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Help Identify BBQ Sauce Type - Harold's BBQ

Preacher Man

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This might be a complete shot in the dark. But I feel like if I'm going to find out the answer to this question, this is place to get it.

Maybe some of you at some point in your life had the privilege to venture through Abilene, TX and eat at Harold's BBQ. I went to college there, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite of Q that ever entered my mouth there. Sadly, Harold had a stroke and refused to pass down his secrets. He died a few years back, and took his secrets with him.

His BBQ sauce was like no other sauce I've ever tasted. It wasn't vinegar based, but it wasn't thick and sweet either. He would dip the buns in it before throwing on some chopped brisket for his Q-Sandwich and the buns wouldn't get soggy by doing it ("drown-ded" he called it). The best I can remember, it had a strong taste of chili powder in it. Here's a picture of what it looks like in the bottle.
Harold's Sauce.jpg

The closest I've seen to what it looks like is Franklin's espresso sauce. I remember Harold's having that somewhat grainy texture to it. However, it looks way thicker than Harold's, and Harold's didn't have any taste of coffee whatsoever (at least that I remember).
Franklin Sauce.jpg

Does anybody out there know what kind of sauce Harold was making? Or maybe even know how to make something like it? Or have any advice they can give me at all? I'll take anything!
 

SonnyE

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Sorry, never heard of it.
Does the bottle have the ingredients on it?

The thought here is to reverse engineer it.
 

KrisUpInSmoke

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For the grainy texture, was it peppery tasting? Maybe large grind pepper. Also, how about considering whole grain mustard?

The graininess could be a result of the cooking process. The spices might not have broken down or might have been added closer to the end of the cooking, if it was cooked at all. Or, maybe there was a large amount of spices, too much to dissolve into a lesser amount of liquid.
 

SonnyE

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OK then, there is only one thing to do: Develop your own Signature Bar-B-Que Sauce. ;)
I did that over several years and at the cost of many piggies donating their ribs (and lives) to the final outcome.

I decided to take the things I loved to taste on my BBQ Baby Back Ribs, and combine them so I could simply shake them onto the ribs. Worked great, and after some minor adjustments, I had a winning rub. I named it Sonny's Secret Seasonings.
But we wanted more... So the rub got incorporated into my sauce.
Which is a base of Sweet Baby Ray's (1 bottle) and my rub ingredients mixed in, then re-bottle the sauce back in the original bottle. That is ready for use right away, but I like to let it set for at least an hour or more to let the granulated garlic and other seasonings marry in the bottle.
But those things like the granulated garlic give up their flavor, yet add a texture that just blooms in the mouth.

So God Bless Harold for his leaving such a strong memory to be remembered by.
But take heart, you got to love it and have that goal to work towards.
But I bet you a dollar to a donut, you will develop your very own fantastic taste folks will grow to love.

I do feel I should warn you though...
I've become infamous for my ribs in the family. When I got my new MES 30 smoker, I naturally wanted to add some smoky goodness to my rib-fests.
I got told in no uncertain terms: "Do NOT fool with the rib recipe!"
So Preacher Man, develop your own rub and sauce, but watch out for the pitfalls of doing so.
You might find your hands tied, and your only time to experiment is between feeds.

I, and my taste-tester buddy in my Avatar, love 3, 2, 1 Ribs from the MES. But Mama has to be out of town for me to be able to do a rack that way.
She's booked to go visit the cousin and new baby girl, and Families in Hawaii in early December for a week. And Grandpa's got 3 racks in the freezer... :rolleyes:o_O
There is an outline of my rub/sauce seasoning in the above link if you'd like to mix up a taste batch. I generally work out to a 1 to 1 ratio of each. (1 TBS, for example.) I did sneak some cyan in. But I got told it was too hot.
But about 1 tsp works well. Or none is fine, too.
For test batches, 1/4 tsp measuring's would work fine. Unlike Harold, I'm glad to share and help if I can. ;)
 

zwiller

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If this is one of the "thin style" sauces I think they are using drippings from the smoker as a base. Can't help much more than that. A few TX guys here swear by Rudy's and it's available online. I am big believer that good BBQ don't need sauce.
 

indaswamp

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I can't help out on a recipe, but I can point you in the right direction for consistency...use carrot fiber. It will tighten up a sauce like what you describe....

Also, if you can get a photo of the ingredients list off the bottle, it might help.
 

SonnyE

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I'd try yours. Would you be open minded enough to try mine? :emoji_pig_nose:
 

zwiller

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Not saying sauce is bad thing per se, but my point is it don't make up for poorly smoked meat. You have Franklin's book? Must own to me. His espresso sauce is interesting. The recipe is like beef jerky marinade. Also includes drippings...
 

SonnyE

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Not saying sauce is bad thing per se, but my point is it don't make up for poorly smoked meat. You have Franklin's book? Must own to me. His espresso sauce is interesting. The recipe is like beef jerky marinade. Also includes drippings...
Um, no, don't have the book.
I have Smoking Meat Forums. Ain't no book as good as this. Nowhere.
Agreed, Sometimes Bad is Bad...

Burned popcorn is BURNED, and nothing will make it taste good.
So Butter, Sauce, or Parmesan cheese, will never recover it.
If it's poop, call it poop. But I still like what Dad called Chit on a Shingle.
My point was if you can't find it, build it.
Because, after-all, this was about Sauce. ;)

I don't like adding sauce in the way most do. A1 has been tasted, but never graced my plate.
I want my stuff cooked on. Maybe that fine point was missed? ;)
Harold's Sauce was a dressing on the bun. Added taste, like Mayonnaise, Mustard, or Relish can.
It would be my hope Preacher Man can find a way to get back to that fine taste he loved.
But the only way I see, is since Harold chose to take it with him, is to build anew.

Preacher Man has inspired me. I have a package of my Pulled Pork in the fridge. I like as it is.
But I'd like to open some, try spreading some of my own sauce on a Kaiser roll, and sink my teeth in it.
If it doesn't taste good, it's ok, I'll choke it down, then not do it again.
But not likely that'll happen.

I'd like to see Preacher Man build the taste he loved, than bring it to the fold to share.
And that is the taste of Smoking Meat Forums. ;)
I'll encourage, I'll help, Please join me! :)
 

Preacher Man

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If this is one of the "thin style" sauces I think they are using drippings from the smoker as a base.
It was definitely of the thinner style. He always had it over to the side in a crock pot so that you could ladle as much as you wanted all over your plate, and most people put it in a ramekin because it ran so thin.

You might be on to something with these smoker drippings...
 

BCal

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It was definitely of the thinner style. He always had it over to the side in a crock pot so that you could ladle as much as you wanted all over your plate, and most people put it in a ramekin because it ran so thin.

You might be on to something with these smoker drippings...
Harold told me a bit about the sauce a couple times. He was a great friend! I do not know the full receipe, but I do know there were meat drippings. He also told me the what really made the flavor is that he added bourbon to the sauce. Judging by the taste there was some sort of sweetener in there as well.

I hope this helps a little! I miss that guy!
 

oldeskooldave

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I too have been unable to find anything like this sauce in the years since Harold's passing. I hear what you are all saying in regards to good BBQ not needing sauce, but this sauce is unlike any other. And, I used it primarily on the hot water cornbread (hush puppies) anyway.

I stumbled across a review of Harold's written by someone with a more refined palette than myself (one of these traveling food critic types) that mentioned molasses. Could be brown sugar I suppose.

That is an interesting tip about the bourbon.

I always thought it was odd that he had super cheap coffee on the menu since the place was only ever open from 10-2. Wondered if it was just because he used a little in the sauce and figured he might as well sell it.
 

bigred77

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I know I'm bumping an old thread, but I miss Harold's too
I not only wish I could have some of that sauce, but I wish I could duplicate that hot relish he made
 

zwiller

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Looks like his niece has taken over:
https://www.facebook.com/mommasally16/

Maybe we can find a member near Abilene to run a COOP for it. I did one for piemento jerk pellets that were $100 bag. If we find a member that can buy it we do an interest post. After that we Paypal him for it and shipping etc. Apparently 2 version are made but the "Damn Hot" is the most popular. They sell the relish too and I'd be down for that. I am in for 2 QTS sauce and 1 relish.
 

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