Jim Quessenberry Remembered

The big young man in denim overalls, baby blue polo, curly red hair from head to chin, and baby blue eyes sat there in his team booth at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Tom Lee Park on the banks of the Mississippi. I happened by on that sunny day in 1987 as he was holding court. He beckoned me to “Come on in!”

We had instant rapport. His Southern drawl; the mischievous twinkle in his eye, and his knack for telling stories that were believable and full of chuckles bonded us as friends for life right there and then.

As Jim told me about his hog—how it was nurtured by Mennonite pig farmers with the best of diets and tender loving care—not even allowed to wallow in mud—he handed me a cold beer and shared a few racy hearsay anecdotes about Arkansas Governor Clinton, along with some Elvis jokes. When I thanked him for his hospitality and said I needed to move on, he said, “You come back tomorrow afternoon and help us eat the rest of this hog when the judges are done with it. I guarantee it’s best tasting hog you or any of the judges have ever eaten.” I did return the next afternoon, and I swear to this day I have never tasted a more tender, flavorful, seasoned-to-perfection barbecued hog in my lifetime. That hog should have won Jim the Grand Championship. I’ll never understand why it didn’t.

From then on we were brothers in smoke for eternity. Memphis, Des Moines, Kansas City—we cooked, partied, philosophized, drank, smoked, and had fun—year after year, and kept in touch with phone calls between times. We worked on a Barbecue Whole Earth Catalog that never saw publisher’s ink, but we had fun working on it and dreaming about what a success it would be.

Ardie Davis and Michael Quessenberry catching up at Memphis in May 2019.

Jim Quessenberry is an American Original. Jim and Arthur, his right hand man, plus Donna, his wife, and Lee and Michael, his sons—they know barbecue, and I am elated that Jim’s legacy lives on from father to sons. Today Jim smokes heavenly hogs while Lee and Michael smoke hogs and other meats here on Planet Earth. Kudos to them for picking up Jim’s tongs, firing up his pits, making and marketing his fantastic Arkansas Trav’ler sauces and rub, and giving Jim’s many fans a double dose of red-haired Quessenberry magic! Blessed are they who knew Ques. Long live his legacy!

Bonjourno! Like I Said, “Third Best!” Sauce Beautiful Gold Takes Third in “World’s Largest” American Royal BBQ Sauce Contest

Bonjourno! So we did a little thing and entered our brand new Gold Sauce in the KCBS/American Royal “Best Sauce on the Planet” contest and took third place in the mustard based category! The “Best Sauce on the Planet” is an honor given as part of the Annual American Royal World Series of Barbecue® tour and is the largest contest of its kind in the world. It featured nearly 400 entries from 36 states and 8 countries.

Break it Down

Category winners took top honors in five unique categories with an overall winner taking the “Best Sauce on the Planet” overall win. Congratulations to all the winners. We’re honored to be among friends as well as the best of the best. We look forward to seeing you all in the future.

  • Entries were all received by April 26th, 2019.
  • The categories were Mild, Hot, Vinegar, Mustard, and Specialty.
  • Sauces were individually tested in a blind taste test on unseasoned pulled pork.
  • The top awarded sauce in each category was crowned first place in the category where the highest overall score was named “Best Sauce on the Planet.”

 

Category Winners:

HOT TOMATO
1st Place – Pine Ridge Jalapeno Barbecue, Herbadashery LLC – Casper, WY
2nd Place – Q Barbeque Hot Zing Sauce, Q Barbeque – Glen Allen, VA
3rd Place – Meat Mitch Whomp! Competition Sauce, Meat Mitch – Shawnee Mission, KS

MILD TOMATO
1st Place – BONZ Barb BQ Sauce Original Flavor, J Pope Unlimited – West Lafayette, IN
2nd Place – Buckingham, Spicewine Ironworks – Columbia, MO
3rd Place – Triple Crown Organic BBQ Sauce Classic, Acme Organics LLC – Minneapolis, MN

MUSTARD
1st Place – Pine Ridge Sweet Mustard Sauce, Herbadashery LLC – Casper, WY
2nd Place – TD’s Brew & BBQ “Southern Mustard”, TD’s Brew & BBQ – Lovington, NM
3rd Place – Jim Quessenberry’s Sauce Beautiful – Gold, Bluff City BBQ Supply, LLC – Memphis, TN

VINEGAR
1st Place – FireFly Competition Sauce, Firefly Barbecue Limited – Glossop, Derbyshire, United Kingdom
2nd Place – Memphis Mop BBQ Sauce, BBQ Buddha – New Egypt, NJ
3rd Place – Rob’s Sweet Sophistication, Rob’s Smokin Rub & Frog Sauce – Manteca, CA

SPECIALTY
1st Place – BONZ Barb BQ Sauce Bold Flavor, J Pope Unlimited – West Lafayette, IN
2nd Place – JR Okie Smokie Gourmet BBQ Sauce – Chipotle, JR Okie Smokie LLC – Edmond, OK
3rd Place – Raspberry Tequila Lime, New Venue LLC ( Down Under BBQ) – Fridley, MN

 

What it Means to Us

We were thrilled to be a part of history and are even more thrilled to further cement Jim Quessenberry’s legacy in the history of championship barbecue. Using this honor to bolster our fanbase, we intend to continue our expansion of sales with online sales and local grocers. We’d like to take a few minutes to thank our fans, friends, and families for enabling us to grow even as we continue to press on with our busy schedules and day to day lives. It’s truly awesome to continue on with a legacy while paving new roads into the future of barbecue.

Pat Yourselves on the Back

We’d like to thank the following people for their help taste testing, labeling, bottling, mixing, and developing Sauce Beautiful Gold:

 

Product Development and Taste Testers

  • Jeff Marchetta
  • Patrick Wilson-Marchetta
  • Krystal Quessenberry
  • Donna Hill
  • Aaron Houston
  • Amanda Marks
  • Steven Trotter
  • Crystal Phillips
  • Brad Benefield
  • Natausha Light-Benefield

 

Lock ’N’ Load Tailgate Team

  • Jeremy McGinnis
  • Jim McGinnis
  • Jennifer McGinnis
  • Hannah McGinnis
  • Tommy Rohlfing
  • Josh Melton
  • Jeff Chastain
  • Josh Roberts
  • JoAnn Roberts

 

Manufacturing, Packaging, and Fulfillment

  • Delta Cuisine & Arkansas State University Mid-South, West Memphis, AR
  • Packaging Solutions Group, Jonesboro, AR
  • Arkansas Glass Co., Jonesboro, AR
  • Master Print Group, Jonesboro, AR
  • Hays Food Town, Northeast Arkansas
  • Food Smart, Jonesboro, AR
  • Food Giant, Northeast and Central, AR
  • Harp’s, Jonesboro, AR

Thanks to everyone for making this happen!

 

Lee and Michael Quessenberry