Hole in the Wall “Bullwhacker” BBQ Sauce Review (4/5)

Late this summer, I was out in Seattle for a work trip and I had a couple hours to kill.  I hadn’t eaten lunch so I decided to check out the area near the hotel in a section called Pioneer Square.  Saw a couple of places on Yelp but nothing really stood out except Il Corvo which had tons of reviews from people writing & raving about the fresh pasta.  It sounded interesting, so I took a walk towards their place of noodles.   When I got to the location, I noticed a MASSIVE line at least 40-50 deep.  The food gods had been kind to these owners.

The line was not moving at all.  So after deciding I didn’t have the time, I got realistic and sought other options nearby.  Immediately after looking up from my screen to check out the “real world”  – right in front of me was a little place that didn’t register on the Yelp scale and had a wooden sign that just said “Barbecue” – sign me up.

Here’s a Pic (from Google Streets on a day without a crazy line)

So as I wandered into 215 James Street, I see the place actually has a name – The Hole in the Wall BBQ.  There were 2 friendly people working there as I walked in.    The young woman was the daughter of the owner and was home during a college break. The guy working the fire invited me to take a look at the smoker (all right in the store, fully vented to the outside).  I forgot both their names – I’m so bad at names!

I mentioned the website I created – BBQSauceReviews.com and they smiled and said, well – you should have a bottle of our sauce.  They also let me ring the heavy metal lunch triangle which seemed to be invented to draw attention from the Il Corvo crowd during the lunch rush.  So I wanted to say thank you to them for the sauce, and hope that others reading will check out the restaurant if you are in the Seattle area.

The food is delicious – I had the pulled pork and chopped brisket and a small sampler of the chili.  The chili was amazing.  The pulled pork was extremely tasty – smokey and moist and perfectly cooked.  The brisket was tender – not the most tender I’ve had – but buttery and tasty.  Only minor complaint is that it was served up coated in sauce although they did ask me…   should have gotten it on the side, so I could choose my own Saucelevel.

NFSW Meat Photo:

Sorry – I had to blur that out just in case kids were reading this with you.   So please check them out if you are in Seattle and let’s get onto the sauce!

Hole in the Wall “Bullwhacker” BBQ Sauce

Outside The Bottle

That’s it.  Because it is just a store brand and the volumes are minimal – they don’t appear to need the label on the back side and the UPC code.  Just like a farmer’s market variety.

A cool looking label on the front.  Simple and understated – and I love it.  A neat looking font that you don’t see everyday.  It looks even better on a sweaty bottle like above.

Inside the bottle

The flavors here were great – and had something different about it that I couldn’t quite place.   I could taste the strength of the base – pepper and paprika and not much vinegary tang.

A smooth mild sauce but something of a unique flavor.

There was a lot of black specks in there – but it wasn’t all that peppery…

Maybe…   it’s coffee?     I’ve had one coffee sauce before and I think that’s it – I take a whiff thinking “coffee” and it appears to fall into place.

And after checking into their also understated and simple site, it appears I am correct!

They make it from scratch every day and you can get it in hot, which I had on my brisket in the restaurant.    It’s a good sauce, very tasty – but nothing amazing on it’s own – a 4 star sauce.  But… the sauce paired with the location, the wooden sign, the friendly people, and the amazing smoked foods – and you’ve got a truly unique 5-star place.

More about The Hole in the Wall BBQ:  

Chuck Forsyth & his son John have been serving up mouthwatering BBQ since 1989 in their aptly named downtown Seattle eatery, The Hole in the Wall BBQ. The comment often heard at the Hole is “this is the best barbecue this side of Kansas City”. They perfected their craft on the competition circuit winning the Washington State BBQ Championship at the Puyallup Fair (twice) and the Chili Championship at Folklife Festival.

The Hole in the Wall BBQ is so good because they’ve modified “traditional” barbecue to serve up a healthier product. All of the meats are hand processed to remove fat and they pour off all the fat from the ground beef for the award winning chili. The meats are smoked low and slow, for more than 16 hours with oak and fruit woods. The pork is hand pulled and the brisket hand sliced to order. Also on the menu is succulent and juicy smoked turkey, chicken and hot links. A must try is the delicious smoked meatloaf, get there early and it’s only on Mondays! Wednesdays through Fridays they serve up incredible, “to-die for” pork ribs – dry rubbed, smoked and served with sauce on the side – they sell very quickly.

The Hole in the Wall never uses liquid smoke, food coloring or preservatives. Their hours are short because they believe barbecue is best when fresh out of the smoker. They cook up only what they’ll need for lunch each day so as to never compromise quality.

Check out more at: http://holeinthewallbbq.blogspot.com/

Thanks for reading and next time you’re in Seattle – check this place out.

Screw Il Corvo and their pasta 🙂

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.


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