Celebrating Amerexit 241! Happy Birthday USA! Free Samples Update!

We ran out of free samples again! This time we limited our engagement to the United States only because our friends from across the pond got a little too excited and nearly put us in the poorhouse to cover shipping of the 75 whopping orders to the UK! Thank you to all who participated. We are currently developing some ideas on freight shipping via ocean transport that may be slower, but ultimately more cost efficient to get our goods across the pond.

This time we had nearly 600 people sign up for free samples! We can only realistically cover about 200 of those in the near future with 50 being our short term goal in the coming week. Samples will be packed and shipping out on a first come first serve basis as early as this weekend and we will continue to ship in groups of 10-20 each month until we get each and every one of you something to taste. You can bet your bottom dollar we won’t be opening ourselves up to another large free sample campaign for at least a year or more, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good deal on our products!

Use the code AMEREXIT at checkout and get 20% off of your entire order!

While our friends across the pond settle into their newfound independence via BREXIT, we are here to remind them that we will be celebrating our exit from the British Empire for the 241st consecutive year with copious amounts of alcohol, fireworks, and barbecue. We hope that each and every one of you has a safe holiday and we look forward to supplying you at least for the rest of the summer with the best barbecue sauces and rubs!

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How To Cook Championship Style Barbecue with a Gas Grill

Can you really use gas grills in competition?

You can't, but here's a recipe for some damn good ribs using charcoal.

I mean you didn't really think I was serious did you? Gas grill in a barbecue contest? In real life? I'm talking about barbecue, not cheap dollar store meat that's been burnt to a crisp and as dry as the Sahara desert.

  • Open the rib packages and use a pair of fish skinning pliers to pull the membrane (silver skin) off of the back side of the ribs.
  • Trim any excess fat or skin away from the ribs. You'll know if you see it.
  • Be sure to use Babyback ribs. Spare ribs are like spare tires. They work in a pinch, put they're not the best you can use. They're awfully full of gristle.
  • Rub each rack with olive oil to give yourself a somewhat sticky surface on both sides
  • With anything though, rub in moderation...excess rubbing can chaff the meat!
  • Use as much rub beautiful as you can get out of a single can and completely coat each rack with dry rub. You can't over do it because you just want it covered with a layer.
  • Sprinkle some rosemary onto the newly applied Rub Beautiful. Trust me on this. It's a real nice touch and it gives you a fresh hint of flavor.
  • Fire up your smoker and wait til your coals are "peak hot" or when the coals are white and glowing orange inside.
  • Once the smoker is ready, make sure you have an indirect place for the ribs to go and place them away from the flame for indirect heat.
  • Let the ribs cook for a couple of hours at around 250 degrees and check them for heat displacement if you're on a smaller grill. You may have to move hotter sides to cooler areas and rotate to avoid burning. If you're on an indirect smoker you're probably okay without this step. Rotisseries are best for cooking ribs.
  • About midway through cooking, remove each rack, wrap it in foil, and drizzle a cup or two of beer into the foil all over the ribs. Recover and wrap the ribs in the foil.
  • Allow the beer to permeate the ribs and soften up the meat while continuing a slow heat for the next hour or so.
  • Just before they're ready to take up, drizzle a little Sauce Beautiful on each rack and paint it onto the surface with a brush. Let it cook for a few minutes to give your ribs a sweet and sticky bark.
  • Once the ribs are ready to take up and have reached a safe temperature (I prefer 190 degrees), remove the ribs from the grill surface and cut each rack into ribs grouped in threes.
  • Ring the dinner bell, tell everyone to fend for themselves, and crack a cold one. You just made some amazing ribs.

Just a Bayside Girl, Living in a BBQ World

Many may not know my face and name, but I’m the fourth powerhouse behind Jim Quessenberry BBQ. My last name isn’t Quessenberry, nor do I have a round belly or fire-red hair. I don’t live in the Memphis-Jonesboro area and if you ask me the perfect way to smoke a brisket I’m going to have you call the brothers Q. But what I do have is an amazing friendship and now partnership with the Quessenberry Brothers and Jeff Marchetta that started over 5 years ago on the shores of the Outer Banks in Kill Devil Hills, NC.

I have been a Shore Girl my entire life; seriously, I’m from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. An often forgotten peninsula on national and state maps that is usually only seen via the one main road to get to either Virginia Beach or North to Baltimore and Jersey. But if you step off the beaten path and down some backroads, you will find some of the most amazing small seaside towns left in the country as well as some of the best seafood in the world. I lived on the Shore for 18 years, and as most kids in small towns do, packed up and swore I’d never be back again. I graduated from college, got an amazing job and my own apartment in a thriving area with an amazing nightlife. I had everything, or so I thought.

What I bring is a new way of looking at sauces and rubs for cooking. I think out of the box and find interesting and unique ways to use sauces and rubs for seasoning seafood.

You’re probably thinking, what the what?! How can you do this? Here are some of my favorite down-home Shore Girl recipes that you can easily do no matter where you live!

Until my now husband rolled into town, swept me off my feet and I packed all my bags and moved back to the beach with him to be stationed in Nags Head, NC with the Coast Guard. Here I met Lee Quessenberry while working in the same marketing department at the beach and became best friends.

We talked hunting, rooting in the mud and of course cuisine. We swapped recipes, BBQ for seafood and found that we both had a passion for this and Lee asked that I start helping with Jim Quessenberry BBQ. This turned into a friendship with the rest of the team and a now full-blown partnership within our company.

Oysters Raw with Jim Quessenberry

Note: The consumption of raw seafood products is at your own risk. But, don’t be a pansy, give it a try!

Raw oysters have been a part of the seaside life since the early 1600’s with the founding of Jamestown. Captain John Smith (Yes, the Pocahontas guy) made his way around the Chesapeake Bay and visited many areas of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, including a small island now called Saxis Island which was founded in 1624. From this landing going forward, waterman have made their living off of oystering and crabbing in the area, including my family. These watermen worked long hours to dredge and catch these delicacies for others, while feeding their family part of their catch and what else they could grow in the harsh conditions. This created a cultural breeding ground for some of the finest seafood recipes around.

Oyster lovers have many opinions about what you should and shouldn’t use as a dipper/garnish while eating raw oysters; there are nearly as many opinions about the best oysters in the world (Spoiler Alert: Seaside Oysters from the Eastern Shore win every time). Here are some garnishes that we oyster fans find acceptable to have with oysters:

Horseradish
Melted Butter
Hot Sauce Beautiful

DO NOT USE CRACKERS AFTER HAVING AN OYSTER! Our noses will fly high at you!

Of course, in my humble opinion the best combination of dipping sauces for raw oysters includes Jim Quessenberry Hot Sauce Beautiful and melted butter. It gives the oyster the fire of horseradish without the grain of the condiment and a smooth finish thanks to the melted butter.

  • 1 Peck of Oysters (Feeds a couple of people)
  • Horseradish
  • Melt a couple of sticks of butter in a saucepan.
  • Crack open oysters with an oyster knife.
  • Apply butter, Hot Sauce Beautiful, and/or horseradish.
  • Throw your head back and toss the oyster in your mouth.

Oysters Rockefeller with Jim Q Hot Sauce Beautiful

This recipe will give you about 3 dozen beautifully seasoned Oysters Rockefeller. Add amounts as needed for larger batches and bushels.

If possible, choose smaller oyster meat shells so there is space for your added garnishes.

  • 3 Dozen Fresh Oysters (Bonus Points for Chincoteague Seaside Oysters)
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter (Did I mention this won’t be a Paleo Recipe?)
  • 6 Tablespoons of Fresh Minced Spinach
  • 3 Tablespoons of Finely Chopped Onions
  • 5 Tablespoons of Breadcrumbs
  • *Jim Quessenberry Hot Sauce Beautiful to Taste
  • ½ Teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce
  • ½ Teaspoon of Rock Salt (Regular Salt Works as Well in a Pinch)
  • Grated Cheese to Desired Preference
  • Old Bay to Taste (DUMP IT ON THERE)
  • Lemon Wedges to Taste
  • Pry open them SOB’s and toss the back half of the shells.
  • Drain excess water from the oysters, leaving only a small amount under the meat.
  • If you’re wondering what to do with shells, post-dinner they are great for filling in potholes (Shore Pro-Tip for my Mid-West Fans)
  • Melt your butter and add all products into your mix.
  • Slather mix over oysters and broil oysters approximately 5-10 minutes dependent on heat source. You are looking for the edges of the mixture to curl or bubble and they are ready.
  • Slap them on a plate, let cool for 5-10 minutes and get your saucy seaside delight on!

Steamed Shrimp & Crabs

I know you’re thinking….how on earth can you use Jim Q for shellfish? Really it is an easy concept. What is the main ingredient for steaming shrimp & crabs? Drumroll….OLD BAY!

Old Bay is an absolute must for any self-respecting seafood recipe. I will never tell you to not use this seasoning in replacement of anything because I’m certain my relatives that have passed will come down and strike me with lightning. So, use it! Mix Old Bay with Jim Quessenberry’s Rub Beautiful to make a spicy mix that will delight the tastebuds. Combine Vinegar, Beer, Water and your season mixed into the appropriate size pot and have yourself a low-country boil no matter where you are. Throw in some potatoes and corn and you have yourself a full meal!

As a seafood lover, I love to hear about other recipes! Send your seafood inspired-Jim Q recipes to us at [email protected]

  • 1 Bottle Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 Gallon Vinegar
  • 1 Gallon Water
  • 2 lbs shrimp
  • 1 dozen new potatoes
  • 5 gallon pot
  • Mix 1 gallon of water, 1 gallon of vinegar, 1 gallon of PBR, and a seasoning bag with a bottle of Old Bay and a bottle of Rub Beautiful into a slurry in a 5 gallon pot. Allow the slurry to come to near a boil.
  • Add shrimp, crab, corn, and potatoes to the slurry and stir as they boil. Boil until potatoes are almost soft.
  • Drain water and pour the food onto a giant picnic table covered in newspapers and dig in!
  • Serves a good sized family, a basketball team, or a 2 person sailing team (they work up a huge appetite.)

Let’s Go on a Barbecue Adventure in Jim & Donna’s Lunar Rover: A 1980’s Chevrolet Astro Van

It's been a crazy week this week. My neighbors decided to burn their leaves in a pile on top of the cable tv tap for the block that I live on, my mother is in the hospital for pneumonia, I'm just now preparing my tax documents, and my family is in mourning over the loss of my Uncle Dave. It's not the normal grind I'm used to when it comes to running a business or two on the side, but I will prevail. In the meantime, I'd like to tell you a story. It's a story I've unearthed during long blocks of thought and reflection and it all began returning to me when the environment was just right on a late trip back to Jonesboro from seeing my mother in the hospital in Searcy.

I guess it was in the flat bottomlands and delta between Possum Grape and just north of Newport, Arkansas that I really felt the chill of memories tingling up the back of my spine. There I was, alone in my red truck, with the windows down and the thermometer sitting at a perfect 66 degrees. I had the radio on listening to one of my very long and curated Spotify playlists called "Cool Summer Nights," a playlist mostly comprised of 1980's pop and rock music with some relics from the 1960's and 1970's thrown in for measure. It was the soundtrack of my life from birth to age 8 and was often blaring through the speakers of my first spaceship, a mid 1980's Chevrolet Astro Van that my mom and dad drove. The fainting glow of the sun just below the horizon, the rush of damp cool wind from the delta bottoms blowing through my hair, and the beat of the end of an era marching me right along down Rock'N'Roll highway 67 was something I have been missing for a while. I began to visualize myself along with my family in a simpler time; a time before BBQ sauce was a commercial endeavor for my parents, much less Michael or me.

The period marked the upheaval surrounding the inevitable beginning of the fall of the U.S.S.R., Michael and I had a pet snapping turtle named Michael (Duke) Dukakis, The end of the Cold War was nigh, and George Bush was making play for a presidential bid. Dad had already been to Ireland to win the International BBQ Cooking contest once and was returning to do it again. The period was between 1986 and 1989, specifically 1987, with some memories peppered in from other years in the range. The backseat of the van with giant side windows, a sliding door, and no presumptions about knowing how to drive reminded me of an astronaut sitting in a capsule with star fields on all sides. I can remember reclining back in the seat and hearing the radio play thinking to myself that there was no place I'd rather be than right there with my mom and dad as mission control creeping slowly down the gravel roads looking at stars, thunderstorms, coyotes, and deer. We spent hundreds of nights on the St. Francis River Levee fishing, frog gigging, and watching the FedEx planes with landing gear engaged, flying in and out of Memphis like bright white army ants marching to and from a colony, single file and never late.

Some of those nights on the farm ended with a toolbox or cooler full of bullfrogs. I guess it was destined to be in my blood, but Dad was frog gigging when I was pushing my way into the world. I am almost positive it was out of season since my birthday is March 31st and as far back as I can consciously remember, frog season begins on tax day, April 15th, but I digress. Once my brother and I got older there were nights when Dad and his best friend Arthur Lee McDaniel would take us along for the ride. They were masters at frog hunting. We'd roll out in my mom's van with the night's sky as our canvas and spotlights as paint brushes. Arthur and Dad would be high-fiving each other in the front seat driving across cow pastures and fields looking for ponds, swamps, rivers, and ditches to catch frogs. Sometimes Dad would just fit as many of the slimy jumpers as he could down the bib of his overalls and hop his way back to the van. Arthur would run and catch the fast ones and put them in his cooler. We'd come home and have dozens of frogs to eat.

Many of those turn rows, gravel roads, and levees ended up back at home where Dad would have a giant smoker or cooker fired up to cook enough for 100 when he needed to cook for 10. I can remember swatting mosquitoes sitting on our screened in front porch watching Dad pull hot aluminum foil apart with his fingers, cussing up a storm, shaking his hands with burns, and basting a big pork shoulder or a dozen or more whole fryer chickens with a mop and a saucepan full of homemade Au Jus. I can still feel the refreshing breeze of the dew fallen grass breaking the monotony of the still of night. The air was fresh and cool with the occasional hint of Au Jus and a slight sting of vinegar, spices, and smoke. The radio was usually tuned to FM 100 or Rock 103 out of Memphis and there was always a Phil Collins or The Police song keeping time and marching through the night. I'd usually lie there in a folding chair or one of my bean bag chairs and keep one eye pried open just watching and listening to my Dad work. After Michael and I finally settled in for the evening it was one of the best times for us to learn the ways our Dad cooked. We'd watch with content until we either drifted off completely or were reluctantly running hand and foot back and forth to the kitchen to grab utensils, pans, ingredients, and so on.

On the nights when we weren't at home during the summer, we were usually on a river bank somewhere in the mid-south preparing our speeches for the BBQ judges, sharpening our knives, playing flag football with the other teams' kids, and helping Mom and Dad prepare for judgment day at a regional Memphis in May circuit BBQ contest. While other kids were camping with their parents, uncles, brothers, and cousins, Michael and I were camping at Tom Lee Park in Memphis listening to tall tales of bullshit and trickery from all over the world. When we weren't in Memphis, we were hanging out in Little Rock, Nashville, and every small town in between. Everywhere a new place, but every person new or old was a familiar face. No matter the venue, we went there via a Chevy Astro van. No matter the mission ahead, the van was our portal to whole new worlds complete with a starry night sky and alien lifeforms all too different from Cherry Valley, AR. As a child of the 1980's the older I get the more I long for another night under the stars with my family making fun of old drunkards, sometimes punching them in the face, and sugaring up to my older cousins' new wives or girlfriends.

Before you go, I want to leave you with a recipe for frog legs that will have you hopping onto our online store and buying a few things to get your 80's montage on while you grill some shrimp and drink Bloody Mary's with your friends.

  • 24 frog's legs, skin removed
  • 1 (4 ounce) packet saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion
  • Rinse the frog's legs and pat dry; set aside. In a large resealable bag, combine the saltine cracker crumbs, flour, cornmeal, onion, and Hickory Steak Rub. Shake to mix. In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
  • Heat the vegetable oil and peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. The oil should be about 1/2 inch deep.
  • Dip the frog's legs into the milk and egg, then dip into the cracker mixture until evenly coated. Carefully place them in the hot oil. Cook until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes per side. If the legs start to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Drain on paper towels before serving.
  • To Cook
  • 2 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Marinade
  • 2/3 C. soy sauce
  • 1/2 C. olive oil
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. ground ginger
  • 1 medium yellow onion minced
  • List Item2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Combine marinade ingredients and marinate shrimp overnight in the mixture.
  • Skewer shrimp and grill over direct charcoal heat for approximately 20 minutes.
  • Serves 4-6
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • lime wedges
  • lemon wedges
  • Garnishes: cherry tomatoes, celery stalks, Shrimp Quessenberry, pickled okra, olives, or pickled green beans
  • In a large pitcher, mix tomato juice, vodka, barbecue sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce (optional), celery salt, and horseradish.
  • Moisten the rim of each glass with lime or lemon wedge; dip rims in celery salt. Fill glasses with ice and tomato juice mixture. Garnish with lime wedges, lemon wedges, tomatoes, celery, shrimp, okra, olives, and green beans, if desired. Makes about eight cocktails each 8 ounces.

6 Tips On Driving A Clown Car Through a Labyrinth of Success

1. Get A Clown Car

Back in late 2015 our business was operating using a measly clown tricycle. It was red, had the fringe streamers hanging from the handlebars, and painted with a crazy red spiral on hub-capped rims. It was the epitome of textbook tricycles. We even had a bear that rode on the back pedals while Michael wore his bright red honking nose cruising aimlessly from one ring to another begging for circus peanuts. It was a tired and sad grind that we were hopelessly stuck with for the foreseeable future. If only we had some good advice or a drive to do more...

It was another long year in the showbiz and through tireless promotions, canvassing, and local shows and as our promoter I had grown weary of watching Michael and the Bear twirling around in circles for peanuts. Something had to give way. It was then, in that very moment that the three of us, very talented tricyclists, realized what we needed to do. It was a bold move and it would forever forge us in the fires of fraternal fortitude, but it had to be done. With great humility and sacrifice the bear and Michael and I as clowns approached The Great Boy, Runner of Errands, Manager of Leads, and Artist Now Formerly Known as Shareholder of whom wisdom and knowledge has no limits, with a question regarding what to do next in regards to expanding the Greatest Show in Northeast Arkansas into other realms of the land. He spoke and said unto us,

"I can just see it now. Y'all ridin' up there to REDACTED DISTRIBUTOR's place all piled in a clown car, making deals, and clowning like y'all do so well. Give me a f$%^ing break!"

It was in that moment that we knew we must immediately get a clown car, so we got three; well two that run and one in a garage, as well as a new clown to add to the show.

Unfortunately for The Errand Boy, this act of pure wisdom drew all of his power from him and he had to be put out to pasture to wait for another group of clowns to bring him along for the ride. In this single act of selflessness the Errand Boy became the Artist Formerly Known as Shareholder left to reflect on his choices and grow bitter while claiming that,

"Q-Sauce Taste Like Ass."

only to walk away with a dented 1980's refrigerator.

In the mean time we, the bear and two clowns, needed to move on and begin driving the clown car forward to the next act. Along the way, we claimed a sailor named Lynn, our newest clown, to our troupe and have been navigating a labyrinth of success.

I'd like to share some of the obstacles we've faced and how you can drive your clown car to success as a business, or at least avoid obvious pitfalls and barricades along the way.

2. Beware! Clown Cars Run On Fuel

Believe it or not, your clown car runs on the same gasoline, diesel, or electricity as other similar automobiles with exception to maybe the Batmobile and the Delorean from Back to the Future, but more often than not (about 99.99975%), your clown car will physically run on liquid fossil fuels or electricity. In this case, you must constantly fuel up the car to make deliveries and no fuel burns faster than your own. Unfortunately when you're operating a business and bootstrapping it from the ground up, there are sacrifices to be made for the betterment of the company and your clown car is no different.

Caption: Jeff drives the clowncar with a trophy in it just to feel special. It makes the shows much better when the trophies are there.

When you first start out, your clown car needs to fit the job it is handling. For instance, our clown cars are both early to mid nineties Ford trucks. One is an F-150 and the other is a Bronco. The F-150 is our main hauler and we use it to set up and tear down our demonstrations, haul tables and chairs, haul palettes of ingredients, and haul our clown in training to and from clown workshops. The Bronco is used for short distance deliveries and local hand to hand deliveries making appearances all over Northeast Arkansas. It is useful in the rain because the cargo space is contained and has a roof.

Doing all of these trips in the clown car(s) will burn an immense amount of fuel. If you remember, I stated that your own fuel burns faster than someone else's. While this is true, it is also more efficient because it is your sacrifice and you don't have to reimburse another clown or live in the pocket of another circus. This means that not only is the gasoline yours, but the profits of the business are yours as well. We prefer to use our own fuel to operate our clown car(s) because that means we keep a larger portion of revenue without worrying about paying anyone back.

3. Be Careful! Drive Slow When You Need To.

When we were on our tricycle, we were driving it as fast and hard as we possibly could to get from show to show. It was taking a toll on us and the trike. We even tried to pull a giant steel barbecue smoker with it and just barely got that smoker to its destination before we had to return the circus peanuts that we borrowed to pay the guys that built the smoker. We learned that going to fast and picking up too much weight along the way was bad for the clown trike mobile and we decided to take things down a notch for the new clown cars.

The thing is that no matter what happens, if you intend to grow your circus into a full three ring event, you're going to need a reliable clown car. That means you need to take it easy and cautiously and move in a single forward progression as you take the hills, curves, and bumps along the way. Driving the clowncar too fast will cause the giant 3D bobblehead on top to bounce off, or even worse, you're going to crash it. The road from here to showbiz is full of curves and hills, but there are staightaways too.

4. Be Swift! Take Straightaways At Full Speed.

If your tank is full and the highway is clear, move as fast as you can to build your business with the resources you have. The importance here is on the RESOURCES YOU HAVE. If you don't have the resources you need to set up your circus tent and stunt track, then review what you do have and make the best of it. It's difficult to run a race without tires, fuel, energy, and some tune-ups along the way, but when you have that stuff accounted for and the getting is good, then go get it. For a short while, throw caution to the wind and let the wind blow through your curly clown hair. It feels good to run a business that gets ahead once in a while. When the opportunity is there, take it.

5. Be Vigilant! Don't Take Jokes from Other Clowns.

Sometimes when you're on the straight and narrow path to the next show you'll run across some other clown that would rather see your clown-car crash and burn than be successful. When this happens, don't drink the Kool-aid. Just smile, honk your big red nose, flip em the bird, and keep rolling. People will often tell you that other people detract from your work or ideas because you have something the don't. Sometimes this is true, but sometimes people are just assholes. It doesn't pay you either way to find out. What does pay is the incentive to work and strive to put your best foot forward. Allowing an amateur clown to get under your skin shows vulnerability and weakness. Taking time to slow down and address these detractors wastes fuel and destroys your ability to recover from the mud slinging.

6. Always Set Waypoints.

Not knowing where you want to go in life is a sure fire way to not know where you're going. When you're in your clowncar, its no different. Before you depart for your next circus act, research a place and set goals for your next event. Learn as much about the new event or location as you can before heading that direction. Upon arrival, assess the situation and see if the event or place is as it seemed. If its not, don't commit any new resources to it. Unfortunately for us, we didn't know where we wanted to be with our adventure in building BBQ smokers for other clowns and we kept committing resources to a project that ended up producing a third of what was expected AND almost didn't pay back the loan taken out to build with. This is probably reason numero uno of why you should plan and debrief all the people in your clowncar before you make hasty decisions. Fortunately we've since been in better communication with all the people in our clowncar and have had fewer collisions and accidents along the way.

For a taste of what our clown car can deliver to you, have a look around in our shop. Be sure to use the word CLOWNCAR for a discount during checkout.

Never Settling: Building a Barbecue Sauce Company

Working With Family

In the beginning, there were only 5 of us with some supporting actors and recurring cast members, but when the doors were locked and lights went out, it was usually Mom, Dad, Michael, Arthur, and me. Although Michael and I were children, we had been making BBQ sauce since the late 1980's. It was a dream of my Dad's and he chased it through the rough times and the easier times. Nearly each and every batch from the stove top to the mixing tank was handled, mixed, and packaged by Mom, Dad, Michael, Arthur, and me. There were exceptions of course, especially when the Parker family came to put on labels and hang out with Dad, and the times that my best friend Ryan would pull all-nighters on the weekends to fill orders.

Little did we know that we were building a brand that would outlast the production line it represented. My Dad was a farmer suffering from losses in drought, financial burdens, and physical handicaps, so making sauce went from being a hobby alongside BBQ contests to becoming his only source of income to raise two children along with my mother, Donna, who was working as a kindergarten teacher to survive.

After a few years, the sauce business closed up shop and we were left with thousands of mementos in the form of unused labels for jars, business cards, and other marketing collateral of a business left in tattered ruins, but what we hadn't realized is that the branding and products were seared and branded into the back of everyone's mind in Wynne, Parkin, and Cherry Valley and we were only to be reminded of that demand every day and every time someone mentioned BBQ so something had to change.

Surviving College

After Michael and I moved out of Cherry Valley and into Jonesboro we began hustling non-labeled or retro labeled pints of sauce to have spending money in college. We borrowed our grandmother's kitchen and pots or simply used our apartment stove whenever we needed to make a small batch. Those days were some of the biggest slaps in the face because we were being told by some of Dad's best friends and confidants that the sauce wasn't right and didn't taste right. We were close, but not quite on the mark until one day Michael found Dad's Rosetta Stone of a day-planner book and some scribblings of a recipe on the back of a piece of cardboard that fatefully hadn't been tossed in several years. It was like deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphic runes, but luckily for me, Michael had a degree in Quessenberry Codex that he and my Dad made up to talk in code behind my back to make fun of me.

From that point on, we locked in and started to kick around the idea of a new business. Things were good for a while and then like two young brothers sometimes do, we started to aggravate one another and ultimately parted ways. Michael continued to chase the dream and I started to work on other projects while becoming a newly-wed and furthering my career as a website developer.

After we cooled off a few years later, we began working together again as brothers and partners to rebuild our legacy.

Protecting Your Assets

In September of 2014, Michael and I agreed to license the manufacturing and distribution of our products to Bluff City BBQ Supply, LLC, which is the official name of our company now although we're currently DBA under Jim Quessenberry BBQ. The idea was to establish a 3 year licensing agreement to sell the sauces and spices while building a full BBQ supply store.
We agreed to meet with our other partners at Memphis in May to discuss the future of the company and the opportunities that lie ahead of us. In that moment we were introduced to Jeff Marchetta, our partner and would later become our best friend.

After it was apparent that our best and only products sold were our own, we decided to dump the BBQ supplier mission and focus only on our products. During this tumultuous phase our now former partner spent resources we didn't have trying to pry our brand away from our products through fear-mongering, ultimatums, and pseudo-legal action. In the end, he walked away and we grew stronger with Jeff as a huge asset to our company and our marks and brand still in tact.

Overcoming Obstacles & Cutting Your Losses

During the end of 2015, it felt like we had 40 plates spinning at once. Although we had all but abandoned the idea of selling hardware, cooking utensils, cookbooks, and other stuff you can readily buy on Amazon.com or at Lowes, we still had a large elephant in the room. Several months prior we had all agreed to try our hand at building smokers. It was a good idea but met with overwhelming odds and a team that was already falling apart from the inside. The idea was to have the Helmets to Hardhats group learn to weld and fabricate while building our smokers so we were helping build American jobs while offering a top of the line smoker at a fraction of the cost of other big name smokers. Unfortunately there's a huge problem with that. Using training labor like that produces sloppy and inconsistent work at no fault of the fabricators because they're aspiring and learning their trade, but it also slowed production significantly thus pushing back any efforts or momentum we would have had selling and marketing them. We had also borrowed the money, albeit on a very fair personal loan, to build the 3 initially planned smokers. Due to numerous setbacks and a shortage of common sense when it comes to realizing how much steel actually weighs, we destroyed the axles of several trailers and burned through the build money quickly. It was a wake-up call and one of the ultimate reasons that we have stuck to our own wheelhouse of producing sauces and spices. With a few days to go before repayment, we sold the only prototype smoker to a friend and barely broke even. It was time to make some changes and learn from our mistakes.

Making Ends Meet

Shortly after most of the events around the smoker and the alternative facts almost-lawsuit regarding trademark and copyright infringement between Quessenberry Bros vs The Commercial Appeal, we received a letter from an attorney tendering resignation of his client as a partner in the business. After a few laughs and sighs of relief it was time to hit the books and see where we were going into 2016.

Going into 2016 was bittersweet. On one end of the spectrum, we'd done really well through the holidays selling gift baskets, but on the other hand we felt like we nearly sold the farm to pay for the cow with the custom smoker build. Fortunately, we didn't take a huge hit and we went into 2016 with a new sense of spirit and confidence. With a lot of the worst of 2015 behind us, we were able to bounce hard in the spring and ramp up sales for summer.

*More on the "Alternative Facts" Commercial Appeal almost lawsuit in a separate post to come.

Rebuilding A Team

During 2016, we were gracious to receive help from our good friend Derek who needed some running money because he was fighting an uphill battle with Veterans Affairs, so we agreed to give him gas money and some commission on sales for every grocery store he could fit jars on a shelf. After three or four months in, we had stores coming to us asking for our product. We still have a don't ask don't tell policy with Derek and his persuasive sales techniques, but nonetheless, we're happy with his contribution. Derek sold sauce until his backpay from Uncle Sam came in so he proudly quit peddling sauce and has taken to hunting, fishing, and helping his Dad who is also a combat veteran. He got us through a tough spot running routes and expanded our volume of wholesale sales singlehandedly.

During the late spring, our newest partner joined and has been raising the bar for our retail sales continually since she started. Lynn Black, a very good friend of ours who I initially worked with in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, decided to partner up as a shareholder and take on the task of digital and inbound marketing for retail sales. It has been extremely smooth working with Lynn because no only because she gets the concept of marketing digitally online, but she gets us as teammates. This is something we'd never experienced in prior years.

Lynn is a military wife and has built a small empire in the Conch Republic that revolves around digital media marketing and inbound lead capture techniques. When not working on BBQ Sauce with us, she is hustling with me to build local websites and market real estate online. Having lots of time to herself while Ryan is on a boat gives Lynn a unique opportunity to excel as an entrepreneur and as a member of our team.

Realizing Brand Value

In the midst of all the noise around our former partner and redefining ourselves, the cloud of fog surrounding our new brand, Bluff City BBQ Supply, lifted while revealing what was there in front of us the whole time. It was Colin Ruthven's illustration of Jim Quessenberry taking the world championship of BBQ home to the United States from Ireland and it has been the symbol of our brand since the late 1980's.

It was in this moment of realization that we realized something great was in our midst and that we didn't have to build an entirely new brand, but we needed to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of a once successful brand that my Dad established. In doing so, we had to pay a few thousand dollars in back franchise taxes in the state of Arkansas to clear the Brand of any potential liability no matter how benign or critical it could have been. With that monkey off of our backs, we refiled our Articles of Incorporation in Tennessee, added Lynn as a formal shareholder, and amended our operating agreement to remove our former partner as well as adding a DBA of Jim Quessenberry Barbecue to the paperwork.

We were back to what we knew best and it was a load of unnecessary effort that had simply vanished for the better.

Realizing Your Attributes

So far in 2017, we've enjoyed a period of rest without the hustle and bustle of trying to sell tongs, coolers, aprons, and smokers on our website. Taking the direction of selling our own products and narrowing our efforts to a single operation at a time has been one of our biggest strengths when combined with focused dedication and clear objectives. Once the dust cleared, it was obvious that we had realized our best qualities in each other as a team and we were going to move ahead in 2017 with a boosted confidence in retail sales as well as continued growth via grocers and variety shops.

With Lynn's skills as an inbound marketing specialist combined with Jeff's skills developing our bottom line expenses, our range of abilities has actually increased the effectiveness of our marketing and sales. Going into December of 2016 we actually outsold some of our prime barbecue season spring and summer months because we were able to shift and adapt as a team to provide gift baskets to one of our favorite local shops, Caldwell Discount Drug Store, in Wynne, Arkansas. We sold nearly 50 baskets to them alone and were just 3 shy of 100 for the entire holiday season. This was proof to us that we can work perfectly as a team without all the distraction and posturing that we'd been accustomed to internally prior to 2016.

Running Your Best Running Back

In the fray of all the account maintenance, production, marketing, and daily tasks, one thing was for certain. Sauce Beautiful is our workhorse. It piles up the yards, is a key player of our major successes, and works well as a lead blocker, or in this case a sales lead enabler, to allow our other products to establish their own successes to put more numbers on the scoreboard. Rather than spend money advertising the unknown, we're putting our advertising into the known and increasing the height of sales with the original recipe so that we can begin looking for other opportunities of growth.

Never Settling

In conclusion, we've learned to never settle for sub-par performance, negativity, coercion, manipulation, or deceitful business practices from within or from outside forces. Each move we make is carefully calculated and we take time to do things the most effective way. Our products are carefully crafted to perfection so that everyone gets a taste of our success and our products. We hope that you enjoy our products as much as we like making them for you.

2 Years of Putting the Q in BBQ

Last month we celebrated the two-year anniversary of our company, Jim Quessenberry BBQ. For me that was the beginning of my journey with Jim, although fans know Jim Quessenberry’s BBQ sauce has been around for over 30 years. My adventures with Jim have seen a lot of ups and downs the last two years, but I can easily say the good times have far outweighed any bad times. The stories told by Jim’s sons, Michael and Lee, and Jim’s many acquaintances have provided me with enough pieces for me to create an image in my mind of the man and the legend. I am also pretty confident the apples didn’t fall too far from the tree. A few weeks ago I was going through my camera looking at the pictures stored in it. I picked some pictures which best capture the last 2 years to share with you as we celebrate our anniversary and look forward to many years ahead.

~Jeff Marchetta

 

SAIICE BFATIIITIIL

9/11/2014 SAIICE BFATIIITIIL. Enough Said. Check out that Shrink wrap!

2

2/2/2015 “You just got to get it in their mouth…..” @ Charlies Meat Market

3

4/5/2015 Duct Tape, Card Table, Sauce, and Lee at Hays on Gee St.

Family

10/17/2015 Making sauce becomes a family affair…. like everyone. Love these kids!

BC4000

11/16/2015 The One and Only BC 4000

Demo Wset Memphis

6/2/2016 Hello West Memphis!

Clown Car Walnut Ridge

8/5/2016 The Clown Car Rolling through Walnut Ridge

Similarity

8/16/2016 I kind of see the similarity

It goes where we go

9/21/2016 I do talk to it occassionally

Try Samples of Jim Quessenberry BBQ This Weekend!

JugLargeWe’re on the road again! Meet the boys of Jim Quessenberry BBQ at Hays Supermarkets in Walnut Ridge, AR with Lee Q in attendance!

Want more Q in your life? Come to Hays Supermarket in Blytheville,AR and meet Michael Q on Saturday from 10:30a-4pm on Saturday.

Enjoy some free pulled pork samples prepared by chef Michael with Jim Quessenberry’s sauces and rubs. Don’t worry we will have plenty of products on hand for purchase and don’t forget about ourJUGS OF Q for $24.95!

 

More Sauce for Your Buck

Oh Girl You So Saucy! 2 Oz. More to be Exact!

Yep, you read that right. Our latest and greatest bottles now include more of our delicious saucy goodness! Purchase any new bottle of Jim Quessenberry’s Sauce Beautiful & Hot Sauce Beautiful and receive an additional 1.5 ounces! It gets better, with Jim Quessenberry’s White Sauce Beautiful, you can to have an extra 2 ounces! Add some of these saucy products to your dinner tonight.

Check our bestsellers!

Jeep and BBQ Weather

If you follow me on Facebook, you can see that I have been enjoying the weather. I lose my doors and roof as much as I can. Unfortunately, as a ginger I burn if I don’t wear sunscreen. It’s a love hate relationship. I need sunlight in the winter, and get too much in the summer. There is something about feeling the warmth of the sun and the breeze on my face that just makes me feel amazing no matter how crappy of day I might have had. Top that off with some Zeppelin blasting through the stereo. It’s like a mini vacation everyday.

Also, I broke my Weber out recently. My neighbor grills almost everyday, and we will hang out and cook on our respective grills and share a beer and some laughs. The mosquitoes have not made it out yet, and for that I am thankful. So far it’s been a pretty good spring. Below are a couple of the meals I’ve cooked:

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I like to grill sweet peppers and sweet onions a lot. I generally cut the onions and peppers up in small strips, and a little olive oil, add a little pepper medley or just black is fine. Once they are all seasoned up and ready to go I’ll put them in a vegetable grilling dish, or foil that’s perforated. Just set them directly over the fire and let them cook until they soften up. I like to take them the next step and let them caramelize a little bit.

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I used to hate mushrooms until one day a friend showed me how she does hers. Take your portabella and simmer it in sun-dried tomato dressing prior to grilling. Cook directly over the fire as well. I like to just get some good grill marks on it, and get a little smoke flavor in it.

The asparagus, I will season the same way as the onions and peppers. Grill them directly over the fire until they are slightly wilted occasionally turning as grill marks are made. Once the asparagus is finished, add a little lemon juice to them.

I used olive oil and our BBQ rub to season the chicken breasts. Once they were seasoned I threw them over direct coals and let them cook a few minutes per side. I didn’t time it, but it didn’t take long. Once the outside had nice grill marks, I flipped it and let the other side do the same. I typically cook on a two zone fire, placing my coals to one side of the Weber. In the event that something isn’t done enough I simply place it to the indirect side and let it finish cooking with out burning the mess out of it.

The burger was actually a turkey burger this time. I seasoned it up with our hickory rub and cooked it the same way I did the chicken. It’s nice to have a thermometer with you, but I didn’t at the time I just cooked my burger until it quit gobbling.

 

Keep Cooking My Friends,

Michael Q