Supermarket Superstar Review: Lets Get Barbecue Sauced Edition

We like to think this week’s update is late because Shari was in jail. Whatever the truth may be, here it is as she continues to watch TV so’s you don’t have to.

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Episode 8 only two more to go!

Don’t worry, I’ll be back in October when Top Chef New Orleans starts. TWO Philly chefs will be competing.

But for now let’s talk about home chefs and their own barbecue sauces. I want to start with this; all of them were tomato based. That doesn’t have to be the case. There are good barbecue rubs and of course the Carolinas have their own twisted wrong versions of BBQ that have vinegar and mustard bases. My mind says, “Embrace diversity” my taste buds say, “Ew ew ew, what the fuck is this shit?”

So, they all started with a traditional tomato based sauce and they all used ketchup as their tomato base. Ketchup, is not just some random shit that’s on every table in regular non fine-dining restaurants and is in almost EVERY home in America. There are different brands but you don’t have to be a yinzer to know that it should begin and end with Heinz. Ketchup is a careful balance of sweet and savory, acidic and a little bit of spice. It’s not easy to replicate; salty enough to enhance the flavors of food, and strong enough to completely eradicate the flavor of mom’s (insert dish you despise here.) So to me, using ketchup as a base is like saying, “I’m making my own beer. I’m using Yuengling instead of water but the rest is all my recipe.

That said we start with Adam. He sells himself as a good guy but his job is a call center bill collector. See, the thing is, he needs the job, I’m sure, but he’s chosen to harangue people who are already stressed and don’t have enough money to get by. That’s legal, but does that make it OK? I say no, your opinion is possibly valid too.

Adam The bill collector’s, Bacon BBQ Sauce has as much bacon as the law will allow. (2%. Turns out there’s a law…sounds like Sharia) Any more than that and the sauce would be regulated by the USDA and that, he admits, would require so many more approvals that the cost of the sauce would be prohibitively high. Is that why chicken thighs are now like three bucks a pound? His sauce is currently under “acid control” which isn’t as much fun as it sounds. Basically the acid, or PH Balance has to be strong enough for a man, but made for bacon. I don’t recommend using it on your arm pits or delicate skin. Have you seen what the wrong Ph balance will do to a paper cutout of a woman?


When questioned he insisted that his sauce was shelf stable. He’s had people try it and hasn’t had any problems. Chris Cornyn observed “I’m not sure your test should be ‘so far no one’s gone to the hospital’” He’s so witty.

But seriously, botulism sounds nasty, yo. So maybe he should follow the FDA guidelines for not killing people.

Next comes Xiomara with a tropical barbecue sauce. Her radical idea is to sell two sauces in one package. The first sauce is sweet and spicy and the second sauce, the green one brings the heat, so those who enjoy pain can now stop arguing with those who prefer to taste the food and not fry their taste buds.

8 tropical bbq

Xiomara btw, is not a home cook. She runs a tropical BBQ restaurant where all four of her children help out, but not her husband, he died in Iraq in 2008.

Here she is with two of her lil’ labor law violations.

8 Xiomara in restaurant8 2 of the four child labor laws she breaks

Unfortunate? Sure. Qualification as a home cook? Nope.

Her sauce looks and tastes good but the judges are a little confused by the second sauce. Adam the bacon guy said of her tropical BBQ concept, “Two sauces, that’s way, way too complicated.” Um, two sauces confuses you? really? like, a lot? Election day must be a nightmare.

Torchy Burns is from LA, but for some reason they’re playing what sounds like the Zatarans Rice jingle in the background. He makes a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce, also tomato based but his gimmick is that he uses eighteen-year-old balsamic vinegar.

His shtick is that he yells “Giddy Up! Q Down!” I don’t know what it means, but I sure wish he’d stop.

Michael questioned him about the cost effectiveness of using such expensive vinegar. Can Torchy put enough in to get the flavor he wants and put it on the shelf for a price the mom at home can afford? (Why does this entire competition act as though everyone is living in the mid fifties standard that never existed) Lots of people will pay a ridiculous amount for things they think make a difference. Personally, I go for the store brand when it’s on sale for $.99 a bottle, but then, I’m cheap, or frugal, or broke. You can just pick one of those Adam.

Cornyn backs up Michael’s point with a ridiculous question of his own. “I would have to make a decision whether to buy my kid shoes or eat your product?”

Um, no. See, let’s say this sauce comes in at ten dollars a bottle. People who are deciding between shoes and BBQ sauce are not even looking at the ten dollar bottle, they are probably also looking for the 99 Cent sale. Have Michael and Cornyn never actually met real people? I find it strangely believable, that somehow they’ve read all the statistics and focus group reports and take that as enough information about actual people.

Also, who could buy a kid a pair of shoes for ten bucks? I think they’re even more than that at Payless.

Anyway, they worried Torchy because that’s his shtick entire, it’s all he’s got.

But, c’est la vie, it’s time to go to the recipe review, which is not sponsored by any large appliance manufacturer at the moment. I’m sure next year it will be the Whirlpool Recipe Review, or maybe Frigidaire.

So now comes the fun part, watching home cooks figure out how to use the industrial appliances before them, and remembering to weigh and scan every item they use.

Michael and Andy the passive aggressive duo start with Adam and his acidity level. The sauce he swore was safe? Not so much. Acidity needs to be 3.5 or lower for safety, his was four, which means…botulism. He’s going to have to change his recipe without changing the flavor.

8 ph test

This is Torchy’s response to that
8 torchy reaction

So both Bill Collector and Torchy Burns are worried about losing the habanero taste if they change their acidity, either by cutting back on the aged balsamic or increasing the acidity to keep the botulism spores from growing and replicating on the bacon. Habanero sauce, An expensive and rare ingredient? They leave it on the table in good Mexican restaurants, so if you swipe one, they can’t even prosecute. We do not condone stealing from restaurants or anyone really, go buy a bottle at anywhere.

The issue they had with Xiomara simple. She used fresh pineapple. They did that passive aggressive thing again, having a conversation amongst themselves about how many times they’ve seen pineapple in a manufacturing facility and why that might be.

8 pineapple banter

Turns out, Pineapples ferment and won’t produce the same flavor year round. If you want to play with the big boys you’ve got to use their tools. So she changed fresh pineapple to a frozen pineapple paste. mmmm mmmm mmmm. I get hungry just thinking about it.

Now it’s time to meet the focus group and the focus group of the week is die-hard Tailgaters. But, not specifically fans of any one team per se.


Torchy’s Torch is extinguished, Turns out, no one wants to pay $7.09 for tomato based BBQ sauce.

They tasted and some like the idea of the two sauces, others found it confusing. (What is wrong with our educational system that people don’t understand the number two, or choice) I mean, I learned that shit on sesame street, sheesh.

But at the middle of the day Torchy went home because yelling some weird phrase like you have tourettes is not gonna make your sauce cost less than $7.09 per bottle, nor is it going to make it any less ordinary. Torchy your stupid brand has been kicked out and you are extinguished.

So now we go to branding. Cornyn is bored or something. He didn’t have a factoid for the day. instead he just told them, and us that the Barbecue section is a hard place to get noticed.

We start with Bill Collector’s logo:

8 the writght sauce with adam wright

The-man-who-nags-poor-people-for-money-when-they-don’t-have-any says this about his logo. “I went to the best artist I knew, and that’s my brother.”
Cornyn “Does your brother have a good therapist? Is that a batpig?”

Both kind of relevant questions. Let’s keep in mind this guy’s ok with a bat pig hugging a jar of honey but he doesn’t understand two sauces.

Xiamora’s Logo wasn’t hand drawn but as Cornyn pointed out, it looked like a mug you’d find at a cheap gift shop.

8 xiomara's exissting logo

Then there was some back and forth between Cornyn and Xiomara about who had the weirdest name and also how she was going to market two sauces, or if she even should. She did.

They present to the A&P executive in charge of stuff that doesn’t suck.

First, the bill collector who calls while you’re still asleep presented his sauce which had lost a lot of the habanero kick due to amping up the acidity to keep people from dying of barbecue sauce

8 wright sauce final8 wright sauce final jar8 wright warning meter

and Xiomara presented hers.

8 jammin' jerk jar8 jammin' Jerk bbq sauce

The guy in charge of keeping out of A&P, anything that will confuse the buyers, could not find the habanero in Bill Collector’s sauce and worries about how the Jammin’ Jerk would even fit on the shelf. But in the end, he went with what he knew. Good food sells and so do gimmicks.

Xiomara won and in two weeks she may or may not be in the finals, they still haven’t ‘splained that but this felt like more of a win than a loss. I love spice but not as much as some people. Being able to put that option on the table, that’s something I can see a lot of people; people I’ve actually met, and know personally, not just random “people” but those real people, might buy this.

1972bShari Brodsky is not a food critic. She’s not even a picky eater. She is a writer and has a fuckton of fan fiction porn that you can find here. (It’s mostly QAF and SPN and it’s all slash) She’s also the younger sister of Adam Brodsky and lived with him for the first 21 years of his dorkiness, which means she knows some wicked cool embarrassing stories and where a few of the bodies are buried.

She hates facebook and long walks on the beach, but does have a twitter account that she rarely uses @sharibrodsky

If you feel the need to contact her directly email her: here or you know, comment below.

  • Bobbie Rockwell

    My husband & I can’t wait to try Xiomara BBQ Sauce!!!

  • AdamBrodsky

    When you do, please let us know how you liked it.

  • Lonewriter

    They picked the wrong sauce. I’d never pay $6 for BBQ sauce that needs directions to use it. I’d buy the Bacon Sauce and hope Adam gets a deal in the end. Plus I didn’t like her hateful attitude.

  • andyallen

    I was one of the judges, actually the one in the front of the picture you posted. Xiomara’s was by far the best. each one of her sauces could stand on its own. And 4 of us 6 judges are competitive BBQ cooks, i wish they would have played that angle instead of the tailgaters

  • Alexandra Trigili

    What kind of directions do you need??? You either add the green to the red or you don’t. How much you add is also up to you. NOT a challenging concept. AND, I don’t think she had a hateful attitude at all, I thought the bacon guy was too smug for his own good.

  • Torchy Burns

    The idiot who wrote the above article doesn’t know her butt from a hole in the ground…

  • Epically Tired

    Hi, I’m the idiot. your elipse implies you have more to say and I’d love to hear it. I only see what’s on TV. If there’s more to tell email me

    Seriously, I’d love to blow the lid of the show, or just get the truth from someone who was there. Contact me, let’s talk.

  • Epically Tired

    I really wish they’d played the competitive BBQ cooks angle as well, it makes more sense for that competition. (I wrote the article. feel free to contact me.)

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