Birth of the Secret Sauce
My great-great grandfather only known as ‘ShoeButtons’ had a habit of sleeping with his shoes on. But no one really knew the real reason until years later. Most relatives believed it was in case he had to get up in the middle of the night to take flight he would be ready. Previous rumors that were held as truth was that my great-great grandmother had said that he had stinky feet and was embarrassed to take his shoes off.
But it wasn’t until recently that everyone learned the (real) reason why he slept with his shoes on.
My grandmother passed away thirty years ago in Chicago, and my mother had the responsibility of managing her affairs and personal effects. While she was inventorying my grandmother’s belongings, she came across several recipes. Since my mother was semi-retired from cooking after raising four boys singlehandedly, she had no need or interest in keeping the recipes. But, knowing that I liked cooking she gave them to me. The stack of worn, tattered and weathered papers were held together by a shoelace. I carefully separated the thin papers. Most of the writing resembled hieroglyphics that would obviously require some deciphering, and most were pork recipes which I had no interest in ever cooking. But, after going through this meticulous process, I finally came across something I could use. It was a barbecue recipe and my mother confirmed that it wasn’t my grandmother’s. So, she pointed in the direction of some distant relatives that could possibly shine some light on the original owner of this recipe.
The search led me to my mother’s birthplace, Tennessee. Most of the people that I spoke to had no idea of who I was or what I wanted, I guess it was my accent. But, as soon as I mentioned BBQ recipe, everyone said it had to belong to ‘ShoeButtons’. As they reminisced about stories about my great-great father and his grill master skills, I finally got up the nerve to ask how this recipe was preserved for all these years. Aunt Dee said, “ShoeButtons used to sleep with his shoes on, and the only time he took his shoes off was to bathe”. I asked her, “why?” and she said, “He used to keep the recipe to his so-called ‘famous barbecue sauce’ recipe in his shoe”. Again, I asked her, “why?” She said, “because he was so worry somebody was going to steal his sauce and become rich and famous without him, and there’s no way he was about to let that happen.”
After deciphering the recipe, I determined that it would require some tweaking to create a broader audience of acceptance. So, over the past 15 years I perfected my great-great grandfather’s recipe and I invite you to give it a try over our ribs, chicken, or pulled pork or in the future over your own bbq specialities.
Now we serve this BBQ Sauce on all of our dishes! I’m sure my Great-Great Grandfather would be proud to know that I kept his dream alive.