The other week I got to meet Uncle Dougie himself, a local Chicago bbq sauce, spice rub, bloody mary mix, and marinade entrepreneur and head chef/owner of Uncle Dougie’s. Chef Dougie was kicking off the summer at the company headquarters in the West Loop where I had the chance to sample some of his homemade recipes using his all natural products.
Uncle Dougie has certainly been around the block, launching his original wing marinade in 1989 when he decided to find a way to make wings without the added fat and mess of frying. When neighbors and family started requesting his wings at parties he wasn’t even invited to, he decided that he really had something special on his hands and his small batch wing sauce and bbq business began!
I had the chance to sample wings, meatballs, coleslaw, pork, and hamburgers all either garnished or made with Uncle Dougie’s sauces, as well as a chance to speak to the man himself about how he got started and last year’s new re-branding of the line. One of my favorite things at the event was this coleslaw made with a little bit of the Asian marinade.
Something Dougie established up front was that he wanted to create sauces and mixes without added fillers and ingredients in order to keep it simple, tasty, and better for you. I wondered how Dougie was able to create shelf-stable ingredients without all the extra stuff that usually goes into something like a bbq sauce or a marinade and his answer was rather scientific! Dougie had to learn how to cook tomatoes and other ingredients under certain temperatures in order to maintain perfect PH levels to keep the sauces from going bad without adding stabilizers.
One of the tastiest things I had at the event was a gazpacho prepared using Uncle Dougie’s bloody mary mix. The recipe had been originally submitted by an Uncle Dougie’s fan living in Chile! The vegetables were still left a little bit crunchy and it was perfect on a hot and humid day in Chicago.
I was also pleasantly surprised that the mountain of wings was crispy and crunchy and yet weren’t fried. In fact, all of the flavor came from only 15-30 minutes of marinating in Uncle Dougie’s original Wicked Good No Fry marinade.
To this day all the tomatoes in Dougie’s bloody mary mix, bbq sauce, and marinades are from California because of their distinct sweet taste. Dougie swears that he has the palate-power to distinguish between tomatoes from California and those from other states and countries. Today, Uncle Dougie's products can be found at Whole Foods Market, local Chicago grocery chain Sunset Foods, and many other grocery and specialty meat retailers throughout the Midwest. In addition, all Uncle Dougie's products are available online via their website.
I was lucky enough that the folks at Uncle Dougie’s gave me a whole goodie bag filled with Uncle Dougie’s products. When I got home I made a list of great summer food ideas that I can make using the products. Feel free to take some of my ideas listed below that all include Uncle Dougie’s products! I hope to cook each and every one of these recipes and will post recipes as I develop them. For now, feel free to take my ideas and make them your own!
- BBQ Chicken Quesadilla with Sweet ‘N Snappy BBQ Sauce and Sharp Chedder Cheese
- Spicy Gazpacho with Spicy Bloody Mary Mix
- Chicken Stir Fry with Kung Fused marinade
- Spicy Rice Noodles with broccoli and reduced Kung Fused marinade
- Spicy ketchup with Tomato Heaven ketchup and sriracha
- Pommy Mango bloody mix with a fruit-flavored vodka
- Sweet and Spicy rubbed hamburgers with Smokin ‘Potle mayo
- Sweet and Spicy baked sweet potato fries