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Smokin’ Hogs BBQ Sells ‘That Other 15%’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Long before he started selling his barbecue sauce base, Jim Namish developed it to save himself some time. Before he created his base – today made at the Common Wealth Kitchen Incubator in Youngstown – he made the six sauces for his catering company, Smokin’ Hogs BBQ Co., separately.

“That got old real quick,” he says.

So he went about figuring out what the sauces had in common and developed something that he could add to distinguish each sauce.

“Barbecue sauce is 80% or 85% ketchup. This is that other 15%,” Namish says. “It’s a starting point, just like you have a chicken base or a beef base for soup. This a base for barbecue sauce.”

While he no longer operates the catering business, the sauce base is available at Roscoe’s Poultry and at farmers markets. He’s also working on getting his base into local specialty stores.

The difference between the two businesses, he notes, provided the longest learning curve. To be a caterer, the rules are straightforward when it comes to food safety. What surprised Namish was how much more he had to do to even get his product in the market.

“This is totally different,” he says. “You have to register with the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], have to have a scheduled process, do all sorts of paperwork and we sent a sample out to Cornell University [to get nutritional information].”

Namish sees a twofold appeal to using the base instead of simply buying ready-made sauces. First is the matter of storage. It’s much easier to store a 16-ounce jar of barbecue sauce base than a gallon of sauce in a cabinet.

Second is the cook has a wider range of options. To make his standard barbecue sauce, he adds seven ounces of ketchup to an ounce of Smokin’ Hogs base. From there, the possibilities are nearly endless.

“If you want it to be honey barbecue, you add some honey. You want bourbon barbecue? Add in some Jack Daniels,” he explains. “You can make this any way you want. The only limit is your imagination. Everyone makes their own best sauce.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.