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Words By Connor McInerney, Photos By Andrea Diaz

About a week ago I was forwarded an usual recipe surely indicative of the current culinary palette of the American Midwest, as well as the possible end of days. Goetze’s Candy Company, a somewhat obscure, Maryland-based caramel production facility, developed a barbecue sauce just in time for the summer. The ingredients for this sauce just happened to include thirty of Goetze’s Caramel Creams®, as well as a cup of ketchup, ground mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and a few other items.

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If your immediate response to the idea of combining those ingredients was, “that sounds absolutely horrible, and is probably not safe for the human race,” I’d like to congratulate you for having much better judgement than me. That being said, disgusting culinary decadence is kind of my thing (I often put Cheez-It Crackers in my mac n cheese), so I decided this Sunday was as good a time as ever to unleash this abomination upon the earth.

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Surprisingly I already had eight of the nine ingredients listed on the recipe on-hand, for some reason I was only lacking thirty Caramel Creams®, which fortuitously were sold at my neighborhood deli. I wish I could capture the expression of disdainful pity shown by the cashier accompanying that purchase.

The instructions were pretty straightforward, indicating I need to combine ketchup, water, apple cider vinegar, sugar, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce in a pan on low heat first. The scent of this cocktail stung the nostrils and nearly knocked me on my ass, but I looked it up and this is what usually goes into barbecue sauce so we’ve been poisoning ourselves all along (wake up, America). It was when I added the Caramel Creams® that, to use the parlance of our time, shit got real.

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Keeping the heat at a low simmer (a very low simmer), I dropped each individual cream into the mix, watching them drop like caramel turds into a pot of tomato soup. Two minutes and a fair amount of mixing later, the ingredients became a homogenous paste, taking on an unhealthy burnt orange color I expect resembles the type of wallpaper they use in hell. The tangy smell of boiled vinegar combined with the darker flavors of caramel in a fragrance not for the faint of heart, and convinced me right then that Goetze’s Candy should really include a waiver with its instructions.

I decided it was finally time to take in spoonful of what I had wrought.

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I want you to imagine that, for some reason, you had an inclination to eat Play-Doh on the precondition it was edible. Then consider that Play-Doh had been made with rancid buttermilk and soy sauce. That is roughly the best way to describe what Goetze’s Candy Caramel Cream BBQ Sauce and Hellspawn tastes like. The back right part of my mouth received a tangy sting akin to a light slap, but I’ve been through much worse and I held down a desire to wretch.

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With this exciting preview out of the way, the next logical step was to put it on some meat. I am a vegetarian, so I opted to put it on a seitan chicken fillet I bought at Safeway that comes pretty close in taste. My BBQ Play-Doh defied gravity for thirty seconds before a dollop fell upon my meal with an unearthly plop. I tried to spread it out over the entirety of my protein, but this sauce does not adhere to Newtonian physics so it ended up all over my plate.

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The BBQ sauce mixed with the meat put in the old college try of being edible, but fell far from anything I could honestly advise to a fellow human without first self-prescribing a dozen antibiotics and perhaps a Malaria shot for good measure. As I chewed, I came to the disappointed realization that God is dead, and that Goetze’s Candy had killed him long ago. The chicken was harder to swallow than the ennui.

Overall Goetze’s Candy Caramel Cream® BBQ Sauce gave me at least another three months of therapy and almost destroyed my garbage disposal when I tried to rid my household of the terrible specter that had manifest itself in my kitchen. Maybe I could recommend you use it as an adhesive for sticking up posters on your walls, or marking your doorway to prevent an angry God from killing your firstborn. Other than that, stay as far away as you can.

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