Product Review: The Smokey Carter
Although the weather isn’t quite sure what it’s doing here in the UK can we ever really put the lid on BBQ-ing? There’s something in my DNA that craves that smoky taste and adventurer’s cuisine. So I’ve dusted off my grill for one more BBQ blog for 2016…and this is a good one!
I love BBQ season but living in the UK makes it tough to predict and event more difficult for retailers, producers and eateries to plan for. However each year the offering keeps on getting better and better and the categories that the BBQ occasion spans is ever increasing. We would now happily shop the meat aisles, bakery, salad section, spices, oils, condiments and, of course, the booze aisle. BBQ is much more than a category in retail; it’s an occasion, a mood, an ambience and something that the whole nation, nay the world, goes crazy for.
BBQ has increased in popularity over the last few years with the explosion of street food trucks and festivals that have shown the common household cook what is possible with a fire, a hotplate and a bit of food soul. If we get invited round to a friends for a Saturday afternoon Barbie it’s no longer acceptable to serve salmonella sausages or botulism burgers. Now we expect brioche buns, sliders, low and slow briskets, sliders, kofte, shawarmas and a fabulous infusion of world flavours and tastes all on an undersized paper plate.
Now, I’m good with a pair of tongs and a hotplate but I don’t profess to being an expert by any stretch so I’d recommend you check out the BBQ Geeks for some absolutely top tips and the perfect BBQ.
This BBQ blog is extra special as it’s a proper Northern adventure with these delights from The Smokey Carter coming all the way down the East Lancs Road to me from Manchester. Enjoy!
The Smokey Carter
I really like the branding on The Smokey Carter’s products. It’s simple and unassuming but really effective. The branding and symbols have hit on the utopia of symbiosis between adornment and protein through butcher’s shop imagery. I always look for the scope and potential in brand identity and The Smokey Carter has this by the bucketful and there is so much more they can do to develop the brand. My only criticism is that, in its current format, the products would struggle to jump off the shelves amidst a sea of competition.
£2.70 – £3.95 – The Smokey Carter is playing in a crowded market so pricing is key. The price points that the company has adopted are on the premium end but very appropriate. It’s important as an artisan supplier that you set yourself apart from the mainstream but allow shoppers to trial your products.
Chipotle & Bourbon BBQ Sauce
Wow. I’ve already found so many uses for this sauce. It’s dense enough to be a dipping sauce but also works brilliantly as a finishing glaze. The jar produces a tight symphony of sweet, spicy and smooth smoke.
Spiced Pineapple and Nigella Seed Chutney
I love a good chutney accompaniment, especially one that can orchestrate a dance between sweet fruits and spice. This jar hosts a dance between a chunky pineapple and a subtle scotch bonnet.
Carolina BBQ Sauce
This sauce has a real depth. I was overwhelmed by the whispy smoke that runs across the surface of the BBQ sauce and adds layers to the flavour.
Smokey Chipotle BBQ Rub & Pitmaster BBQ Rub
There is a huge difference between a good BBQ rub and a bad one. I don’t want to be able to identify the individual flavours but just paprika, sugar and chilli won’t cut it. These rubs offer a complex flavour that works with the meat to pronounce certain notes.
Verdict – in a word, barbilicious! I know there will be element of bias in this commercial review because it’s a Northern business but these BBQ products are brilliant. I’ve seen a lot of rubs, sauces and chutneys in my time as a food forager and food buyer but The Smokey Carter stands out to me. The food is great but the branding is greater – expect to see this one hit mainstream shelves soon.
So all that’s left for me to say is that it’s been a brilliant BBQ season this year and ask what trends we’re predicting for 2017? Come on, sharing is caring so leave me a comment.