The Smokestack Lightning Interview Tapes: Cleveland Rib Mafia

Here we have another segment from the Smokestack Lightning interview tapes. Jim Quessenberry tells his story of locking horns in Cleveland over ribs, and how his ribs went missing like Jimmy Hoffa.

The Smokestack Lightning Interview Tapes: Jim Quessenberry’s BBQ Origins

I have recently come across some amazing recordings that I believed were lost to time. But, I did a little research and uncovered these amazing treasures. I reached out to author Lolis Elie, and he directed me to the Southern Foodways Alliance. He had donated all of the cassettes to them. There is more to come… Listen below as dad tells Lolis Elie and Frank Stewart a little about his beginnings in BBQ. -Michael Quessenberry

Interview with Jim Quessenberry by Lolis Elie and Frank Stewart

Lolis Elie: [00:00:01] Well, how did you get into this barbecue business? And, you can go back before the sauces themselves… the sauce and rub…

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:10] Um… It’s been basically a hobby all my life, and…

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:16] Actually, BBQ has been a big part of… uh…

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:21] Most of our family… uh… celebrations… be it Easter,

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:28] Fourth of July, all your three day weekends, like your labor day, and Memorial Day, and that type of thing, you know?

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:37] Um… Even Christmas.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:39] Somebody’s always barbecue and something, you know, my brother-in-law over here. He always prided himself and doing a wild goose. I think it’s wild… maybe domestic… he always does a goose for Christmas and you know, I’m always doing something Christmas a big fresh ham or something, but…

Lolis Elie: [00:00:56] You say fresh ham, you mean green or like…

Jim Quessenberry: [00:00:59] Yeah Green ham. Yeah. I didn’t know you knew what a green ham was man.. Where you been learning all this shit?

Lolis Elie: [00:01:04] I used to read Green Eggs and Ham, man.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:04] *laughs*

Frank Stewart: [00:01:05] He’s a smart boy.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:06] Yeah he is.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:13] You’d be surprised how many people don’t know what a green… what green meat is.

Lolis Elie: [00:01:17] Oh no, I, We… The people at Craig’s and Duvall’s Bluff.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:21] Yeah.

Lolis Elie: [00:01:21] I was trying to figure out if they were doing green or slightly smoked, so I got the terminology. But I can tell you where I got it from. The guy at Cozy Corner, Ray Robinson… When you go talk to him, tell him, Uh.. you know, tell him you know us. In fact, we told him we come here to see you.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:34] Yeah.

Lolis Elie: [00:01:34] We told him about you.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:36] Yeah, I want to meet him.

Lolis Elie: [00:01:37] Also, he has a totally different style from everybody else… If we even talk about food… half… shoot… At this point, half the time it’s not about barbecue. It’s one of our stop off points. If we finish, you know, doing Memphis in May, We will crash there for a minute.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:01:51] Yeah, I’m gonna check him out, but I need me a new place to stop.

Frank Stewart: [00:01:54] Oh Yeah. He’s efficient. He closes at 7.

Jim Quessenberry [00:01:54] Oh really?

Lolis Elie: [00:02:02] Yeah.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:02:02] Independent type dude… That’s what I like.

Frank Stewart: [00:02:03] Opens promptly at 10, and closes promptly at 7.

Jim Quessenberry: [00:02:03] That’s great!

Frank Stewart: [00:02:03] He is not open on Sunday and Monday.

Lolis Elie: [00:02:03] Right.

Jim “The Arkansas Trav’ler” Quessenberry: Serious Contender for The Barbecue Hall of Fame®? The BBQ Central Show Thinks So.

Steve Ray standing in for Greg Rempe as the guest host of The BBQ Central Show asked the other embedded correspondents of the show, Doug Shiding, David Huff, and Jon Solberg who they would choose to be inducted into the The Barbecue Hall of Fame®.

Steve Ray and Jon Solberg both gave a nod to Jim “The Arkansas Trav’ler” Quessenberry due to his pioneering career in competition barbecue along with the impact he made on many current barbecue legends, teams, and competitions along the way.

We’re all holding our breath until 2pm CDT May 29, 2019 when Greg Rempe will announce the winners on the show. Wish us luck! Live stream is below:

https://www.youtube.com/user/rdrempe/live

Barbecue Hall of Fame Semi-Finalist Press Release

MEDIA ALERT

Will Gregory

American Royal Public Relations
[email protected]
816-645-6116

Kansas City, MO., May 24, 2019 — The American Royal is pleased to announce the Barbecue
Hall of Fame® 2019 Top 9 Semi-finalists from this year’s nominees.

  • John “Big Daddy” Bishop, Tuscaloosa, LA
  • Aaron Franklin, Austin, TX
  • Meathead Goldwyn, Chicago, IL
  • Michael Ray Higgins, Mesquite, TX
  • James Lemons, Chicago, IL
  • C.B. Stubblefield, Lubbock, TX & Austin, TX
  • Wayne Monk, Lexington, NC
  • Jim Quessenberry, Memphis, TN
  • Desiree Robinson, Memphis, TN

Each year, the Barbecue Hall of Fame has the pristine honor of inducting three individuals that have
impacted the world of BBQ. For a full calendar year, nominations for this honor are sent in from
individuals throughout the world and this year, we received over 50 nominations. At the close of the nomination period, each individual nominated is reviewed by the Hall of Fame
Nominating Committee and the list is reduced to the top nine. The nine semi-finalists are then reviewed and voted on by Hall of Fame voting members. Voting members include the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee and all living Hall of Fame Inductees.

The three 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees will be announced on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Barbecue Hall of Fame Induction ceremony and events will take place during the 40th American Royal World Series of Barbecue® held at the Kansas Speedway, September 13 – 15, 2019.

 

About the American Royal Association

Woven through the history of Kansas City since 1899, the American Royal provides opportunities for
youth and adults from around the country to compete in our Livestock Show, ProRodeo, Horse Shows,and the World Series of Barbecue®. These events allow the American Royal, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization, to give over $1 million annually for youth scholarships and support agriculture education programs. In 2018, over 101,000 attendees attended American Royal events generating over $60 million of economic impact.

To learn more about the American Royal visit AmericanRoyal.com.

The Beautiful Imperial BBQ Stew

This is a recipe that uses a Dutch Oven, it could be modified for a Crockpot, but I’m not sure how the timing would work out.

  • Serves 4-6
  • Cook time: 55 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients

The recipe takes quite a few ingredients including beer so get ready for a hearty meal.

  • 2 lbs of Stew beef, chuck preferably
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 large carrots
  • 3 medium white potatoes (skinning optional) chopped into 1” chunks
  • One large onion, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 11oz of Imperial Porter Beer (a smoky malt is the best)
  • 5oz of Jim Quessenberry’s Sauce Beautiful
  • 2 Tablespoons of Grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
  • Ground sea salt, ground pepper, seasoning salt, smoked paprika to taste

 

Instructions

  1. Put the dutch oven on a medium burner with the grapeseed oil.
  2. When the oil is rippling put in the stew beef and turn until evenly browned, add the garlic and flour in halfway through this process.
  3. Dump the Carrots, Potatoes and Onion in the dutch oven, add salt, pepper and paprika.
  4. Add Imperial stout, careful it may froth up.
  5. Add Sauce Beautiful
  6. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes or until simmering. Turn on oven to 350°
  7. Set dutch oven on a middle rack for 20 minutes.
  8. When 20 minutes is up check on stew, if it is not thickening enough, cook for the last remaining 20 minutes uncovered.
  9. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

 

Serve in a bowl with a glass of the same porter beer and a hunk of hearty bread to sop up the broth.

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

Hey Joe! Where You going with that fork in your hand?

Holy smokes! We’re giving away a Weber Smokey Joe just to see who can step up and claim bragging rights for their recipes involving tabletop grills. Think you have a good dish? Well then dish it out.

Are you the master of bratwurst at your local picnic table? Do you live in a van down by the river but yearn to entertain guests by cooking steaks one at a time? Are you a vegan looking to start small on your journey to real food? If so, the Smokey Joe is right for you. If you already have one and are an ace grillmaster of all things small, let us know. We want to hear about it. Leave a comment below and be sure to check out our latest giveaway.

In the mean time, here’s a simple bratwurst recipe fit for a tabletop king!

Go get some Johnsonville Brats at your nearest grocery store. If you like the cheese ones, that’s cool. We’re going to add a little twist of flavor to them that will set you apart from the rest of your tailgate team. Got the brats? Okay good. Fire up the Smokey Joe with a handful of coal.

Now we need some other ingredients. Crack a cold one. Drink about half of the beer just to get your mind set and then fill the can or bottle back up with Sauce Beautiful to make a 1:1 beer to sauce ratio mix.

This is where the magic happens. Pour that beersauce mix into a sauce pan or some other kind of container where you can mix it up. If you have a baste brush, that’s great. If you don’t, get a spoon and get to mixing. Once the beersauce is mixed well, set the brats in the pan and let them rest while you carve up an onion.

Mince or slice the onion into pieces that are just small enough to be bitesized but not too small that they can fall through the grill later on. Roll up some foil and/or use a camp pot or small pan with a quarter stick of butter and the onion slices. Dash them with Jim Quessenberry’s Steak Beautiful for a nice even seasoning and then sautee them in the foil/pan/pot over the coals of the Smokey Joe. 

While the onions are cooking and making things smell so good, make sure your fire has a nice pleasant orange and white glow but not raging with flames. Lay the brats on and let them warm. DON’T BURN THE DAMN THINGS! I’ll know. Brats are best cooked slow. Eventually the brats will begin to plump over the warm coals. Baste them a few times with the beer sauce mix. Let them warm until they look like they’re going to explode. That way they’re super juicy. Pull a view onion slivers from your sautée pan/pouch and place them over the brats to get a little char grill flavor.

Once the brats are plump, you can serve them. Take them up along with the onions and serve on large hot dog buns. Spread a few onions on top and drizzle with sauce beautiful for a nice summertime treat at the campsite or back yard.

If you’re interested in more information on the Smokey Joe, here’s a brief history from Weber.

Dear Dad, We did it. We’re successful and growing every day.

Every so often I like to take a moment to pause and look around. I like to reflect on the successes and lessons learned during this journey. I often think to myself and wonder what my Dad would be thinking if he saw what we’re up to. I can’t help but wonder what he’d think of the time, organization, and production we’ve so meticulously developed through repetition, trial, and error.

Would he have better ideas on processes we use? What would his thoughts be on the new recipes we’ve developed on our own? I don’t doubt that he’d embrace and like everything we’ve done, but I would wonder what his first impression would be.

As I wonder all of this I begin to think to myself about the successes our team has had and the growth we’ve had that are beyond anything Dad ever produced and I smile. Moreover I think to myself how we couldn’t have done it without help from our partners, vendors, facilities, and more importantly, our fans.

Over the past 4 years we’ve had our ups and downs, but year after year we build upon the last. We’ve launched six products, three of which are original to the new generation of Jim Q. We’ve expanded our reach both online and in regional stores. We’ve made lasting connections with great people and we’ve added flavor and happiness to thousands of people.

To each and everyone who has and continues to support us, we thank you.

What’s New?

For starters, we have an all new set of products with maximum flavor. We have a Georgia gold style sauce with just the right amount of mustard tangy punch, a mix of spice, and finished off with a smooth sweet slather of brown sugar. It’s one of our new favorites and is featured in this month’s Grill Masters Club.

Sauce Beautiful Gold.

When you take the inspiration we’ve had over the years combined with the experience that was inherited from generations of recipes handed down from our family members, things get exciting in the kitchen. The last few years have brought two newer recipes to our collection that are sure to please those of you looking for a more savory flavor profile without a ton of sweet overpowering your palette. We learned from our good friends over at Big Bob Gibson’s that Alabama style white BBQ sauce is great for fish, chicken, and beef. It’s a tangy lemon, horseradish, mayonnaise blend with lots of zing.

Sauce Beautiful – White

The other savory option we have for you is our hickory seasoned Steak Beautiful , an Arkansas favorite featuring one of our favorite smoke flavors, Hickory wood smoke. This rub is absolutely made for steaks, brisket, beef ribs, or burgers. We’ll give any Texan a run for their money with real trees not bushes, because “God gave the Texans Mesquite. He knew their soil was too poor to grow Hickory.” ~Jim Quessenberry

Day 21: Our First Guest Blog Post

I’ve been hoping to capture some of the thoughts of my good friends and family and share them here.  You all may get tired of Lee and I writing all the time. 😛  I thought to myself.. why not get a few friends that love food and love to write about food to share their thoughts and ideas. The following is our first guest blog post by one of my longest friends, Brad Benefield.  Stay tuned for other guest blog posts as well. Some maybe about our dad in the prime of his career, and some may also be about food in general, all should be interesting and entertaining…

-Michael Quessenberry

Growing up with the Qs by Brad Benefield

Jim Quessenberry, or “Quess” as everyone called him, said the recipe for Sauce Beautiful came to him in a dream. Growing up around him, that doesn’t surprise me in the least. Most of us as children begin with an almost infinite capacity for creativity and imagination. For whatever reason, that ability is often lost as we begin to age, with only a small ember still burning within us. It always appeared to me that Quess never stopped dreaming. If anything, his imagination and creativity seemed to become bigger with each year he was on earth. In my memories of Quess that is what stands out to me; He was always creating, joking, and dreaming. Creativity just seemed to flow from him. People loved to sit and talk with him because you never knew what to expect. Every day he had a new joke to tell, a new recipe to cook, or a new invention to build.

As a kid, I knew very little about BBQ beyond the idea of throwing meat over a fire. After becoming friends with Michael and meeting Jim, I quickly learned that it was much more than that. The work and nuance that Quess and the other great cooks put in to making truly great BBQ elevated it closer to an art form than just making a meal. Everything had to be just right: the quality of the meat, the type of wood in the smoker, the sauce, the rub, the temperature; it all culminated into some of the best food I had ever eaten. Also something about the way BBQ is prepared feels like an ancient thing that we forgot about somewhere along the way. There is something very peaceful in the practice gathering around a fire with friends, smoking a pig, and enjoying each other’s company.

Even as a kid, I knew Sauce Beautifulor as everyone in our hometown knew it “Quessenberry Sauce” was something special. It has been wonderful to see the sauce grow and change over the years. I know Jim would be happy to see how Michael and Lee have kept his dream alive and added their own creativity to their father’s legacy. The original Sauce Beautiful is still the same wonderful thing Quess dreamed up so many years ago, and Michael and Lee’s new white and gold sauces add a new spin to that give even more originality to an already unique product. I feel confident in saying wherever the story of Sauce Beautiful goes in the future, there will always be a new joke, a new story, and a new dream just around the corner.

Sauces

Day 19: Remembering Our Loved Ones

Hello friends,

So much has been at play this month. We started out the month by launching our current giveaway (Free BBQ Sauce). We began blogging like crazy. (Check it out) We have been demoing at some stores and contests. Memphis in May International BBQ Contest was last weekend. (I got to see some familiar faces there in the BBQ world). All of these things have kept us super busy, but you guys have kept us motivated. We love BBQ and to see that you do too makes us very passionate!
We want to show our appreciation of your support, and do so in remembrance of our father who accomplished so much in the world of BBQ. Dad loved cooking in general, and he loved people. Click here to learn about who our father was.
Alongside our father, we also want to take this time to remember all the men and woman who have died for our rights in this country. We are here because of their ultimate sacrifices, and it is important to remember that, and not take everything for granted.
While you are cooking out on Memorial Day, enjoying some wonderful BBQ, or chowing down on some grilled burgers and hotdogs, remember what the day is about.

Thanks for your continued support!

Michael Quessenberry

Coupons:

‘JIMFTW20’ FOR 20% OFF OUR ORIGINAL RECIPE BBQ SAUCE
‘THEBRAVE’ FOR 10% OFF EVERYTHING IN THE STORE EXCEPT COMBOS