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Review: Grumpy’s Private Reserve Black Label Bar-B-Que Sauce


Posted April 10, 2007 by

Grumpy's Private Reserve Black Label BBQ Sauce

Take a walk down the condiment isle of your local grocery store and you will likely find at least a dozen or more different brands of barbeque sauces. And that’s just different brands, not to mention the many different varieties of flavors each of those brands has to offer. So it goes without saying that the barbeque sauce industry is cluttered with an abundance of offerings and is thus fiercely competitive. But what is unfortunate about those sauces found on your local grocer’s shelves is that they mostly all taste the same and are of the same ilk. They are all the “plain vanilla” thick tomato-based variety that mostly taste like smoky ketchup. It’s a crap shoot when trying one for the first time, and as has been the case with me many times, mostly turn out to be a big disappointment.

So when a bottle of Grumpy’s Private Reserve Black Label Bar-B-Que sauce landed at my front door, I had mixed emotions. One side of me was really excited to taste it in hopes of finally finding that one BBQ sauce that stands out from the rest, and the other side of me just didn’t want to be let down and wreck another perfectly good slab of baby back ribs. I noticed the bottle was numbered, 26 of 550. I was intrigued that this was some sort of a limited edition sauce and decided to check their website for more information. Unfortunately I couldn’t find this particular sauce or any information about it on their site. I did however notice that their other three sauces are all award winners, so I was optimistic that this sauce would be the standout I’ve been looking for.

Grumpy’s Private Reserve Black Label Bar-B-Que sauce is thick and rich and has a really nice deep redish brown color with little flecks of black which I suspect are from the black pepper. The viscosity is near perfect. Not to thick and not to thin. It pours nicely from the bottle and sticks and slathers well onto meats on the grill. I too a big whiff and the aroma was a really nice mix of hickory, tomatoes, vinegar, peppers and a hint of mustard. It seemed to have a bit more going on than most other tomato based BBQ sauces and my first taste proved that to be right. A sweet and tangy tomato flavor is immediately followed up by the heat of the hot sauce and cayenne pepper. Not a ton of heat, just enough to warm your mouth. True chiliheads will probably find it a bit weak in this category, but it is perfect for the average consumer. The overall flavor is really good.

INGREDIENTS: Brown sugar, water, tomato paste (tomatoes), apple cider vinegar (diluted with water up to 5% acidity), hot sauce (peppers, vinegar, salt), liquid smoke (water, natural hickory smoke flavor, vinegar, molasses, caramel color), black pepper, cayenne pepper, spices, kosher salt, oriental hot mustard (mustard, turmeric).

Grumpy's Private Reserve Black Label BBQ Sauce
I decided to try Grumpy’s Private Reserve Black Label on pizza by using it in place of traditional tomato sauce. What I was aiming for was a recreation of California Pizza Kitchen’s BBQ chicken pizza. Grumpy’s was excellent in this application. Two nights later I gave it a shot on some baby back ribs and again on tri-tip. I can just imaging how great this stuff would be on a pulled pork sandwich. In each application that I used it on, the sauce worked beautifully. The brown sugar and molasses helped to form a nice glaze over the meats as they finished cooking and the rest of the sauce’s flavors held strong and didn’t take on any new characteristics from being heated.

Grumpy's Private Reserve Black Label BBQ Sauce
All in all, this is a really good traditional tomato based BBQ sauce. It’s got a wee bit of a kick to it in terms of heat, and packs a whole lot of attitude. It’s not quite the standout I’ve been looking for, but it is definitely one of my new favorites. Is it an award winner like the rest of the sauces in the Grumpy’s line? That’s for the judges to decide. But my prediction is that sauce will get high marks none the less.

Grumpy's Private Reserve Black Label BBQ Sauce

Grumpy’s Foods
5183 East 126th Court
Thornton, Colorado 80241





    Grumpy’s is an incredible BBQ sauce. The whole line-up is quite strong!


    Thats some nice looking homemade pizza there Gildo.

    Im hungry now!

    Someone else has perfected her pizza making skills, and would give you a run for your money though 😉


    I tried this in NM. It is really really good.


    [Comment ID #86094 Quote]

    Amen to that, each product is better than the other. Grumpy has managed to make some real bold, tasty sauces! GRUMPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    [Comment ID #86111 Quote]

    I forgot to mention, he is also one of the NICEST people you could meet.



    Gildo that pizza looks good! Now I want to go to CPK! Stupid pink eye!


    Agreed. Grumpy is the man! I took back several of his sauces!


    Thanks every one for the great words. BUT I got to let you know. The sauce that was reviewed was a batch of sauce that I made at Danny Cash’s kitchen. IT is TOTALLY different from the BLACK LABLE sauce I presented in Albuquerque. I think when Nick finally gets unpacked, he will find The True BLACK LABLE with HABANERO POWDER in it for a nice kick.
    And to the GIRLS at Three Hot Tamales. Who loves yah.


    [Comment ID #86149 Quote]

    GRUMPYYYYYYYYYYY !!! you are truely one of my most favorite people in the world… congrats on the review. I got my 5 year old hooked on the original, she calls it the “piggy” sauce.


    Grumpy’s sauces are all awesome. I’ve even been eating his NOT SO BOLD lately. The BOLD XX is one of the best most-versatile bbq sauces I use.


    [Comment ID #86149 Quote]

    AWWWW sappy moment. Thanks Grumpy, can’t wait for BBQ season to get kicked into gear so we have more food to slather your sauce on.


    Hey Danny good to here from you.We got toget together for a brew or two when I get back into town.
    And to all the fantastic folks at Three Hot Tamales.Again you’s guys are the best. And to every body else. I need to meet more of you so I know who the heck I’m talking to. I’d get on the blog more if I knew more.


    Hey every body please check out my new web site. All new. AND you can order all four flavors and gift certificates.


    [Comment ID #91586 Quote]

    What is your website??


    Great looking site Grumpy !!! Ahh those pics of NM, can’t wait till next year !


    [Comment ID #91589 Quote]

    Its http://www.grumpysbbq.com

    Gonna check it out now myself.


    Grumpy’s web site is: grumpysbbq.com


    [Comment ID #91600 Quote]

    Wow I didnt see that one coming. You truly are a man of mystery. lol


    Hi Kristi,
    At times I can be a smart ass.
    Hey hows it going for the 3HT’s these days?


    [Comment ID #91607 Quote]

    Going great Grumpy thanks for asking. The other two Tamalas are in CT this weekend to judge a Chili competition. I couldn’t go (da*n day job)lol, so they’ll be havin fun while I’m at work. Boo hoo for me…….

    Just so you know, I’m now a master pizza maker and will be trying your sauce on one of my homemade delights this weekend. YUM!

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