if this sauce wasn't "perfect" enough...I got two bottles in the mail to be able to give one away to you deserving Meatwavers! To enter to win this bottle of sauce, comment on this post with your top must-have item for a 4th of July cookout. Deadline for entries is 11:59pm on Tuesday July 8, 2014. Read the official rules for more details. One entry only per individual. Good luck!