Downback BBQ Sweet & Tangy (4/5)



Downback BBQ is the tasty creation of New England native Joe Mendello after realizing his passion for cooking for others – including his specialty – roasting pigs.

Joe says this about his sauce:

“My sweet and tangy barbeque sauce goes great on pork, chicken and beef. I have spent years perfecting the flavors in my recipe. It starts with a little sweet and ends with a little heat. This is the same sauce that I use for pig roasts and barbeque events. You can use as a dipping sauce for chicken nuggets or add it to your meatloaf. I’ve even heard it tastes great with tacos.”

Outside the bottle


Downback has simple, yet professional packaging that conveys a simple, playful quality and what would appear to be a very standard taste flavor.   I like the bottle shape, the glossy label, and the simple graphics.

I like the simplicity here, but there is an opportunity to add a lot more in terms of taglines, phrases, and descriptions of what makes this sauce unique.  As I will describe later there is a lot more here.

The word Downback makes me think there might be a little more visually to explore versus just a grill grate.   The logo could potentially be enhanced a little bit to show a little more uniqueness.

One thing I found interesting is that the location of the sauce – nor the address of the producer – could be found anywhere on the bottle.

Inside the bottle


This sauce looks and smells wonderful upon the first opening of the jar.

You can clear see the ingredients here are not necessarily anything wild on their own but it really comes together nicely.  You’ve got a lot swimming around in there – chunky veggies, fruit and a splash of bourbon in every bottle.

Uncooked, I’d like to describe it as a sweet & hot fruit salsa meets bbq sauce.

During grilling it was easy to apply and stayed on the meat well.

After cooking the taste got even better as it caramelized and reduced.

Bottom Line


A very nice sauce – complemented well using some of the Downback Spice Rub.  It goes on easy and stays on, and gets better as it’s cooked.  The label is fun and simple, but it could do a better job selling the contents inside the bottle so people have a better idea of what to expect.


Downback BBQ’s Sweet & Tangy is a fun sauce to put on almost anything – I like that it’s different from the standard run-of-the-mill sauces.  The only problem is that it is disguised as a run-of-the-mill sauce.

With a little touch up and a little more oomph on the label, the oomph on the inside will be able to shine strong.


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Site Editor, BBQ Sauce Lover, Family Guy, Hi Tech Marketer by Day. He recently wrote the Ebook “How to Market Your BBQ Sauce” which can be purchased on this site.



  1. Looks good. I think I’ll give that recipe a try.

    Thanks Brian

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