We started cooking hogs in Danville, Kentucky about 1973. Commercial brand sauces were our only option for several years. We didn't pay much attention to the ingredients of the different sauces that we were using. None of us ever questioned 'why we could only eat one BBQ sandwich'.
We were cooking a 275 pound hog for our 'Derby Day' party one year and my brother Dave and I(Bill) were about ready to start basting and dismantling the hog. Two hundred onlookers, plates in hand with forks poised, anxiously awaited the first platter of pork to hit the table. Dave and I looked at each other like the sauce was going to drop out of the sky. In all the confusion, (Bud & Makers Mark) we had forgotten to get the sauce.
Dave, without skipping a beat said, "I think it's in the kitchen." He casually strolled into the house emerging a short time later with what is today our recalculated ORIGINAL version.
My contribution to the recipe thus far was "I didn't get any either!"
The party was a huge success (we've never had a bad one). No one knew that the sauce was produced 'on site' until after dinner. We were actually waiting for a couple critiques before the facts were revealed. Everyone was very pleased with the flavor and the fact that it was a 'good, thick dippin' sauce'.
It wasn't until we built our own sauce that we realized what chemicals could be left out and still have an excellent product. I spent several days in the library looking up different preservatives trying to find one that was suitable for our packaging needs. After reading how preservatives get approved for use, I figured that there is no good presevative for our purpose.
[NOTE:There were so many preservative submissions in the 50's and 60's that the FDA could not thoroughly test each one due to being under staffed. The answer to this backlog was to approve submissions that were chemically similar to compounds that had recieved testing. I didn't do that well in chemistry but I do remember that alcohol and sugar are chemically similar. One of them tastes pretty good in cereal and the other tastes pretty good with our sauce.]
We decided that if we had to package with a preservative, we wouldn't market the sauce. To make a long story a little shorter, our packing process gives us an extended shelf life without preservatives!
We found that MSG isn't required to have a full flavored sauce. We don't add any vinegar. Why add something bitter when you add brown sugar and honey to sweeten it? All the chemical juggling seemed a bit ridiculous to us. We produce a light hickory flavored, full bodied, tomato based sauce that sticks where you put it. The sauce has so much spice, it can be cut with water by thirty percent without a loss of flavor. This works great for marinating steaks with the beverage of your choice. ( We wouldn't ruin a great steak either, however, they are not all great on their own.)
Soon after the great 'Derby Day' scandal, a need arose for a SPICY version of the same sauce. Being the great lovers of spice that we are, we almost doubled the amount of the same spices and added a hint of jalapeno. This new recipe intimidated a lot of people with its bright red label and 'SPICY' brand. Once they tried a sample, many people liked the spicy better than the original. This new version is has a nice, warm, heavily spiced flavor with a follow up 'hint of hickory'. It is by no means hot.
Dave and I have cooked what seems to have been hundreds of hogs, legs of lamb, chickens, steaks, turkeys, fish and venison roasts for various outdoor events since the inception of our product. We have cooked for wedding receptions, birthdays, retirements, military celebrations, horse buyers parties, festivals, hospitality suites, company picnics and every national holiday declared by law(and some that haven't been yet). We have never had a complaint about our sauce (or our cooking-thank you). Our sauce is available in various retail grocery outlets in the central Ky. area and, obviously, here on the 'net' for those of you that aren't in the local vicinity.
Another product that we have developed is our 'EXTREMELY HOT SPICED HONEY' MUSTARD. This was made for for people that can't get it hot enough. We couldn't limit sales to just people that liked hurting themselves, so, we put a label on the jar lid. This little gold label has several recipes for the use of our mustard. It's really good to dip pretzels in or smear on an eggroll. If you mix the sauce and mustard half and half, it makes a fantastic chicken basting sauce.
Stop by again. We will add new recipes as we can.