Freelance Foods Bourbon BBQ Sauce (4/5)


The sauce we are reviewing today is the brainchild of Lance Allen Kramer, a busy guy who is balancing dual pursuits of culinary and performing arts. You can learn a little bit about him on his IMDB page, and you can see his bio on his Freelance Foods BBQ website. Lance sent us a bottle of his Bourbon BBQ sauce and a bottle of his original spice rub, and we will mainly focus on the sauce here. BBQ has been a mainstay in American culture for many, many years, and Bourbon has been slowly increasing in popularity as an American spin on Whiskey. So it’s a great idea to combine both! Let’s dive in.

Outside the Bottle

The bottle and label are the salesperson for your sauce when you can’t be there, so it’s important to paint as accurate an impression of what’s inside the bottle for prospective tasters.

I think this label and bottle do a nice job. The glass flask shape and the label clearly shout “Bourbon and BBQ sauce combined” – so great job there!

The bison head is a nice addition as well. Did you know the American bison was named the national mammal of the United States on May 9, 2016? This majestic animal joins the ranks of the Bald Eagle as the official symbol of our country—and much like the eagle, they’re a symbol of our American identity and one of the greatest conservation success stories of all time.

The only other words on the front are the company name, Freelance Foods, and a description of the sauce: Sweet, Smoky, Spicy. That sounds nice to me – but let’s see how well those promises play out when tasting the sauce.

One other nice thing about the packaging and the sauce is how well you can see the real ingredients and specks of spices floating around inside – not too mass-produced, but also even enough to give an impression of quality.

Inside the Bottle

The first sniff gives you a clear whiff of bourbon mixed over top of the tomato/vinegar/spice aroma you’d expect. The ingredients are fairly standard, but kudos for skipping the high fructose corn syrup – there are a lot of people searching for that – so it might be worth a mention (at least in fine print) on the front of the label.

The consistency of the sauce is a bit thinner than ketchup – certainly not an “oozing” type sauce, but has the consistency of a thicker marinade.

The flavor uncooked is nice and delivers on the sweet and bourbon angle for sure. For me, I only got a little bit of heat here, so I’m not sure highlighting spicy is helpful. People’s definition of spicy varies wildly, and that’s why some folks get a little more specific – anywhere from “sauce with a little heat” to “this sauce will melt your taste buds.”

I also didn’t get too much smoky flavor in the sauce, so it might be something to consider enhancing.

We cooked up two batches of chicken for the test – one with unseasoned chicken and the other with the spice rub drizzled on both sides ahead of the cooking. We really, really enjoyed the chicken that had been prepped with the Freelance Food BBQ rub – the salty, spicy flavor of the rub merged with the sweet bourbon flavors to create a very nice, complex flavor that had the full gamut of sweet, salty, spicy, and bourbon. My son and I devoured the pieces of chicken that were prepared this way. In comparison, the one without the rub was good but lacked the zing delivered by the spice/sauce combo.


It’s a solid sauce with great packaging, appearance, and flavor. It delivers on the promise of having a tasty bourbon and BBQ sauce fusion with a nice sweet flavor that isn’t too bourbon-heavy, as I’ve tasted with other bourbon sauces in the past. There were areas I’d like to see more of in terms of just a little more heat and a little more smoky flavor because of those promises made on the front. It’s a solid 4/5 stars and is recommended for anyone who loves BBQ, loves bourbon, and likes trying gourmet sauces and supporting small business owners like Lance. If you decide to give it a try, I recommend getting some of the spice rub at the same time to blend those flavors together and get you into the 5-star taste zone.


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