A great sauce should be flavorful and versatile. It shouldn’t overwhelm food and cloy one’s tastebuds. It should also have the complexity from the combination of natural ingredients to make food standout.
Old Kentucky Barbecue Sauce (OKB) does just that. At first taste, it's mildly sweet and tangy. With much less sugar than typical BBQ sauces, you’ll experience more than just sweetness. The fresh citrus comes from orange and lemon juices. After that, the old world spices kick in with black pepper, cinnamon, ginger and tamarind for a spicy warming sensation with a touch of sourness. It finishes with a balanced heat from chili powder and habanero mash.
Because of the range of ingredients, OKB can be used on almost anything to elevate flavor. Perfect for grilling meats and fish of all sorts, OKB also complements vegetables, salads, stir-fries (due to the ginger and tamarind), and even appetizers as a dipping sauce. It's great over pineapple slices and mixologists use it in Bloody Mary cocktails.
Few sauces have this range of uses and you won’t feel worse for using it. For every two tablespoons, there are only 10 calories and 2 grams of sugar. There’s also only 60 mg of salt. Compare those nutrition facts to other leading brands in your local grocery store or natural food markets, and you’ll be fairly impressed. Condiments in general can add up to 200 mg of sodium and over 20 g of sugar per serving. Not so with OKB that allows real ingredients to shine through.
OKB has zero fat, zero cholesterol, is vegan, gluten free, soy free, and contains no high fructose corn syrup which you'll find in typical sauces. Several BBQ sauces also use anchovies to achieve that savory element, but OKB is fish sauce free as well.
OKB didn’t come to be overnight, however. This recipe is 175 years old with deep roots in Americana. Created in the hills and hollers of northern Kentucky by Bowe’s Bar-B-Q in the early 1800’s, the recipe was a closely guarded secret. Bowe's was a regular stop on the Pony Express and known throughout the region as the ‘greatest BBQ in the south’.
The family that owns this incredible recipe today was, back then, a key supplier of milk, cheese and whiskey to the community, including Bowe's Bar-B-Q. Bowe's, unable to keep up with the bills when the rate of travelers through the region slowed, offered the recipe in lieu of their debts. Their only ask was that the sauce be kept from commercialization for 80 years. The family held that promise and the recipe remains with them to this day.