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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Trader Joe's Mango Chipotle BBQ Sauce with a Hint of Salted Bourbon

"But they were on sale!!"


Normally, I like those words just fine. But they were a source of frustration when Sandy was trying to explain to me why she bought St Louis style ribs (read: with bones) as opposed to our usual boneless "ribs" she gets for me to grill.

I can grill wannabe porkchops easily enough. But ones with bones? That requires some skills and patience I don't have - hours of slow, indirect heat? Not when the fam is over expecting dinner any minute, and I just then realized what I was dealing with.

Solution: after charring and burning the outside of ribs while still looking raw in the middle, give up, throw on an extra pack of hot dogs, move ribs to top rack when done, reheat/cook more following night, and rely on Trader Joe's Mango Chipotle BBQ Sauce to salvage dinner. Oh, and with "a hint of salted bourbon." Good for the sauce, maybe, and good for me, definitely.

So, how'd it work?


Seems like it might be a classic case of trying to do too much. I mean, in theory, this sauce sounds fantastic. And in many ways, it's not bad at all, and kinda unique. But it's just so uneven overall. First hit of the sauce smacks sweet mango flavor full on, almost like candy. It's almost too cloyingly sugary, like a dessert type treat almost. Then, that sensation qiickly dissipates and dissolves before a big ol' spice wallop of smoky chipotle hits. Eating straight on (say, if dipped into by a fry or something) the heat seems more fierce, but it's weakened a little by being brushed onto meat and the like.

Both sides of that equation are palatable enough (I prefer the heat over the sweet myself) but there's nothing really bridging those two extremes. Nothing really tying them together. I could see the "hint of salted bourbon" being intended for that, but if it's there, it's not noticeable enough.

It's not a terrible sauce by any stretch, but it's not good/versatile/tasty enough to be used as an all-the-time barbecue condiment either. It'll take Sandy and me some effort and time to finish up the bottle we have - no one else here will touch it, for sure. I'm too ambivalent about it to give it any more than a 2.5, whereas Sandy enjoys it a bit more, so it'll go a little higher for her. Not gonna be ribbing her for that.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Mango Chipotle BBQ Sauce with a Hint of Salted Bourbon: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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