I wanted to try the last of my first bottle on some back ribs. There was a problem, I had two racks of ribs and only enough sauce left for one rack. I decided to do a head to head comparison with one of my favourite commercial sauces, Sweet Baby Ray’s. We were in for a rib off!
I did the ribs in my usual way. I took the silver skin off the back of the ribs, rubbed them down with my Basic Rub and put them in a 230 F smoker. I cooked them to an internal temperature of 185 F and then brushed them with the sauces. I cooked for another 40 minutes brushing with sauce after 20 minutes.
In case you want proof that mountain cooks are tougher, here is a picture of what I was cooking in.
I took the racks out.
The Koss Sauce are the top rack and the bottom rack is Sweet Baby Ray’s Sauce.
I cut the ribs up and served them.
The Koss Sauce ribs are on top and Sweet Baby Rays are on the bottom.
Both had a perfect bite through texture.
First, no one paid me or supplied me anything to write this review. I bought my own bottles of each sauce.
I couldn’t decide. Don’t hate me. Both were great in different ways and I would be proud to serve either. I will tell you the strengths of each to help you decide which you might like to buy.
First is appearance. You’ll note Sweet Baby Rays gives a deep red colour and Koss gives a more golden colour. I will say I prefer the colour of the Sweet Baby Rays. However, the Koss sauce makes a nice glaze on the ribs versus a stickier surface on the Sweet Baby Rays. both give you a finger licking finish but I find the Koss is a better glaze. Also, the Koss seems less likely to char. Appearance was a tie.
Second, do they affect the way the ribs cook? Not at all. Both didn’t colour or change the great rich texture of ribs.
Third and most important, is the taste. Sweet Baby Rays is popular because it slaps your tongue around with big sweet notes and an up front medium heat. You can’t miss it. Koss is subtler with a nice sweetness that glazes the ribs. The heat from the Koss is milder and hangs around with a great after taste.
When I ate the Sweet Baby Ray’s ribs I thought, this is a great barbecue sauce and I like these ribs. The sauce is the star and the great rib taste backs it up.
When I ate the Koss ribs I thought these are great ribs and I like the sauce. The ribs are the star and the sauce is like a symphony supporting it.
So, is a strong tasty sauce on ribs better than great ribs with a tasty sauce that complements them perfectly? I couldn’t decide. I asked She Who Must Be Obeyed which she preferred and she shrugged and reached out and took another of each rib. I kept eating rib after rib and I ran out before I could pick one. Note the sacrifices I make for you, my loyal readers.
I have now tried Koss Sauce on several dishes. I definitely prefer Koss Sauce over Sweet Baby Rays on pulled pork and I would call it a tie when cooking chicken. I like the Koss Sauce enough that I have ordered more. I love the complex flavour profile and it has one of the best mellow after taste and heat I have ever had.
I still love Sweet Baby Rays and will continue to buy it as I love the big bold taste.
My suggestion is buy both and switch it up. Whichever you serve, you will be happy!
The Old Fat Guy