Monday, October 22, 2012

Stubb's BBQ: Review and Giveaway

When C. B. Stubblefield established his legendary Stubbs Bar-B-Q in Texas I was just a babe.  I don't mean that I was "a babe" as in "new to the BBQ world".  I mean that I wearing diapers.  

His BBQ and blues joint's reputation grew.  In the early days, he was bottling his BBQ sauce in whiskey bottles corked with jalapenos.   Eventually, Dave Letterman got a hold of Stubbs BBQ sauce from a guest on his show and subsequently had Stubblefield as a guest himself.  You can imagine how demand took off from there.

I recently was given a chance to sample Stubb's BBQ products and I didn't know what to expect.  When I think of Texas barbecue, I think beef, old-school, and no nonsense.   I didn't expect much in the way of options so I was surprised when standing in the BBQ section at Kroger, there were sauces, marinades, and basting sauces.  I decided on getting the original BBQ sauce that started it all, Stubb's chicken marinade, and his baste.

To test them out, I smoked some chicken thighs for pulled chicken and a rack of beef back ribs.

Beef ribs on kamado grill, big green egg beef ribs

Stubb's Chicken Marinade
Straight out of the bottle, the marinade has a sweet and zesty kick with a citrus fragrance.  You could see it was full of herbs and spices.  I had big expectations for this.  I used it on 3 1/2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs as directed (as a marinade and baste).  No other seasonings were used.

See all of the herbs and spices?

I high temp smoked them at 325f with some mesquite chunks tossed in with the coal.  When the thighs hit an internal temperature of 180f, I removed them and shredded the meat with two forks.  I tossed that with Stubb's Original Bar-B-Q sauce and used that to make simple chicken sandwiches with some Ranchero Grillin' Beans.  

Pulled chicken sandwich and beans

Tasting the chicken before adding the BBQ sauce, it was good but I was a little disappointed that the powerful flavors of the marinade didn't seem to carry through to the chicken. It was present, just muted a bit.  Next time I would go for a marinade of 4-6 hours since I did the minimum recommended marinade time.  I think this would also be good on grilled chicken.  Once I added the BBQ sauce, it was good and had the tang I was missing.

Stubb's Moppin' Sauce Bar-B-Q Baste
We really liked this one. Straight out of the bottle, POW the pungency of this just assaults your mouth.  You can see it is vibrant and loaded with pepper, spices, and herbs.  It is very tangy.  There is something I can't quite place, maybe celery seed, that brought it all together for me. 

I only seasoned the beef ribs with salt and pepper and smoked them at the same time as the chicken.  I basted them three times during the 2 hours.  Since they were higher up in the grill on the raised rack, they were probably cooking closed to 350f. 

Beef ribs, Stubbs bbq sauce, Vision grill, Grill Dome beef ribs

The color was almost gaudy because it is so red and it went on thicker than I expected.  After the first mop, I was afraid it might even burn.  No worries, it cooked on flawlessly with the deep rich brown you expect from beef.  

Beef ribs smoked on Big Green Egg

Without the Stubbs Bar-B-Q sauce added yet, these were freaking fantastic.  Delightfully tangy and spicy, they made my mouth water.  Alexis said they were some of the best we have done lately.  I will absolutely be using this Bar-B-Q Baste again for beef ribs, brisket, or clod.  It says you can use it for chicken or pork too but it is so strong, I'd be tempted to thin it down a little with some beer.  

Stubb's Original Bar-B-Q Sauce
This leans more towards the old school sauces - tomato, vinegar, black pepper and little else.  It is meant to compliment the meat, not hide it.   Straight out of the bottle, it's kind of "meh".  It doesn't load you up with sugars or hammer you with a signature note like chipotle, roasted garlic, or honey.  It wasn't bad but we weren't crazy about it either.  I wasn't expecting much.

Stubbs bbq sauce beef ribs

Here is a direct quote from my notes yesterday:  "Put some of the sauce on and it was crazy good, making me salivate.  Combined very well with the baste flavors".  I was very surprised how it really enhanced the ribs that I already thought were great.  It was one of those 1+1=more than 2 things.  
Now the fun part.  Stubb's BBQ gave me some Sutbb's BBQ love to share.  They gave me a set of 3 coupons for free products to give to one lucky reader. 

Just leave a comment below telling which three Stubb's BBQ products [click for link] you might try if you win. 

The giveaway runs through Friday 11:59pm 10/26.

Winner Announcement:  
The random draw winner was the following post:
Ohhhh Stubbs! I'd try the original sauce (gotta try what started it all!) Sweet Heat and the chicken marinade.Mmmmmm...

Thank you for offering this chance to win some Stubbs!!!!!