Spotlight On: SLAP SAUCE

Dixie Caviar’s ‘Spotlight On’ showcases both established and up-and-coming Southern artisans across a variety of creative fields. We’ll be talking shop, the South, and their very best recipes. Read on! Happy Monday, Dixie Chicks! Today I am stoked to introduce you to SLAP SAUCE, a delicious brainchild from my old college pal, Micheal McCord. SLAP SAUCE is a savory, Southern mustard-vinegar hybrid meant for dousing anything from pulled pork to chicken wings, stir-frys and pretzels. Honestly, Walt and I pour this heavenly nectar into, onto (and under!) anything we can think of. After glazing some Hebrew National beef franks in SLAP SAUCE recently, Walt uttered with all seriousness, "I don't think I'll ever be able to eat a 'regular' hot dog again..." Now that's a telling statement!

Tell me about yourself: My name is Michael McCord and I'm from Atlanta, GA. I'm an Auburn grad, Braves fan, Husband, Father, Brother, Son, Libra.

Tell me about a day in your life: With two kids under the age of 2 at home, I wouldn't confirm that my life is like driving 100 mph around I-285 and chunking the steering wheel out the window, but I wouldn't deny it either. I would say its a perfect mix between 'Groundhog Day' and 'Big Trouble in Little China'.

How did SLAP SAUCE get started? I would love to say that it’s an old family recipe that has been passed down and preserved throughout my family’s history, but in actuality I whipped it up in my college kitchen one Saturday morning before tailgating for a football game. It has had several tweaks since that first run, but the main components have stayed the same.

As for bottling it, it was kind of a fluke. In 2008, SLAP BBQ entered the Annual Atlanta Butt-Off at SweetWater Brewery and won Best Sauce.  Now, it wasn’t just family and friends asking for bottles of SLAP SAUCE, but complete strangers wanted to know where they could buy it. I knew it was a great sauce but had never thought about bottling and selling it until that moment.

Tell me the biggest challenge you have experienced thus far? The greatest success? The biggest challenge I have experienced so far would be managing my own expectations. Trying to introduce a new food product is the definition of a "hurry up and wait" process.

Tell me where you see SLAP Sauce in five years: I would love to see our products in stores and markets all around the South. I have plans for two additional sauces and one all-purpose rub, so hopefully they will be well received.

What is Southern about your product/company/brand/business? Well barbecue is the quintessential Southern fare so.........

Tell me who and/or what currently inspires you and your brand:  My family and friends are incredibly supportive, above and beyond really. I draw my inspiration from time spent traveling; the people I've met, the places I've seen and most importantly, the food I've tasted.

Tell me about your relationship with food and/or cooking:  I love to cook. Some of the best nights my wife and I have shared are spent with a couple bottles of wine, some good tunes and just getting in the kitchen and experimenting with recipes. Likewise, when family and friends are thrown into the mix, food is an integral part and brings everyone together.

Any favorite MADE IN THE SOUTH brands worthy of your shout out?  I read a captivating book recently by South Carolina native Ellison Durant Smith entitled "Free as a Fish." He is an extremely gifted story teller and his book oozes Southern charm and dialect.

Please share your favorite Southern recipe and what it means to you: My Grandmother's Chicken Bog reminds me of winter time in the South. This, as well as my Aunt's Brunswick stew, are staples in our house and perfect for leftovers. Chicken Bog Time: Takes about an hour Serves: 8 -10 1 (3-pound) chicken, quartered 1 stick butter, melted 1 large onion, chopped 1 pound smoked link sausage (I prefer Conecuh Cajun Smoked Sausage) 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 3 bay leaves 8 cups water 3 cups long grain rice

Slice the sausage into 1/2-inch pieces.  In a stockpot, combine the chicken, sausage, onion, butter, and seasonings.  Add the water, bring to a boil, cover, and cook at a low boil for 40 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool slightly.  Pick the meat from the bones, discarding the bones and skin.  Add the rice to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring well.  Boil for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the rice is done.  Remove the bay leaves, and return the chicken to the pot.

Tell me what you love about the South/being Southern: I love the South/being Southern for a multitude of reasons...

— I love teaching my kids to say “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am” and my son to hold the door open for women, for nothing more than a sign of respect.

— I love my bourbon neat and my barbecue cooked slow and low.

— I love the tradition, bonfires and football on Saturdays.

— I love the smell of fall, sweet tea and a dog on point.

— I love the women….proud, strong, beautiful and hell on high heels. That Southern drawl has been known to seduce even the biggest skeptics.

—I love how the food itself is a history lesson. When it’s made with love, it feels like walking into a big hug. (HERE, HERE, TO ALL OF THE ABOVE!)

Is there anything else you want to add? Go on, don't be scared!   I would love to sit down and have a beer (and possibly some cheese dip/salsa) and talk about some of these questions in person. My brain is fried from lack of sleep. Stay tuned, folks. I've gotta take him up on the offer! (I never turn down a good opportunity to sit down and talk Southern.)

SLAP SAUCE is currently in sold 11 stores in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia and Texas as well as online. In the Atlanta area, you can find it at Savi Urban Market in Brookhaven, Lucy’s Market in Buckhead, and Fern’s Market at Serenbe. To stay in-the-know, follow Micheal on Facebook and Twitter

(Image credits: Walter Thompson)