The number one product we receive over the transom (unsolicited) is barbecue sauce. We get so much, that we joke that aliens from another planet who happen into THE NIBBLE offices would think that earthlings live on barbecue sauce.
On a less jocular note, most of the barbecue sauces sent to us are simplistic recipes of what we pejoratively call “meat sugar”: ketchup (there’s already plenty of it in the ketchup), more sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and some onion and garlic powder that aren’t strong enough to cut through the sweetness.
Every now and then, we receive a barbecue sauce that we enjoy. It has complex flavors and a smaller dose of sweeteners.
So it was a good day when a box of samples from Le Pan’s arrived.
All natural La Pan barbecue sauces have more layering of flavors than we’ve seen just about anywhere.
Spicy and regular barbecue sauces hit the spot. Photo courtesy La Pan’s.
Prior to developing his own line, Jon La Pan of Ladera Ranch, California was a foodie who liked to tinker with recipes to turn them into his vision of perfection. When he started to make barbecue sauce, his goal was “…to help anyone…turn a $5 piece of meat into a $50 steak.”
As tasty as the sauces may be, they won’t tenderize a $5 flank steak into anything resembling a $50 strip steak; but the sauces will taste good on just about anything.
Enjoy them with meat, poultry, hearty fish or tofu. Jon Le Pan uses them as a bread dipper, too. We prefer them with fries, instead of ketchup.
Foundation Gourmet BBQ Sauce
The first four ingredients in this barbecue sauce, are common to many recipes: water, tomato paste, sugar and brown sugar, along with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper and vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce and yellow mustard. More complex sauces add ingredients such as apple cider vinegar, molasses and natural smoke flavor. Spicy versions add cayenne pepper, chipotle and other chiles and hot pepper sauce,
But La Pan’s further layers on celery salt, cinnamon, coffee, cumin, honey, lemon juice concentrate, maple syrup, oregano, turmeric, and and raspberry juice concentrate.
That’s a lot of measuring, but the result is worth it.
Fiery Fusion BBQ Sauce
An excellent balance of fruit and medium heat, this sauce makes things interesting with the addition of apricot, mango, pineapple and habanero. Many spicy sauces just ratchet up the spice level on the basic sauce.
Don’t choose: try both. A 16-ounce bottle is $8.00 at LaPans.com.
The company also makes seasoning and Bloody Mary mix.
Find more of our favorite barbecue sauces.