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Houston barbecue sauce takes first place in statewide H-E-B competition
Houston man among winners of H-E-B Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best.
Media: JW Player
Dennis Butterworth knew his barbecue sauce was good when some of his competition smoker friends started winning cook-offs with the homemade sweet-tangy elixir he was making in small batches. So he decided to start bottling and selling F.U.B.A.R. Elite BBQ Sauce (For Use on Butts and Ribs) in January.
That newbie sauce born in Houston is now poised to be a supermarket hit. F.U.B.A.R. won first place – and a $20,000 check – during the 2017 H-E-B Promo Picks Quest for Texas Best, an annual competition aimed at kickstarting culinary businesses by bringing them from obscurity to the shelves of the Texas grocery giant.
“My jaw hit the floor,” said Butterworth of finding out he was tapped from nearly 600 Texas businesses that applied to be among the competition’s 25 finalists. Those finalists – which included beef jerky, bone broth, honey, cheese rolls, empanadas, cakes, salsas, salad dressing and chilaquiles sauce – made presentations before judges last week in Austin. That’s where Butterworth’s sauce, which he used on pork ribs and pulled pork, scored with judges. F.U.B.A.R. tied with Lorraine’s Original Mini Texas Pecan Cakes from Bertram, for first place. The $25,000 grand prize was awarded to Skull Cakebones, a vegan dessert company in Austin. Tamale Addiction, a line of organic tamales from Austin, took second; Mi Tierra Salsa Verde from La Familia Cortez Restaurants in San Antonio came in third.
For Butterworth, the win was validation that his sauce, which he makes at a rented commercial kitchen, hits all the flavor notes with barbecue fans. He calls F.U.B.A.R. a “truly Houston-style barbecue sauce” because it is, like the Bayou City, a melting pot of cultures: the sauce combines flavors of barbecue traditions from Memphis, North Carolina and Central Texas. “We borrowed some ideas that were out there. Once we got the base we liked, we thought it was a good core flavor, then we started adding,” he said. “It took a lot of research.”