Napa Valley’s Finest BBQ Sauce
I began making Barbecue Sauce in my kitchen in the late 90’s. I was tired of the economical styles that were available at the grocery store. One weekend, my beautiful wife and I attended a barbecue, where the host opened a jar of inexpensive sauce. He added some chopped onion and garlic along with a few other ingredients, boasting this was his best BBQ Sauce! I thought to myself, “I can do better than that!” So, I set out to make the best tasting barbecue sauce I could from scratch.
Experimenting with numerous recipes, I made over 20 different varieties in the beginning. Along the way, I varied the recipes, using a variety of ingredients and measured amounts. I then provided samples to family and friends for feedback. They were more than happy to critique, as they received free homemade barbecue sauce! Using their feedback and trusting our taste buds, I finally came up with a style of sauce I liked — one where my first words upon tasting were,“ Yeah, it’s Good!” Hence, Perfect Spicy was born.
However, some of my family and friends wanted a sauce with less “kick” to it. Their taste buds didn’t agree with my spicy sauce. So, I tamed my 1st style and Sweet n’ Smokey became a favorite with the kids and those who were “spicy-challenged”.
As time went on, I craved another style of sauce with all the flavors and aromas of autumn — something that would really complement Slow Smoked Ribs and Pork Shoulder Roast. I developed the Apple Cider style, my 3rd flavor so far! It’s tangy apple flavor, with hints of cinnamon and clove, make it a favorite. Even the chickens are fans!
In 2006, I entered my sauces in the local fairs. I have won numerous 1st place blue ribbons and a couple of red 2nd place ribbons in the Napa County Fair. The Napa Town and Country Fair (which, by the way is larger than our Napa County Fair) awarded me Best of Division for four consecutive years. In 2008 and 2010, I entered the California State Fair, and won 1st place blue ribbons both years. This is the highest honor of achievement as of now.
Following the advice and encouragement of everyone who has enjoyed my barbecue sauces, I want to share with you their “deliciousness”, which I developed to complement the flavor of anything barbecued, grilled, or baked. They are not overpowering. They complement everything, including veggies! And, it’s not just for BBQ — you can use it in the oven, the crock pot, add it to your favorite chili, or any other recipe that needs a barbecue sauce flavor! And, as a lot of my friend’s children, use it as a dipping sauce for chicken nuggets. Even the big kids (like my wife and me), have enjoyed Steemin’ Freeman sauce this way!
Inspired from recipes developed in our Napa Valley kitchen, and now from our kitchen to yours. Enjoy!
Eric “Steemin” Freeman