Red Duck Gourmet Condiments — And A Food Gal Giveaway

Everyday sausages turn special with a topping of Red Duck Curry Ketchup.

Everyday sausages turn special with a topping of Red Duck Curry Ketchup.


With summer weather comes prime condiment season.

Red Duck has got you covered, no matter what you’re grilling.

The Portland, OR-company makes a range of ketchups, barbecue sauces and taco sauces, all gluten-free and certified organic. The tomatoes used are all grown in California’s Central Valley, too, picked ripe in season from late-June through July.

The business is the brainchild of four MBA students who were studying at the University of Oregon when they came up with the idea for the condiments for a class project. The name “Red Duck” takes its name from the color of ketchup, their first product, plus the mascot of their college.

There are 11 products now, sold either separately or in trio samplers: “Quite Traditional” (Original Ketchup, Approachably Mild Taco Sauce, and Smoked Applewood Molasses BBQ Sauce); “So Unique” (Curry Ketchup, Uniquely Korean Taco Sauce, and Sweet Mustard Peppercorn BBQ Sauce); and “Fairly Spicy” (Spicy Ketchup, Actually Spicy Taco Sauce, and Hot Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce).

I had a chance to try samples of the “Quite Traditional” and “So Unique” sets.

The Original Ketchup stacks up very well to my standby Heinz Organic. A tablespoon serving of the Red Duck Original Ketchup has 10 calories, 40mg sodium, 3g total carbs, and 0 percent total fat; while a tablespoon of the Heinz Organic has 20 calories, 190mg sodium, 5g total carbs, and 0 percent fat. All in all, the Red Duck ketchup has half the calories and substantially less sodium, a big win if you’re counting calories or trying to cut your salt intake.

Red Duck's "Quite Traditional'' trio.

Red Duck’s “Quite Traditional” trio.

Red Duck's "So Unique'' trio.

Red Duck’s “So Unique” trio.

As for the taste, the Red Duck is reminiscent of the Heinz you grew up on, but with a deeper tomato paste flavor. It’s plenty zingy and fruity sweet to satisfy your nostalgic cravings, too. The Red Duck Curry Ketchup is so delicious, it just might replace any other ketchup in your house. It warms the taste buds with turmeric and cumin. Imagine it on your own currywurst sausage or on scrambled eggs.

Although I didn’t try the “Fairly Spicy” set, the Mild Taco Sauce still has a nice modest amount of heat on the palate. Flavored with cumin, garlic, orange peel and carrot puree, it has depths of flavor. It would be great not only spooned over pork, chicken or shrimp tacos, but even stirred into a pot of beans.

The Korean Taco Sauce has a wallop of heat — not a painful one but definitely enough to make you sit up and take notice from the first taste. It’s a blend of tomato paste, miso, soy sauce, and molasses, along with Korean pepper and bird’s eye chili. Just imagine it spooned over kalbi ribs or even used in a stir-fry of broccoli and beef.

The Smoked Applewood Molasses BBQ Sauce is very traditional tasting — tangy, fruity, and peppery with paprika. It’s made for slathering on ribs and brisket. Made with garlic, turmeric, lemon peel, the Sweet Mustard Peppercorn BBQ Sauce is quite piquant and mustard-forward with extra sharp twang from the vinegar. It would wake up anything grilled. It would also be delicious for making potato salad or tossed with chilled green beans.

Ribs slathered in Red Duck Sweet Mustard Peppercorn BBQ Sauce.

Ribs slathered in Red Duck Sweet Mustard Peppercorn BBQ Sauce.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a free trio sampler from Red Duck (valued at $18), your choice of either “Quite Traditional,” “So Unique,” or “Fairly Spicy.”

Entries, open only to those in the continental United States, will be accepted through midnight June 22. Winner will be announced June 24.

How to win?

Just tell me one of your most favorite Fourth of July memories. Best answer wins.

Here’s my own answer:

Many years ago, when I was a summer intern at the venerable Boston Globe, I lived in a small studio apartment. I lucked out because it was in the chic Beacon Hill neighborhood. Even more fortunate, it had a big rooftop deck overlooking the esplanade shell-shaped stage at the edge of the Charles River. The owners of the apartment had told me it was the best place to spend the Fourth of July because from that vantage point, you could not only see the Boston Pops playing there, but hear them. In fact, residents were known to bring their boom-boxes (yes, you can tell how long ago this was) up to the roof and tune it to the live concert broadcast. So on that most patriotic of holidays, I invited all of my fellow Globe interns over to my place. I made a pasta salad, and they brought chips and salsa, cookies, and beer. As the sun went down, we all hightailed it up to the roof, where we listened to the strains of John Phillips Souza as clear as a bell, while watching with glee as the skies lit up with flamboyant fireworks. It was a perfect moment, just magical in  every way.

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  • Well, the one I remember most is the year that I was at my friends house with her boyfriend and a bunch of his friends and they were shooting off various fireworks in the yard of her boyfriend’s house and next thing you know, the bushes in their next door neighbors yard caught on fire. Thankfully there was a hose nearby and her boyfriend was able to get it out before there was much damage to the bush and thankfully, before it got anywhere near the house. That had to be about 35 years ago.

  • Joyce Konigsberg

    They all sound tasty but the super spicy trio will probably be a little too dpicy for me. Love shortcuts!

  • My most favorite Fourth of July celebration was in…Germany. Let me explain. My husband and I in the summer of 1993 visited Austria, Switzerland and Germany for our tenth anniversary. We ended our trip by visiting our German neighbors who had moved back to their home country a few years earlier. And what was on the calendar for the Fourth? A Fourth of July party near their hometown. They rented a grill hutte for the day and around forty guests arrived in the morning to start the celebration. Food was brought and drinking, cooking and eating started…until almost midnight. (It was a Sunday so it had to end early for the workers!) This lovely German couple moved back to the states a few years later and just last year became US citizens. If I win those condiments they will be gifted to this couple who celebrate every American holiday in a big way with fantastic food!
    (Carolyn, I also had the privilege of going to several of those fantastic Fourths on the esplanade living a short walk away in Back Bay.)

  • Back in Northern Idaho where I grew up, they went all out for 4th of July! I loved it. During the Day there was a parade we always went to. Then at night, there were fireworks on the lake. I especially remember the one year where the fireworks all exploded — there was ONE giant kaboom, then …. nothing. Bummer, but it left an indelible memory! I haven’t been to any fireworks in years and I miss it!
    P.S. I’d love to try the Fairly Spicy condiments!

  • one of our families fave holiday is 4th of july. my dad would always bring the most yummy chicken wings. hands down, all the grands would devour them!!! this year in his honor, i will do his chicken wings but with a new twist. i just ordered a 3-pack of bbq sauces to drown the wings and then bbq them. i know they will be terrific. i could use a second set 😉 we will be having a memorial horseshoe tourney in my dad’s honor with a handful of his friends attending our family 4th reunion. 4th of July was one of my dad’s favorite holidays. i am looking forward to sharing the redduck love with our tribe!

  • a few yrs ago we were hosting a fresh air girl and took her to our local july 4th fest downtown. it was such a blast and a great memory for her! she loved the hotdogs there! very enjoyable!

  • My most memorable Fourth of July was shortly after my husband and I moved to Seattle. We had just moved in to a beautiful high-rise condo right next to Pike Place Market, (completely sight-unseen since we were moving from Pittsburgh!), and we were completely bewildered at our luck and totally in love with the city. On the Fourth, we managed to navigate ourselves down to a park, despite having absolutely no clue where we were going, where we watched the huge fireworks display at the Space Needle. It was magical, and it’s been our tradition every year since!

  • Watching fireworks from Coney Island from the still hot black tar roof of my childhood apartment building in Brooklyn. Spectacular and a sense of adventure going to the roof. Elephants and donkeys and flags, oh,my, plus a grand finale with all the rockets not already fired off before. Fireflies trying to compete. Incomparable.

  • My most “favorite” 4th of July memory is a study in irony. I lived in Wantagh, NY, the “Gateway to Jones Beach”. I met a girl on July 3rd and I thought she was the most beautiful girl in the world. We agreed to meet on July 4th at the flag pole the next day. That night I accidentally slammed my fingers in the car door. My folks took me to the doctor, who cleaned and cured the damaged fingers and said, “Whatever you do, do NOT get sand in these wounds. Needless to say, I was not allowed to go to the beach on July 4th. I am now 72 and to this day, when I think about Independence Day, I wonder about that girl.

  • I remember taking my young children to the beach on Fourth of July. At the time, I had a young toddler and a 5 month old. I wondered if either child would be frightened but fireworks over the Gulf of Mexico are so beautiful. The sky and the water light up. Well, my toddler loved them. My baby slept through the entire firework show. Sleeping through the firework show was very unusual since he was a horrible sleeper from day one. He is now an adult with children of his own and he sleeps just perfect now. Go figure!

  • While I was still living in New York some years ago, I came out to San Francisco to visit a friend who had just moved to SF. She lived in one of the two, tall, curved buildings next to Fort Mason and it had wonderful views of the Bay and Alcatraz. We went up to the roof to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July. It was so cold and windy, we had to keep going back downstairs to get warmer jackets and more blankets. I had never shivered my way through a Fourth of July fireworks show before. It definitely made me think of that quote ” the coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco. “

  • Favorite 4th of July memories would involve going to watch fireworks with my family when I was a kid. We’d go to a park somewhere with blankets to sit on, and have snacks and drinks on hand. We’d just hang out with each other, and usually extended family members (so many cousins!) would join as well and we’d watch the fireworks together. Afterwards, we would make our way to the car along with the crowds of people, and eventually get home. If it wasn’t too late, we would get to play with fireworks and sparklers, too!

  • I met my husband at a get-together. We chatted with each other no more than we chatted with every other wonderful person there, but when it came time to walk back to our cars, he offered to drive a few of us because he was right out front. I found it funny that he took everyone else, further away, first, then me… I was totally oblivious. We ended up talking away until the next morning! And here I am, with my favorite person in the whoooole world, some 12/13(? haha) years later :).

  • So who won, Carolyn? Just wondering…

  • Lisa: The winner’s name was announced at the end of that following Monday’s post. To see who won, just go here —

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