The Purple and the Brown Label were the only two sauces I had yet to try (aside from the Year of the Dog...) until I had sampled the entire line from Luck Dog; both most certainly didn't disappoint and stand proud alongside all the other awesome Lucky Dog sauces!
I’d classify this as the mildest of the sauces from Lucky Dog; not mild on flavor however! The singular jalapeno’s being used definitely shines with their characteristic fresh and zippy notes. This sauce pairs perfectly with pork for sure, apples being traditional accompaniments with pork and the complementary sweetness of the fruit and with pork being a particularly ‘sweet’ meat, the pairing equals a perfect match! With the backdrop of hickory notes from the smoked salt, this sauce really could go on almost anything that you might want to add a wonderful blend of both smoky flavors and sweetness to. The texture of the Purple Label is precisely that of the apple sauce used as an ingredient, not like a traditional 'free-flowing' hot sauce… I like it! It has real substance and most definitely sticks around and stays put on whatever you may apply it too.
Based on the temperature of the food and how strongly flavored whatever it is you may be using it on, I find the hickory becomes more or less apparent. The smokiness really comes through after the initial sweet notes from the apple sauce and figs diminish. I really liked how the acidity from the apple most wonderfully masks any bite from the vinegar, which to me is always a good thing! (I only like vinegar in specifically vinegar based sauces like the traditional ‘Louisiana Style’ sauces.)
This sauce would be perfect as an introductory sauce for a non-chilehead, or when cooking for friends, family, co-workers, etc. where great flavors are desired but without the risk of burning people too much. I’m going to have lots of fun trying this on all sorts of things!
(The Purple Label was great with this pork, butternut squash, yellow corn and barley burrito. I didn’t toast the tortilla any this time… just left it ‘standard’ style. Last time I toasted tortillas, I was much distracted and burnt one and filled everything with smoke and the complimentary acrid burnt stench that is just sooo nice! Lol! (think it may have even caught fire for a few seconds, so I’m a bit sketchy about that for now!) I threw in some red roccoto’s and an aji amarillo for some added heat and more sweet! Cast iron roasted plantains in coconut oil are always awesome, the Purple Label was a unique topping for that (without the hickory, it would have been better I’d think. Now grilled plantains or even deep fried might be better with the hickory notes complementing!) Lots of fun trying out what works!
I’m a huge lover of all things mustard! It was trying out any new mustard I could find that I was always on the lookout for before I ever even discovered the world of sauces outside of those most commercially available at your average grocery store - so any time I see mustard and hot sauce together, I’m most eager to try! I also love all things chipotle - that being before the entire ‘Chipotle Craze’ from several years ago (just like the more recent ‘Ghost Pepper’ tsunami of popularity and the subsequent mass marketing of everything ‘Ghost’ to cash in on the craze). With that said, I’ve sadly been totally disappointed with specifically ‘Chipotle’ sauces. Every last one I’ve had are… well… crap! All were immediately blacklisted to the ‘never buy again’ bin! They were all sooo one note as to complexity, or just weird and funky (nasty!) flavored. If I ever wanted a chipotle sauce, I’d just use the adobo sauce that comes with canned chipotles; that was always immensely better than any ‘sauce’ I tried and you get the peppers to munch on/cook with boot; thats a no brainier for me! (I know there now are some really good chipotle sauces out there, but I’ve yet to try any of them.) So... I was both excited and a bit apprehensive to try the Brown Label from Lucky Dog.
Due to my wary experience of chipotle sauces, I was really hoping this would be more of a mustard sauce - not so, this is certainly a chipotle sauce…. but it’s actually good, REALLY good!
Those acidic almost acrid notes that seemed to accompany all of the commercially available chipotle sauces I tried was completely lacking! (I think the acridness is due to the over smoking of many of the original peppers. Not all chipotle peppers are created equal!)
The mustard for me acted as a perfect balance for the bold flavors chipotles have that usually dominate everything else it may be applied to. Just like one would use cream in making a chipotle cream sauce, it just makes everything smooth and mellow. I found the mustard flavors do come through more when eating with meats, and particularly warm meats like the brats I really liked it on (quite different from the cold turkey sandwich I also ate it on). I don’t know why this is, but perhaps the fats/oils combine with the natural mustard oils and the added heat makes the mustard notes ‘bloom’ or become more apparent when eating(?). It’s not a flat one-sided chipotle sauce for sure! If your looking for a most delicious chipotle sauce with smoothness and complexity - it has great heat too with the Bonnets used… a bit of a creeping heat- then I’d most assuredly recommend the Brown Label!!
Thanks a ton Scott for actually making a killer chipotle sauce, and redeeming my bias towards all those garbage ones I had the displeasure of trying. Lucky Dog wins hands down!
(The Brown Label was so good on brats and a mish mash of root vegetables - steamed red/yellow carrots, roasted beets, potato salad, and Brussels sprouts kraut topped with bits of thick smoked bacon!!) Cheers!