Posted December 29, 2005 by Adam in Reviews

Review: JD’s South Philly Two-Fer

I think it appropriate to review both sauces at the same time because they are, in a way, a point and counterpoint to the strange idea of putting figs into a barbeque sauce. When I received the sauces, I was honestly intrigued by the idea of figs. Being a good southern boy, a do love figs like I should, especially the candied and jellied kind that goes well on toast.

JD’s South Philly Hot Sauces makes a line of barbeque and hot sauce products that feature figs in the ingredient list.

The first, and mildest of the sauces is JD’s South Philly Figgin’ Hot Grilling and Dipping Sauce. It is important to note at this point that Figgin’ Hot is not figgin’ hot, nor is it a barbeque sauce. In fact, I’m not really sure what it is.

Figgin’ Hot is a figgin’ sweet. It’s a very sweet sauce that might work well served atop a block of softened cream cheese with crackers. It might do well mixed into a fruit cake or added to some holiday cookie dough. This might actually taste good added to some salsa and spooned over roast chicken. I did partake of the “dippin'” part of the sauces claim, and I wasn’t really impressed.

The one thing that Figgin’ Hot does not work well at, is a barbeque sauce or grilling sauce. Ironic, isn’t it? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the Figgin’ Hot doesn’t have it’s place in the kitchen, I’m just saying that it won’t work well mopped over grilling meats, and it definitely cannot be a featured sauce. After tasting the Figgin’ hot on many different foods, I came away with any uneasy feeling, a confused feeling. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew there was something not right about it.

Figgin’ Hot’s cousin in the South Philly Family is the Xtreme XXX BBQ Sauce. The XXX sauce definitely ventures into the realm of hot where the Figgin’ was afraid to go. My mouth did have a little bit of a hum after eating this sauce. However, I’m not conviced that the XXX deserves its triple X name. Maybe, maybe not. In the scope of the sauces produced by JD’s South Philly, XXX is at the top of the list, but the heat doesn’t really deliever the amount of heat one might expect for the name triple X.

The taste is tangy and sweet, much like a regular barbeque sauce. The texture is not really barbeque-like, nor is the overall palette. This one could be classified in it’s own category called “tangy with a crunch.”

The crunch that I refer to is that tell-tale sign of fresh figs: the seeds. All fig lovers are aware of the seeds, so it’s no surprise. However, the crunch is not something that’s usually expected for a grilling sauce or barbeque sauce.

JD's Hot Dogs

I tried this one on grilled chicken and on some mammoth hot dogs. It tasted pretty good on the dogs and as a sauce for dipping french fries, but still something was sticking in my craw about the whole experience.

After waiting a while to make my judgments on these two sauces, it finally dawned on me what the confused feeling was that I had been feeling: the figs. I’m sorry to say that these sauces feature an ingredient that is their downfall. Figs just don’t have a place in barbeque sauce. I’m sorry, but it’s true. That unmistakably unique flavor that figs carry just doesn’t work well with barbeque or grilling sauce.

The general populace, myself included, expect a tangy and tart sauce that is very smooth. JD’s seems to buck this trend with it’s thick and lumpy sauces.

The Figgin’ Hot Grilling Sauce seems to have the most promise as a product, but the Xtreme XXX BBQ Sauce doesn’t really know what it wants to be. A barbeque sauce, a hot sauce, or a all purpose slather?

I can appreciate a sauce bottler to want to stray from the basics and make something original, but perhaps JD has gone a little too far out into space with the figs.

PO Box 54879
Phillidelphia, PA 19148
(215) 778-1890