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Help Identify BBQ Sauce Type - Harold's BBQ

bigred77

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Joined Feb 14, 2015
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.
Well. Now I need an excuse to drive rhe 4 hours to Abilene
 

CheapSmoker

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Looks like she sells the sauce by bottle and case. We just need some people with refined taste buds to breakdown the flavors. Maybe I can get a bottle im pretty good at replicating dishes, never tried bbq sauce though
 

smokestakk

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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.
View attachment 380451

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).
View attachment 380452

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!
Hey Preacher Man!
I joined this forum just to give some information on the hidden legend of Harold's and his famous sauce.

I grew up in Abilene, and Harold's is quite literally a place out of time, and nothing like it will ever exist again. The building is half underground in one of the poorest areas of town, and far too small to serve the daily line around the corner, but Harold served every customer himself every day. When the lunch line was served, Harold would come out with trimmings and give them away to whoever he felt needed another serving of this iconic meat. After that, the most amazing thing would happen. Harold, a VERY large, barrel chested black man, with the most beautiful DEEP voice, would then treat the entire dining area to old gospel songs with a voice that would genuinely shake you to your core with it's depth and vibration. He did this every day until his health no longer allowed him to. Every day the line was out the door, and you never heard one complaint about it. Snow's BBQ might be the closest experience to Harold's that you can find these days, but it still doesn't do Harold justice to relate it to anyone else's BBQ joint. It is absolutely worth your time to read all you can find on this historic gem, hidden in the middle of a city almost no one stops in when traveling I-20.

THE SAUCE!

Preacher Man, I hope you have made progress on your journey for Harold's sauce....but if not, I can share a little known secret with you. I do not have the whole story, rather, I have heard several stories about the origination of a sauce called Abilene BBQ Sauce. Some say his sons decided to make it/sell the recipe to a company to keep the flavor alive. The Harold's bottle you posted is of course the original, and cannot be found anymore. HOWEVER, downtown, in a little knick-knack store, and on some local store shelves you will find Abilene BBQ Sauce......and this sauce is as close to, if not exactly the Harold's recipe....AND the ingredients are listed on the bottle.

Here is a picture of the sauce, and I'm sure it can be purchased online at this point, as it has been around for many years now. It's not uncommon for friends and family to send this sauce to Abilenians who have moved out of town, state, or even country. I hope this helps you bring back the flavor that you found at Harold's. Those of us who had the chance to experience Harold's have something special to hold onto in this world that will never be seen again. I hope you got to hear him belt out his amazing voice in song when you went. He was a very special man, who served each customer himself because he thought it was important to do so, and he enjoyed seeing each and every face each and every day.
abilenebbq.jpg

I have not had a bottle in a few years, so I hope all is right with the sauce as it was when it was released! Good Luck! You are a lucky man to have found Harold's.

I did come across a place to buy it, and it does hint at the legendary source of the flavor on the site.
abilenebbq1.JPG
 
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bigred77

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I've sent this to every one of my ACU buddies who I am still in touch with so far 4 of them have also ordered bottles (one ordered 10)
And 3 more who live in or near Abilene said they are headed there too to get some

That little shop is gunna be surprised when they open their online orders in the morning
 

smokestakk

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Joined Apr 18, 2021
I've sent this to every one of my ACU buddies who I am still in touch with so far 4 of them have also ordered bottles (one ordered 10)
And 3 more who live in or near Abilene said they are headed there too to get some

That little shop is gunna be surprised when they open their online orders in the morning
That's awesome! I'm sure if we keep buying it, they'll keep making it. The nostalgia runs deep...haha, if you didn't notice already from my post!
 

Preacher Man

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S smokestakk out here doing God's work! I can't thank you enough for this. I just ordered 10 bottles this morning. I've actually been in this store several times (pretty much every time I visit back in Texas) and I've never seen anything like this in there.

I don't want to get too excited since the description makes it sound like somebody did what we're all trying to do and this isn't the original Harold's Sauce. Even still, I'ma do my best to start replicating this. The ingredient list is stuff I NEVER would've thought to try. Tamarind? Anchovies? Pomegranate? What!?

In the past few months I've come across the Kentucky Black Dip and I'm starting to wonder if Harold adapted that to make his own Abilene Dip.
 
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Preacher Man

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Joined Sep 28, 2018
Looks like she sells the sauce by bottle and case. We just need some people with refined taste buds to breakdown the flavors. Maybe I can get a bottle im pretty good at replicating dishes, never tried bbq sauce though
Any chance you can get your hands on a few bottles and I can get you to ship me one? I'd compensate you for the cost and your time.

I've sent this to every one of my ACU buddies who I am still in touch with so far 4 of them have also ordered bottles (one ordered 10)
And 3 more who live in or near Abilene said they are headed there too to get some
I'd be interested to get their feedback on whether or not it's close to what they remember.
 

smokestakk

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Joined Apr 18, 2021
S smokestakk out here doing God's work! I can't thank you enough for this. I just ordered 10 bottles this morning. I've actually been in this store several times (pretty much every time I visit back in Texas) and I've never seen anything like this in there.

I don't want to get too excited since the description makes it sound like somebody did what we're all trying to do and this isn't the original Harold's Sauce. Even still, I'ma do my best to start replicating this. The ingredient list is stuff I NEVER would've thought to try. Tamarind? Anchovies? Pomegranate? What!?

In the past few months I've come across the Kentucky Black Dip and I'm starting to wonder if Harold adapted that to make his own Abilene Dip.
Unless something has significantly changed about it.....it's the real deal....they just can't call it Harold's. I think you will be very pleased.

Yes, the ingredients......how could you ever replicate that without someone tipping you off to some of those ingredients! Same here, never would have guessed about a third of those ingredients. I remember when it first came out, and everyone was giving them away for christmas and just because....it was a little moment where you had someone try it without telling them...then the big reveal....we all just called it Harold's sauce! Hope you enjoy it!

I am headed that way in May. It may be possible to pick some up for anyone who might be, for whatever reason, unable to order it. Just let me know, and being the new guy, I'll be happy to send the sauce then receive payment back once the sauce has made it to you.
 
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bigred77

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Isn't it though?

It's a tad sweeter than what I remember, but then again that was 12 years ago. Consistency is spot on. I gotta pull out some leftover brisket and make a "drownded" brisket sammich.
It's hard for me to remember too. But it sure is reminiscent

I pulled a pork butt out of the freezer to smoke this weekend and try it on some pulled pork
 

smokestakk

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Isn't it though?

It's a tad sweeter than what I remember, but then again that was 12 years ago. Consistency is spot on. I gotta pull out some leftover brisket and make a "drownded" brisket sammich.
You know, every now and again I think about Harolds and peruse the web for new posts and articles on the place or the man....funny how things work out. Really glad yall enjoy it! Now I'm all giddy about getting down to Abilene and hitting the Trade store!! Smoke em if ya got em fellas! Meats that is.
 

bigred77

Meat Mopper
177
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Joined Feb 14, 2015
You know, every now and again I think about Harolds and peruse the web for new posts and articles on the place or the man....funny how things work out. Really glad yall enjoy it! Now I'm all giddy about getting down to Abilene and hitting the Trade store!! Smoke em if ya got em fellas! Meats that is.

Mail order is available

I have family in Abilene and couldn't wait, had to get it shipped ASAP
 

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