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Sweet Georgia Soul BBQ Sauce

From: Pat
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 7:51 AM
Subject: can't seem to find it?

We are looking for the recipe from the Southern Soul restaurant in St. Simon's Island, Ga.  
It is called Sweet Georgia Brown Bar-B-Que sauce.  Can you help us?  Thanks!

Pat & Melanie 
Tallahassee, Fl

Hello Pat & Melanie,

It appears that the actual name on the restaurant's sign is “Southern Soul Barbeque.” While I found the sauce referred to as “Sweet Georgia Brown Barbecue Sauce” on a couple of message boards, the restaurant’s website, articles about it and reviews of the restaurant refer to it as “Sweet Georgia Soul Barbeque Sauce.”

I had no luck finding a recipe for Sweet Georgia Soul Barbeque Sauce from the restaurant itself or even one that had the restaurant’s blessing.

If you’ve followed my site over the years, you know that bbq restaurants just don’t give out their sauce recipes. The owner of such places often makes up the sauce himself, and he is often the only one that knows the recipe. They keep it secret. If their sauce recipe was available to everyone, they’d lose a lot of business. Southern Soul Barbecue Sauces are so popular that they have become a commercial item that is bottled and sold to the public, not just at their restaurant, but nationally in shops and stores around the country. When a sauce becomes this popular, the restaurant owner often finds that it's more efficient to contract an outside company to make the sauce for him. This outside contractor is under obligation to keep the recipe secret.

So, that leaves copycat recipes and “tastes-like” recipes as the only thing available. A copycat recipe is created by someone who deliberately sets out to duplicate a secret recipe and are successful to a greater or lesser degree. A “tastes-like” is the simple discovery of a sauce recipe that, although not necessarily intended as such, “tastes like” a secret sauce recipe.

Southern Soul has a website. You can order their sauces from that site: Southern Soul BBQ

Southern Soul Barbeque sauce page: SSBBQ

Sweet Georgia Soul sauce in particular: Sweet Georgia Soul Sauce

There is an article about Southern Soul here: Southern Soul BBQ

There’s a review of the sauce here: The Q-Review

Aside from their sauce, Southern Soul has been open-handed about their restaurant recipes:

Their BBQ rub recipe is here: BBQ Rub

Their Brunswick Stew recipe is here: Garden & Gun
and here: Washington Post

Their Hoppin' John recipe is here: The Southern C

Their Brisket Chili recipe is here: Swampland

The cookbook “Grilling for Dummies” by John Mariani and Marie Rama, has a listing in their index for “Southern Soul Barbecue sauce”. That might be a copycat for “Sweet Georgia Soul Barbeque Sauce” or it might not be related at all. I don’t have that book, but there might be a copy that you can check at your local bookstore or library. See here for the index: Grilling for Dummies

“Sweet Georgia Soul Barbeque Sauce”, as described by the owners of Southern Soul, is an old family recipe for a sweet brown sugar-and-mustard-based barbecue sauce. Black pepper is also an ingredient.

I found this comment about it on a message board:
“I was able to make up a pretty good clone (of “Sweet Georgia Soul Barbeque Sauce”) by mixing my rib rub with yellow mustard to form a thick paste, then adding a 50/50 mixture of cider/cider vinegar until the consistency was right. Added a little honey and some white wine to round it out, simmered for about 15 minutes and it was pretty close. I think the difference from most mustard based sauces is that theirs is a sauce flavored with mustard, as opposed to being mustard flavored with a few other things.”

On another message board, I found the below recipe recommended as a “tastes-like” recipe at: BBQ Brethren

I’ll post this for reader input.


Grownup Mustard Sauce Recipe
Amazing Ribs

Yield. Makes about 2 cups. 
Preparation time. About 30 minutes.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup onions, finely minced
3 tablespoons sweet red pepper, finely minced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoons ground celery seed (not celery salt)
1 teaspoons finely ground black pepper
1 teaspoons hot pepper flakes for mild sauce
1 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon whole dried rosemary leaves crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 cups prepared Dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon granules or 1 cube dissolved in 1 ounce of water
About the hot pepper flakes. Double the amount for medium heat, and triple it for hot.
Optional. Garnish with minced fresh sweet red bell peppers or, if you like the heat, minced red jalapeño. 
In the picture above the ribs are also garnished with caramelized onions.

Do this
1) Put the oil into a quart sauce pan, and warm it on a medium-low heat. Add the onion and sweet red peppers and 
sweat them until the onions are limp. Add the garlic and cook it for about a minute.
2) Add the dry ingredients except the sugar. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes in order to develop and extract 
their flavors.
3) Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Bring to a low boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently to 
keep the sugar from burning or sticking to the bottom. Simmer on low for another 15 minutes.

Gridley's BBQ Sauce

From: Jay
Sent: Saturday, May 06, 2017 12:05 AM
Subject: Recipe search

Dear Uncle Phaedrus,

I lived in Memphis in the late 70's. At that time there was a barbecue restaurant named Gridley's. The food was 
the best. If the restaurant was open, there was a line out the door. There were tablecloths and waiters in red 
jackets. Meat was great, sides were great, and service was great. But the barbecue sauce was spectacular and unique. 
My recollection is that it was reddish, not thick, a little tart but not vinegary, and it had noticeable whole spices 
like coriander and cloves, but without an overall spicy taste. It was by no means a typical Memphis-style sauce. 
It was truly unique. When I left Memphis I bought a gallon of the sauce. Eventually it was gone and I learned the 
restaurant had closed.

I would like to obtain the Gridley's barbecue sauce recipe if possible. I have looked online high and low without success. 
The story is that the owner died prematurely and the restaurant fizzled and closed without his presence.

Thank you for your attention.



Hello Jay,

Back in the 60s and 70s, Memphis style BBQ swept through that city, the state of Tennessee and even into surrounding states. The largest chains at the time were Loeb’s BBQ(Owned by the Memphis Mayor of the same name), and Coleman’s BBQ. Clyde Gridley worked at a Loeb’s BBQ restaurant in Memphis. When the Loeb’s BBQ on Summer Avenue in Memphis closed down, Clyde bought it, expanded the building, and opened his own BBQ restaurant, “Gridley’s Fine Bar-B-Que”. Clyde had a slightly different vision of what a good BBQ restaurant should be, and, as you say, his waiters wore red or gold jackets with bowties, the tables had tablecloths, and warm cloth napkins were provided for cleaning up after the meal.

From there, the history of Gridley’s BBQ gets a bit murky. Clyde Gridley passed away in 1993. The name was bought and the restaurant continued, minus the waiters in red jackets, tablecloths, and warm napkins. The restaurant became a chain, and expanded to at least 6 stores in the Memphis area, and at least one in Arkansas. It changed hands several of times, and all of the locations closed except for the one on Stage Road, owned by Doug Walker:

Gridley’s BBQ 6842 Stage Rd Memphis, Tennessee or Bartlett, Tennessee They have a Facebook page at: Gridley's BBQ Facebook Page

There is a bit of Gridley’s history here: America's Best BBQ

and an article here: My BBQ Blog

There is an Interview with one of the owners of the current Gridley's - Doug Walker – here: Southern Foodways In that article, Doug Walker says that the sauce recipes that they use – Date back to Mr. Clyde. However, he also says that it is made off-site, by a third party vendor. So, even Gridley’s employees probably do not know how to make the sauce.

Also note that a reviewer says this about the current Gridley's BBQ on Stage Road on a Facebook page: So don't assume it would have the taste or the feel of the original. Not wishing to be mean here, just don't judge it against the original.

So, although the owner seems to claim it is the original sauce recipe, not everyone agrees that it tastes quite the same.

I had zero success locating a recipe or copycat for Gridley’s sauce. I did find a recipe for Gridley’s BBQ Shrimp: Cookshack

It appears that the current Gridley’s sells their sauce to the public. If you are in the area, you should be able to buy it at the store. If you want you can probably buy it by contacting the restaurant and having it shipped to you. See the Facebook page above. There is a phone number and e-mail contact information on that page.


Weight Watchers Stuffed Eggplant

From: Jessica 
Sent: Monday, May 08, 2017 10:44 AM
Subject: 1970s Weight Watchers Stuffed Eggplant


Hi, my mom would make this stuffed eggplant recipe from Weight Watchers when I was a kid in the 70's. All I can remember is 
ground beef stuffed into two halves of an eggplant. I've seen & tried similar recipes, but they're not the same. Not bad, 
but not the same--I am assuming because WW was a lot more limited back then; not to mention food tastes and grocery options 
have changed.   Since I have a memory of this, let's assume it was mid to late 70s. She always had those recipe card boxes, 
but it could have been from a WW cookbook or meeting hand-out (NY meeting). I have followed your site for decades, I look 
forward to seeing if you or a reader can help out. Thanks in advance.

I remembered one other detail as I was eating lunch--it had the inside of the eggplant cubed. Thanks so much.

North Carolina

Hi Jessica,

Sorry, I had no success with this as “Weight Watchers stuffed eggplant”. Old weight watchers recipes are notoriously difficult to find. It might be on the web, but it might not mention Weight Watchers as a source. “Ground beef stuffed into two halves of an eggplant” is too vague for me to find it by ingredients alone, particularly since you said that you have tried similar recipes and they weren’t right.

I’ll post this for reader input.


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