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IDEA ALLEY: Last of Shack barbecue sauces for inquisitive Kats

by Kelly Brant | May 18, 2022 at 1:54 a.m.
(Illustration by Kelly Brant)

Recipes that appear in Idea Alley have not been tested by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

This week wraps up our Shack sauce saga. This is the last bit of space and time I'm going to devote to the Shack for the time being.

My thanks to Hal Matthews, Joy Carter and Sue Meyer for contributing recipes.

Matthews writes:

"My dad was a shareholder of the Shack (long, long time ago) and this was what he had for the subject. Not sure if foregoing is really the Shack sauce recipe but thought I'd share it with you."

Shack Q Sauce

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 ounces chili powder
  • 1 bottle garlic salt (assuming small)
  • 1 "small can" pepper
  • 1 "small jar" prepared mustard
  • 2 small bottles of ketchup
  • 2 small ketchup bottles of water
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • 1 bottle Tabasco (see note)

Mix dry stuff. Blend in mustard, add liquids.

Bring to boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Note: Bottle size was not included. Matthews assumes a small bottle. Also noted with his father's recipe was "For real hot" so Matthews suggests using less or none for mild sauce.

■  ■  ■

"Here is a recipe for 'bbq' sauce. My friend swears it is the Shack sauce," Carter writes.

Shack BBQ Sauce

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ small bottle Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 38 ounces ketchup

Mix well.

Enjoy all summer.

■  ■  ■

Meyer notes this recipe for the Shack barbecue was printed in the Arkansas Democrat on May 24, 1989.

"While we like spicy foods, the recipe as printed is too hot for us, so after experimenting, I use three tablespoons black pepper instead of six," Meyer writes.

Shack Barbecue Sauce

  • 4 cups Hunt's ketchup
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons chili powder

In large heavy sauce pan combine ketchup, vinegar, water and onion. Thoroughly mix dry ingredients together, then stir into ketchup mixture.

Bring to rapid boil, reduce heat, simmer 1 ½ hours, stirring every 10 minutes.

Mixture will reduce by half. Put into sterilized bottles to cure.


Still searching for ...

◼️ Lasagna recipes, ideally like that served at The Villa long ago.

◼️ Chicken 1620 from Restaurant 1620 (and Alouette's before that), which closed several years ago. According to newspaper archives the dish was "thinly sliced chicken breast sauteed with mushrooms and finished with Madeira.''

◼️ Chicken Prego from the also-closed Cafe Prego. A review in our archive described the menu favorite as "a baked pasta dish with chicken and fettuccine in a creamy tomato sauce and baked beneath a not-too-thick layer of cheese."

◼️ Crisp broccoli in creamy sauce like that on the buffet table at Panda Garden in Little Rock. "It is topped with cheese but is not a typical broccoli with cheese casserole."

◼️ Fish coating like that at Lassis Inn in Little Rock.

◼️ Fried chicken like that at John Noah's restaurant in Pine Bluff.

◼️ Salsa like that at Bleu Monkey Grill in Hot Springs.

◼️ Chicken tinga, shredded chicken in red sauce.

◼️ Chicken and Hearts of Palm soup like that served at Cafe Bossa Nova.

◼️ Ginger cookies like those sold at Boulevard Bread Co. in Little Rock.

Email recipe contributions, requests and culinary questions to:


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