Recognizing that barbecue sauces are nationally regional in style and flavor, the savvy marketing folks at Kraft-Heinz partnered with five award-winning pitmasters to craft and launch four new flavors in its Pitmaster Collection. Perhaps you’ve seen the recent TV ad campaign, in which the skilled pitmasters play good ol’ boy roles.
Our panel put the four to the taste test. The clear winner was Kansas City Sweet & Smoky, with lip-smackin’ sweetness from molasses and brown sugar, and smoldering heat that blossoms at the finish.
A close second was Memphis Sweet & Spicy, equally sweet but with heat at the front end and a slight bite of tang at the finish.
Tying for third place were Carolina Vinegar Style Tangy, with white vinegar and apple cider vinegar making it too piquant for our taste; and Texas Bold & Spicy, which would have beat our the Carolina had it not been for the overdose of “lemon juice concentrate” that made it bitter.
Call us Californians or conformists, but our overall favorite was the Classic Sweet & Thick, which we tasted for the sake of comparison. It showed an ideal balance of sweet and surprising heat, and delivered a smooth finale with no trace of wayward aftertaste.
Find the Pitmaster Collection in supermarkets, $2.49 for 19.5 ounces.