A little history on Backhills Barbecue Sauce, and Its Makin' by Troy Gordon

Can you smell the kitchen aroma of barbecue sauce cooking with freshly chopped herbs and spices being stirred in? Are your taste buds ready for a new, scintillating experience which is sure to capture your loyalty for years to come? If yes, then welcome to the Backhills Barbecue Sauce experience.


Originally, I am from Oklahoma. Even though I have not been there for over 30 years, I still remember how good a homemade barbecue sauce can be. My dad and I used to sit with a Hasty Bake Barbecue in our garage with the door open, watching tornado type winds tear shingles off the roofs in the neighborhood while we were barbecuing chicken. He got the sauce from somewhere, it was homemade, and better than anything you could get in a store. That was a long time ago, but I never forgot the difference between a mass produced store bought sauce and a homemade one.


I used to be a property manager and as such, was able to travel the country pretty often. In different cities, I would try to pick up the local favorites of sauces. I got tired of buying barbeque sauces on my business trips and getting home only to discover that I had been had yet again. So I decided to make my own.


How hard could it be? I am a pretty good cook. After all, it is only sugared-up spiced-up tomato water? Actually, it proved to be much harder to come up with a new sauce than I thought. Since I had no idea what kind of spices or what kind of sugar went into a sauce, I had to peruse the ingredient lists on the many bottles of sauce that I had paid good money for and was too cheap to throw out and that were cluttering up my refrigerator.


It wasn't a very impressive lists of ingredients in most cases. Lots of chemicals in almost all of the main line mass produced sauces, and frankly, the small independent ones weren't much better. There were things I had never heard of, things I did not find in my spice-rack no matter how many times I spun it around; bad things I couldn’t pronounce.


And then they were listed in a descending order of amounts.


What the heck is Xanthan or Xanthum Gum? and how come you can spell it either way and still be right? How was it that I had been cooking my entire life and had never sprinkled some of that "bad boy" on my food for that extra special flavor, which only “the outer coating of a laboratory-grown micro-organism, called, Xanthonomonas campestris” can give to an entrée? Why do a lot of "Organic" barbecue sauces sold in "Health Food" stores have it as an ingredient. Bugs are organic too, but I don't want to eat them. To quote an old TV commercial, "Parts is Parts" doesn't work for me.


Maybe, I was missing the boat. I had been thinking about tomato sauce, brown sugar, molasses, peppers, “secret spices” - stuff like that.


Well, anyway, I didn’t have any fancy chemicals or micro-organisms, so I just used what I had on hand to make a taste that would light up my taste buds a little, give a good flavor to food, and afterwards would hang around a little in the mouth. I really like garlic, peppers too, not much salt, onions are good, blackstrap molasses tastes like road tar, but medium is nice, no oils or fats, no meat products, got to have vinegar, brown sugar is better than white sugar, what kind of smoke flavoring is available? It was all very simple, the Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur, the rebuttable presumptions that arise……….. oops, sorry, wrong story. After several attempts, the sauce (you devotees have come to know and love) - was born!


Originally, Backhills Barbecue Sauce was served surreptitiously at backyard barbecues, the unsuspecting guests teased by the flavor they had never experienced.


They would ask and say, “What is this sauce? Where did you get it? You made it! Wow! - can I take some home?” Bringing an empty jar to my barbeques was a good idea.


As my experiments continued, my guinea pigs (I mean my guests) wanted to have my Backhills Barbecue Sauce bottled for gifts - then they wanted cases of sauce for gifts. Mason jars were the order of the day. Pretty popular jars around here; people still can up a lot of things, and they picked up an extra jar.


At various shows around the area, my all natural Backhills Barbecue Sauce would fly off the table - once it was tasted. “You like me, you really really like me!” I trilled, much like Sally Fields accepting an Oscar - but, then I realized that it wasn’t me - it was the Backhills Barbecue Sauce! Then people wanted a hotter version, no problem.


At this time I was between jobs, and at my age I was wondering what I could do to make a living. A nationally famous conservative radio talk show host used to devote the occassional program to letting people that had lost their jobs to downsizing, or out sourcing, or whatever, tell how they had started their own businesses and become entreprenuers. When I first heard these shows I had a good job and got to travel and thought these shows "quaint", never thinking I would be in that situation. The host would question the callers about how they succeeded, what were the turning point, why the particular business, etc. His advise to succeed was always, "Find something you are passionate about and do it. If you love it, it is not work." That seemed like pretty good advise to me, the sauce was well received, I had proven I could sell it, all I needed was the guts to take it all the way. Those radio shows gave me the incentive, the success I had enjoyed at the various venues I presented the sauce gave me the courage to go forward, friends and family helped me get started, and Backhills Barbecue Sauce was launched.


Here's what SandpointOnline.com General Store says about
our sauce. . .


"This is the sauce that put Backhills Barbecue Sauce on the map. A tangy collection of tomatoes, molasses, vinegar, peppers, garlic, onions, honey, spices and other ingredients.


"Backhills Barbecue Sauce originates from deep in the forests of northern Idaho, a place where tastes are as rugged as the wilderness itself! Produced by Troy Gordon from a recipe he cooked at the demand of friends for years, a lot of North Idahoans swear by this sauce for all sorts of meats and plenty of creative uses, too, as in chicken salads or on bacon and sausage. One dip into this backwoods culinary wonder and you’ll agree."


About our Backhills Barbecue Sauce and Flavors. . .

Backhills Barbecue Sauce is “chock-full of goodness,” in which you can see the garlic and onions, and the various spices.


It's a very rich and thick gourmet sauce, bursting with flavor. The Original Backhills Barbecue Sauce outsells all the others combined.


You will recognize Backhills Barbecue Sauce by the logo, which is a picture of a bearded gentleman stirring a large pot while his assistant feeds the fire under the cauldron.


I think people are tired of mass produced foods in general, much less barbecue sauce. The chemicals, the preservatives, the high-fructose corn syrup, and over-processing. However, our sauces (I am proud to say) have no preservatives and are all natural.


You can taste the unique flavor of these sauces, all of which (emphasized) have fresh Habanero peppers used in their making.


Each batch is made at the University of Idaho's Food Technology Center. We have a small crew that has worked for years together and we cook much like an orchestra, we all have our parts to do to make the whole. Bottom line, you get a unique locally produced Idaho product and keep jobs here in the state. Backhills Barbecue Sauce now comes in three flavors: Original, Hot, and Sweet N’ Sassy with more to come.


Our sauces are available at Yoke’s, Rosauer’s, Super One Foods, Harvest Foods, Family Foods, Egger’s Meats, Tim’s Custom Meats, Sonnenberg’s Market, Pilgrim’s Market, County Merchantile and numerous other locations throughout Idaho, Washington, Montana, Oregon and now recently, in Palisade, Colorado at Family Food Town, and of course, online here at www.backhillsbbq.com.  You can see the full list at www.backhillsbbq.com/find-a-retailer/


With Backhills Barbecue Sauces, you don’t have to just barbecue with them. You may dip with it, mix it in your hamburger patties or meat loaf, spread across hot dogs, do barbecue beans, or use it on barbecue chicken pizza.  Many hunters, in the backhills (actually mountains), use it as a marinade for venison or elk - and, it makes a great base for jerky as well. I tell people to fry their bacon and dip it into the Sweet N’ Sassy sauce. After you try it, you may never eat bacon - plain - again.


This is a little history of how Backhills Barbecue Sauce came together into a blend of sauces sure to please.


Best Regards and Barbecues,