A few months back I received a complimentary jar of Delwood’s Barbecue Sauce & Marinade courtesy of Delwood Cavenaugh II himself. I told him I’ d write about soon if I liked it. Well, I owe Delwood my sincere apology for taking so danged long to fulfill my commitment. The sauce is excellent and I’ve enjoyed it on several occasions; you readers should buy a jar ASAP to make up for my lack of timeliness in writing this post.
Before I get to the sauce, who is this Delwood character? When he initially contacted me, he described himself as “a Browns Summit based Eastern NC style BBQ sauce business with an eye towards whole hog catering, food trucks and eventually a family style restaurant.” I was intrigued already, as Browns Summit is squarely in the middle of Lexington-style barbecue country, yet Delwood was committed to Eastern style sauce and whole hog cooking. Another confused soul? Well, not really, as Delwood was raised in Newport, NC, which is about as far east as one can get in NC without swimming in the ocean.
As Delwood writes on his website, “My earliest memories of BBQ are late nights and wood smoke. Newport is ‘The Town With Old Fashioned Courtesy’, but it is best known for the Newport Pig Cooking Contest, the largest whole hog contest in these United States. As such, I grew up surrounded by by Amazing barbecue cooks, steeped in the Eastern North Carolina style, and it was the rare weekend that someone wasn’t cooking up a pig somewhere. As I grew up my dad taught me everything he knew about barbecuing pigs, making sauce… .” Those sound like pretty good Eastern credentials to me. Plus, Delwood is the son of another Delwood, and that ought to count for something.
But back to the sauce. I’m generally skeptical of buying NC-style barbecue sauces, since the basic recipe is awfully simple–vinegar, salt, peppers, more ingredients as you wish. However, Delwood’s sauce is really good and worth the money. It is grounded squarely in the Eastern NC tradition, being that it is tomato-free and has an emphasis on cider vinegar and hot pepper flakes, among other spices, but it has a dollop of brown sugar that ever so slightly mellows out the vinegar tang. I’ve enjoyed the sauce on pork shoulder and chicken, thus far, and the Mason jar and handsome label make it an attractive table sauce.
If you can find a sauce purveyor in your area (see the list of where to purchase), I definitely recommend you give it a try. You can even order the sauce from Amazon, although the shipping fee nearly doubles the price. Still, if you’re reading this in some far flung place like New York or California, go for it–heck, you can barely buy a bottle of water for $12 so this is a real bargain.
Thanks to Delwood for sharing his sauce with me, and I look forward to ordering my next jar as soon as finish up this one… it surely won’t be long!