Chewing the Fat
With Debbie Barnes, Co-producer of Uncle Mabe's Ruby Red Barbecue Sauce
By Gwyneth Doland
I understand you guys will be bringing your Uncle Mabe's Ruby Red Barbecue Sauce to the upcoming Fiery Foods Show. Tell me about the sauce and what kind of flavor you were going for in creating it.
Well, my husband Ray developed it. He played with it for months and we ate a ton of barbecue while he was trying to perfect it. Mostly he wanted something spicy because we really like New Mexican flavors, so he wanted to do something with red chile powder. It's also a mildly sweet sauce. A lot of barbecue sauces are sweet but not necessarily spicy. Ours is both.
When did you first start making it?
The first time was in 1999. We bottled it to give out as gifts and then more and more people were telling us we should sell it. We just started selling it this last November, so it's really been a very expensive hobby until now.
Have you made any money on it yet?
Uhhh ... no. We haven't turned a profit yet.
Where did the name come from?
My husband's father's name was Mabon but they called him Mabe and so we named it after him.
You guys haven't been to the Fiery Foods Show before?
No, this'll be our first year and we only have our one little product to take but we're excited.
Do you have any idea what to expect?
We're hoping to get some good exposure, maybe meet some more people who'd like to put our sauce on their shelves.
Where can you find it now?
We have it at Keller's [Farm Store] on Eubank, The Fruit Basket on Fourth, El Mercado Co-Op on 12th and a couple places that do gift baskets.
People who come to the show do a lot of buying there. Do you have a stockpile of the stuff?
We do, we have tons. And we'll be selling it for a special price at the show.
Do you know anything about the other products that will be there?
I know that Food Processors of New Mexico, the people who make our product, will be there.
How did you get hooked up with Food Processors of New Mexico?
My husband went through the Yellow Pages looking for processors and visited four of them. He chose [Food Processors of New Mexico] because he thought they were the most sanitary and had the best equipment and set-up.
Does the sauce out of the jar taste at all different from the sauce you guys make at home?
When [my husband] first made it he made one big pot that would probably fill six jars and I said, "Ray, how are you going to make sure that this tastes the same when they make a batch that will fill probably 500 bottles?" But he's an engineer and he worked and worked at it, weighing all his ingredients and making this formula. The first batch we tasted [from the processors] was amazingly similar.
Do you have plans to make any more products?
We're thinking of developing some meat rubs. We make them and give them away to friends and stuff now.
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