Friday, April 26, 2013

Spicy Mustard Chicken Salad and Product Review: The Shed BBQ sauces

We are starting to have some absolutely gorgeous Spring days here in East Tennessee.  Mild temperatures and sunny skies have the wildlife busy and everything is blooming.  

When Spring is at its peak, I often crave egg salad sandwiches and chicken salad sandwiches.   Anyway, I thought I'd put a spin on my usual smoked chicken salad just for something different.  I added some mustard based BBQ sauce to the wet ingredients and it turned out great. 

This past weekend it was Chicken Central at my house.  I smoked two chickens and then slow roasted a spatchcocked chicken and a beer can chicken.   We cooked it to have for lunches and dinners during the week and also froze several packages of it for future use on a night when we need something quick. 

The smoked birds coming in off the Big Green Egg.

Using smoked chicken for your favorite chicken salad recipe makes it an order of magnitude better, I swear.  But if you don't have a smoked bird, you can always just use a rotisserie chicken.   Here's the recipe that I used.  Try to follow along, it is VERY complicated with a lot of steps (sarcasm). 

Spicy Mustard Chicken Salad

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: none

Ingredients (2 cups)
  • 2 cups smoked chicken, cubed
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced roasted red pepper
  • 1/4 cup The Shed Spicy Mustard BBQ Sauce
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp general purpose BBQ rub
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you get your desired consistency.
  2. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if desired.

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How do you like to eat your chicken salad?  Some people like it staight up on a leaf of lettuce.  Others like to eat it on crackers.  My preferred "chicken salad delivery system" is a croissant roll with a little lettuce and tomato

The Shed BBQ and Blues Joint Hits Retail
I first mentioned The Shed when I posted the recipe for The Tater Patch after a "near-incident" at the Kingsford Invitational.  At the time, they were gearing up to sell their sauces and marinades in retail stores and now that has launched. 

About The Shed
The brother and sister team of Brad Orrison and Brooke Orrison-Lewis founded The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint over a decade ago.  Since then they have built a reputation for their unique blend of flavorful BBQ and ground shaking blues.  The Shed has expanded with new locations (Gulfport, MS and Mobile, AL) and has been featured on numerous food and travel shows.  If you have seen those shows and wondered if Brad is really that zany as he appears on TV, I can attest, YES.  Brad is wild but in a cool way.

About the Sauces
Brad and his daddio, Craig, told me they had wanted to get their sauces in retail stores for a long time but only if they could do it their way.  They wanted the sauce on the shelves to be the real thing, not some chemical concoction formulated to taste like their BBQ sauce.  Their sauce needed to be JUNK FREE.  What's that?  According to Brad, "If you can't pronounce it or read it without the help of a scientist, don't expect to find it on our list of ingredients."  

I received the following products for free from them to try
  • Spicy Southern Sweet Sauce
  • Spicy Mustard Sauce
  • Beef Blaster Marinade
Unfortunately, the UPS man had his way with the package and the only thing the Beef Blaster got to marinade was the other two bottles and a box full of styrofoam peanuts.  Smelled good though.  

Spicy Southern Sweet BBQ Sauce
Aromaa deep, sweet aroma with tones of molasses and smoke.  Does have "natural smoke flavoring"
Appearance:  dark mahogany, visible specks of red and black spices throughout
Texture:  moderately thick body, smooth consistency
Taste:  smoky and sweet with a nice transition to a tingle of heat at the end
In Use:  I smoked a couple of butts and used it as a finishing sauce, tried it on some leftover ribs, and cut it with beer/vinegar to use as a chicken mop.  
Between "very good" and "excellent".  For me it is just the right blend of sweet and spicy, where average palates will find it to have a good kick.  Chile heads with think it is mild, the habanero isn't super strong.  I noticed straight and on food that this sauce carries over from sweet to heat quite smoothly.  The liquid smoke flavor is there but not harshly like some. 
Price/Availability$3.99 suggest retail  (see below for availability)

Spicy Mustard BBQ Sauce
Aromamild mustard aroma first then vinegar and sweet.  Oddly it has smoke flavoring on the label but I didn't smell it
Appearance:  darker than average mustard bbq sauces
Texture:  moderately thick body, slightly chunky consistency with what appears to be bits of onion & chile seed or two
Taste:  reverse of how the aroma presented, first I tasted sweet, then the tang, followed by a mild mustard
In Use:  Tried it on pulled pork, smoked chicken, the chicken salad, and cut with beer as a grilling sauce
Very goodThey must use a mild mustardThe sauce is less sweet than Blues Hog mustard sauce but it also has much less of the astringent notes of mustard.  It comes across as very balanced and I think it will appeal to people who have not liked mustard based sauces in the past.  I prefer my recipe for mustard bbq sauce but in all fairness, it has moonshine in it.  I'd definitely buy this at the store. 
Price/Availability$3.99 suggest retail  (see below for availability)
Spicy Sweet on top, Spicy Mustard on bottom

Current retailers include Albrecht's Delafield Market (WI), Winn Dixie (FL, GA, MS, AL), BiLo (SC, NC), Farm Fresh (VA), Rouses (LA, MS), Shoppers Food (VA, MD, DC), Shop Rite (NY, NJ, PA), Jewel Food (IL), Central Market (TX), Nash Finch (MN), Kowalskis (MN), Jungle Jims (OH), Acme Grocers (OH), Shop & Save (MO), Food Giant (MO), Buschs (MI), Safeway (CA, WA, OR, TX, CO, MD, IL, PA), Strack & Van Tils (IL, IN), and Belles (AL, GA).
Sadly no retailers are carrying it in Tennessee yet so I'll still have to order online in the mean time.

Update:  Speaking of The Shed, I heard a rumor this morning from Patio Daddio this morning that Food Network is having a new show coming in August or September that will follow the challenges and antics of the Orrison gang running The Shed.   That will be entertaining.