Happy tuesday again people, it’s time for another little shot of Dragon’s Blood. But, instead of showing you my free sample jar, here’s what you’d get if you actually purchased today’s product:
A black and golden brown, scale patterned bottle that both strongly resembles the others in its line and uses the two main colours associated with its sauce type.
You see, this particular Dragon’s Blood is a barbecue sauce. A somewhat smoky, tomato-based sauce with a sweet, dark, molassesy flavour from cooked brown sugar. A sugar that’s represented in the browns and a dark, smokiness in the black of the background.
It is, of course, the range’s “Hot BBQ Sauce”, as stated within the equally brown flames near its base.
Why so low? Because the upper half of the label is reserved for the company logo and two colour Dragon’s Blood name we see across the whole range. The second of which takes centre stage in its slightly angled, neon all caps. Its S’s little tail hanging down over the last D and O to really emphasise the difference between the dragon’s’ green and the blood’s red.
It’s great packaging but it does have one big flaw. The word “hot”.
If the company website is to be believed, this isn’t a hot sauce. It’s a medium one.
Its chilli might be its first ingredient but it’s still only chipotle. It’s not a hotter blend like we saw in their green salsa and even that didn’t quite make it to “hot” status in my book.
But still, it could easily surprise me all the same so perhaps I should dig in.
Thick yet easily pourable, this sauce doesn’t have quite the sugary stickiness that I’ve seen in some barbecue types. I expect that it’ll still cling to meats but they might drip a little more than usual.
And, coupled with its reddy-brown colouration, I’m not expecting as much molasses to its taste, either.
What it does provide, however, is a dry, smoky flavour and fire across the middle of my tongue that does actually hit with a high
that is definitely on the low end of hot, not medium.
Chilli Pepper Pete have not skimped on the chipotle at all.
In fact, I’m wondering if the sauce’s redness is even from the tomato. The tomato is there but so too is some of the red jalapeño fruitiness, turned savoury by the smoke-drying process.
But, just as the tomato isn’t the only red element, nor are the red chipotle’s undertones the only source of fruitiness here. There are also some subtle purple berry notes from blackcurrant and cranberry juices that add a bit of extra body to the product’s already bold flavour.
It’s a somewhat different barbecue sauce, therefore, sacrificing some (but definitely not all) of its sweetness for extra heat, smoke and fruitiness, as well as some pleasant savoury notes.
It should still work with most meats but, since it needs a strong flavour to stand up to it, the milder ones may require mixing this sauce with sour cream, as Chilli Pepper Pete suggest doing to turn it into a baked potato topping. Yet, if you’re like me, you might find it actually makes a better topping with cream cheese as the base.
On its own, though, the sheer intensity of its rich, smoky flavour is going to make it ideal to use as a stir-in sauce for a con carne, or the vegan equivalent, and I can still see it being amazing on chicken wings, despite its tendency to overwhelm.
The only thing I don’t like about this sauce would be the bitterness I’m getting from its spice blend but, quite fortunately, that all but disappears once it’s on more than just a spoon.
I would definitely recommend it.