|Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009
LS man turns love of cooking into award-winning barbecue sauce
Miranda Wycoff, Journal Staff
Emily Jarrett, the Journal
Lee’s Summit resident Shannon Kimball stirs his chili at Lee’s Summit’s annual Chilifest. Kimball makes and sells his own barbecue sauce, Firebug Grill’n Sauce, which recently received third place in the American Royal Sauce Competition.
It’s all about the spices, said Lee’s Summit resident and barbecue sauce maker Shannon Kimball.
“I use to throw everything I loved into the pot,” Kimball said. “But it just wouldn’t taste right.”
But after spending some time in culinary school and working for local restaurants, including R.A. Long’s in the new Longview area, Kimball learned to perfect his sauce.
“There’s a lot of spices that contradict each other,” Kimball said. “Once I slowed down and started studying them, I was able to create a flavor I really liked.”
Kimball, a tile contractor by day, has always been interested in cooking — an interest to which he credits his mother and grandmother.
“They got me started at an early age, and I’ve just loved cooking ever since,” he said.
Kimball grew up on a cattle ranch in Kansas where his family catered their own events on the ranch.
As a little boy whose primary job was to start the brush fires on the farm, Kimball wasn’t too enthused about cooking, to say the least. But it was the day Kimball decided to run his mouth about women being in the kitchen that it all changed. Hit mother scooted him in, put a spoon in his hand and ordered him to start stirring. And that was it, he was hooked.
“That’s where I got my love for food and cooking,” he said.
So when Kimball moved to Kansas City he decided to take that love to a new level. He started studying at a culinary school and began to intern at local restaurants.
“That’s where I really developed the skills and I’ve been making sauce ever since,” Kimball said.
But it wasn’t until two months ago that Kimball began making sauce for sale.
“Every time I would have friends over and make this barbecue sauce, they would always ask where I bought it. And then when they found out I was the one who made it they would keep telling me I should try to sell it. So that’s what I did,” he said.
And even though he’s only been selling Firebug Grill’n Sauce — named for the nickname his mother gave him on the cattle ranch — for two months, he’s already an award winner.
Kimball received the third place award at the American Royal Barbecue Sauce contest held Oct. 1-4 for his mild sauce in the Specialty Sauce category.
Firebug’s “Hotter than a Prairie Fire” also placed 9th in the American Royal Sauce Competition’s Tomato Hot category.
“There’s not too many first-timers that win in the sauce contest so that made me feel real good,” Kimball said.
Firebug Grill’n Sauce can be purchased at A Thyme for Everything, Lee’s Summit Hy-Vee stores, Cockrell’s Mercantile and R.A. Long’s, in addition to several other Kansas City metro area stores.
For more information, or a complete list of stores, visit www.firebugbbq.com.
To reach Journal reporter Miranda Wycoff, call 816-282-7017 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.