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Review Mon Sep 15 2008

One Sauce to Rule Them All?

Sauces are the cornerstone of my culinary experience, both at home and when eating out. I appreciate a good sauce when I come across it, savoring it, letting it do its job while at the same time, I'm trying to figure out what it's made of.

In my fridge, the door shelves are stacked with sauces of all kinds. Hot sauces, Asian cooking sauces, dressings, bases, you name it, I'll have it.

Recently, two bottles of Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce found their way to me. I'd never heard of it before though the bottle looked familiar. I'm sure, nestled amongst the dozens of bottles that line grocery shelves, this sauce sat, incognito, its more flashy and designed bottles shouting for my attention instead.

I'm sizing the sauce up, bottle first. The sauce is apparently "All Natural," so that piqued my interest. Nope, no high fructose corn syrup found in the ingredient list here. They say it's good on all sorts of meats and even fries. Its applications run the gamut — grill, cook, marinate or dip!

Let's test it shall we? I happened to have received the two bottles while at Moody's Pub, during a GB Get Together in fact, so we group tested the bottle of sauce with fries and on burgers (for those who had them). I was skeptical, expecting an A1-esque sauce, which I'm just not fond of. We were all proven wrong -- if proven wrong means a haggle of people fighting for the bottle for more sauce for their fries of burgers. Yes, the sauce was popular.

How does it taste? I finger-tested it before committing to it as the dipping sauce of choice for my fries that night, and I was happy to find that it wasn't A1-like at all but a combination of the spiciness and kick of Worcestershire melded with the smokiness of a good BBQ sauce. As a fan of both of the aforementioned sauces, it was a winner in my book. The sauce is runnier than you might expect. It's the consistency of what you'd expect if you did put Worcestershire and a BBQ sauce together. Thick enough to coat but not clump in a pile like a thicker sauce would.

Since then, I've put the sauce through its paces. I've marinated and grilled, sauteed with fish and vegetables (cut with other sauces), added just a bit here and there or used it as a base. It works particularly well as a marinade; I grilled some tofu steaks with the sauce as the marinade and it came out beautifully. With fish, a little goes a long way, but it gives a good strong flavored fish like salmon some smokiness and kick when cut with some butter and herbs.

Fries and, in particular, sweet potato fries are a perfect match.

Country Bob's was originally made by Bob Edson in 1968, so this sauce has been around a good while, having hit major distribution in 1982. The company is local — the corporate office is in Centralia, Illinois.

An interesting aspect to Country Bob's, sauce-unrelated, is their CEO. "Christ is our CEO." To some that might be a turn-off, but don't let that sort of thinking hold you back from some mighty tasty stuff that may indeed have been made with a touch of divinity.

And showing good faith, you can even try this sauce for free.

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Audrae Erickson / September 18, 2008 12:45 PM

High fructose corn syrup may have a complicated-sounding name, but it's actually a simple sweetener, made from corn, that is nutritionally the same as sugar.

High fructose corn syrup is not sweeter than sugar; and high fructose corn syrup, sugar and honey all contain the same number of calories (four calories per gram).

Like table sugar and honey, high fructose corn syrup contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients or color additives.

Consumers can see the latest research and learn more about high fructose corn syrup at and

Audrae Erickson
Corn Refiners Association

Brad / September 19, 2008 4:32 PM

Audrae you forgot to point out that high fructose corn syrup causes delusions in the people who do the refining...

I also once heard about a kid and his grandfather who drank soda full of high fructose corn syrup and almost floated into an exhaust fan, good thing they figured out how to burp their way down...

Anyway just because something is naturally occurring or is made from something that occurs in nature doesn't make it okay to eat, oil occurs naturally and you can make glue from horses and lard from pigs but you shouldn't necessarily eat any of those even in moderation...

If marketing is the curse for being unremarkable, I can only imagine the type of product you have to run a spin campaign for.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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