Dining and Drink

Wisconsin Hot: A BBQ sauce heat index

Local BBQ sauces ranked by hotness

It’s North and South’s Erin Stoesz who mentions the truth most of us already know—the concept of “Wisconsin Hot.” Here in the mellow Midwest, our tender tongues sometimes fear the upper end of the heat index. But don’t miss out on the hot and interesting local sauces that elevate the barbecue experience in Wisconsin.

Sweet and Tangy

The Thirsty Goat’s Sweet and Tangy Sauce: Chef Jeff Whitford claims he’s not much of a sauce guy, but honestly, dude, you could have fooled us. This sauce balances sweetness and kick with the grace of a goat on a grass roof.


Red Rock Saloon’s Bandolero Sauce: Red Rock’s sauce options abound, but this molasses-fueled special is one that makes a plate of pulled pork come to life.
Smoky Jon’s Gourmet Supreme Barbecue Sauce: Madison’s most storied and award-winning sauce is a tasty orchestra of sweet and oniony goodness. Try the fiery supreme version if you must, but the original is unassailable.
Brickhouse BBQ’s Honey Mango Habanero: This is even spicier than Brickhouse’s bourbon sriracha, but the tropical sweetness takes a bit of the edge off.
Extra Hot
Fat Jack’s Extra Hot: This sneaky-wicked sauce is powered by cracked black pepper, horseradish and cayenne. Pass the lemonade. 

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