Science teacher makes barbecue sauce


O’Daniel’s second version of packaging his barbecue sauce. He packaged the sauces to sell to family and friends. (Photo used with permission by James O’Daniel)

Audrey DaVault, Of The Talon staff

Science teacher James O’Daniel created his own barbecue sauce with his brother. O’Daniel said he and his brother started around seven years ago. Initially, he said it was supposed to be something he and his brother shared.

“Probably around 2016, my brother and I wanted to make a barbecue sauce. So, we just bought a bunch of random stuff, put vegetables on a smoker, put everything in a pot, and started adding stuff until it was good. We wrote down everything we added, so our first recipe was just a piece of paper. It was very random. We were just trying to make a good sauce, and it was good,” O’ Daniel said.

He and his brother, O’Daniel said, are the perfect duo to create a barbecue sauce.

“My brother always liked making different sauces. He’s a sauce guy and I was always the smoker guy. I like to barbecue, stuff like that. So, we decided to make a barbecue sauce,” O’Daniel said.

O’Daniel said It was never intended to be packaged.

“We didn’t set out to bottle it. For the first few years, we would put it in mustard or ketchup bottles,” O’Daniel said.

O’Daniel said that they have experimented with other flavors, but are now just focusing on one sauce.

“We only make one flavor of barbeque sauce right now. We have tried to make a couple of others, like a white barbeque sauce, and we have made a peppery sauce, but that one wasn’t very good so we scraped that one. We have tried to make five. But right now, we only have the one that has a good recipe, so it is just the original one,” O’Daniel said.

Junior Jillian Brennecke said she couldn’t be more pleased with the original recipe.

“I don’t just like it, I love it because it has a sweet and kinda spicy taste to it. It’s just the right amount of sweetness and spiciness,” Brennecke said.

O’Daniel said they bottled it for a fundraiser, and have continued since.

“We started to sell it last summer to friends and family. We started bottling it when we sold it for the football team fundraiser, during the cornhole tournament last summer, and people started to want more, so we have made it a few more times and been selling bottles of it,” O’Daniel said.

Study hall teacher Taylor Green said her family loves it and they are consistently using it.

“We use it more often than not. Any time there is something on the grill, the bottle of sauce is nearby. My dad actually likes it so much he sat it out for our Christmas dinner. Our friends and family enjoyed it so much that we went through an entire bottle. We now are down to one bottle and have to use it very sparingly. I absolutely will be purchasing again [and] I hear there is a new batch in the making. 10 out of 10 would recommend it,” Green said.

O’Daniel said he is excited to see how the business grows.

“There is nothing set in stone. We actually just started an actual LLC, an actual business. So we will try to get that going and then maybe try to get it in farmers markets, maybe get it into a butcher shop. Maybe we will be the next Sweet Baby Rays!” O’Daniel said.

To Green, she said O’Daniel’s barbecue sauce is better than Sweet Baby Rays.

“Personally, I love the sauce. It isn’t your average Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce. There is a hint of heat at the end,” Green said.

O’Daniel said he prefers to dip food into sauces, rather than coating it in the sauce when he grills.

“If you have any barbecue needs, it is even good for dipping. I add it to ranch or mayo to spruce up the sauce. It makes it a sweet, smoky, and spicy sauce,” O’Daniel said.

Brennecke said she also likes to mix other ingredients with the sauce.

“I use it with pretty much everything other than ketchup. I would most definitely purchase and recommend it,” Brennecke said.

O’Daniel said his sauce is flavorful.

“Your original taste is that it is really sweet, and then it is sweet and smoky, and then on the back end, it is spicy. There have been batches where it was too sweet, and there have been batches where it was too spicy. We are trying to lock in the perfect combo, although you never know what kind of peppers you will get,” O’Daniel said