Why only commercial sauces in the Sauce Championship?

Understandably, many cooks would like to submit their homemade sauce in a competition but, find that all mail-in competitions require that the entry be a commercial sauce and labeled with a UPC. There are several reasons for these requirements.

First, there is food safety

There is no way to determine the process used to create a sauce, the bottling of the sauce or the sanitation followed in the creation of the sauce. Every cook has different standards. At competitions, we have all seen someone lick their fingers or wipe their fingers on a dirty cloth and touch food to be submitted and think nothing about it. Tasting sauces at homes and competitions usually involves sticking a little finger into the sauce licking it as though that finger is somehow cleaner than an index finger for this purpose.

Luckily, we all have plenty of acid in our digestive system and other protection against many pathogens and, for the most part, these actions are fairly safe. In particular, a sauce newly cooked would normally be free of live bacteria and other pathogens making it acceptable and safe to consume. Sauce that is bottled and stored for weeks or months poses a different problem.  Given time, any live bacteria that only numbered a few hundred at the bottling stage multiple into the millions.

Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli and Listeria bacteria in food cause food borne illnesses.
Staphylococcus and Clostridium botulinum bacteria produce a toxin (or poison) as a byproduct of growth and multiply in food and cause food intoxication.
Clostridium perfringens can multiply in food to cause food poisoning.

At at sauce competitions, the entries are tasted by dozens of judges. If only a single entry is contaminated, there is the potential for many people to become ill or worse. This risk is reduced by allowing only commercially available sauces for the competition.

Second, the common standard prohibits unknown submissions

We dislike this part as much as the next person but, submissions from individuals in unlabeled or homemade labeled containers present a risk that is no longer acceptable. There is very little that can be done to verify the identity of a person submitting a sauce. The risk of unintended contamination is sufficient to require commercial preparation but, the risk of intended contamination must be considered.

At a competition, the teams are personally present, have experience preparing sanitary food and have their reputation on the line. These small differences are enough to address the concerns of safety and altered products. With a mail-in competition, these safeguards are not present and the risk is greater.

For these reasons, all submissions to mail-in BBQ sauce competitions are usually required to be commercial sauces. Our Sauce Championship follows these same standards. We hope that competitors understand and, at competition, in your home, at your smoker, we will gladly taste and enjoy all your cooking, spices and sauces.

Head’s Red BBQ Sauce – Made in Illinois Series

Head’s Red BBQ Sauce has a long history of awards.

As posted on their site, Heads Red BBQ sauce is a product of Head’s Red BBQ which is based out of Roselle, Illinois. The Heads Red site states that Bill Mehilos developed Head’s Red BBQ Sauce when he got involved in BBQ competitions in the Midwest area in 2002. He states he always enjoyed cooking authentic slow cooked BBQ at home and decided to try his luck competing with other BBQ cooks from across the country in these competitions.

We hope they don’t mind that we took a photo from their site until we can get our hands on a bottle. Full disclosure, we freely pilfered the photo and text from their site, it’s not ours.HeadsRedBBQbottle

He took his home sauce and developed a winning combination. The sauce was a big hit and worked well for him on the competition circuit garnering him calls in different area BBQ competitions including Grand Champions in Racine Wisconsin in 2006 and 1st Place Award of Excellence from the national BBQ Association in 2010.

Check out their site in order to find a retail outlet where you can purchase the sauce. We are heading out today to get a bottle and will try it this weekend.

Mumbo BBQ Sauce – Made in Illinois Series

Profiling another Made In Illinois BBQ StoryMumbo2

From the Mumbo Sauce site:

After serving in the United States Navy, Argia B. Collins moved to Chicago’s west side in the mid-1940s, where he worked for his eldest brother who owned a local grocery store. There were six Collins brothers. All were spirited entrepreneurs who opened rib joints across the city heralded for world-class barbecue.

In 1950, Argia B staked his claim on Chicago’s south side, opening his first restaurant in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood. He eventually opened two more locations including one in Gary, Indiana. A culinary perfectionist, Argia B wasn’t impressed with the ho-hum national brands available to restaurants at the time. So, inspired by his southern roots, he crafted his own tantalizing new sauce—sweet, tangy, savory, sublime! His restaurant soon became the test kitchen for the delectable recipes he would create experimenting with exotic spice and seasoning blends.

Collins embarked on a major advertising campaign to promote his popular and now widely-distributed barbecue sauce. MUMBO SAUCE gained national acclaim with its 1970 LIFE Magazine debut. The word was out. MUMBO became the sauce for discriminating palates, and Argia B’s Bar-B-Q restaurants became a must-visit destination for barbecue lovers from across the country.

From the History of Mumbo