Barbecue is the quintessential essence of all things Southern.
[dropcap letter=”B”]onnie Bratton is an outdoor girl at heart. “I’m happiest when I am working in my greens patch on my farm in Shady Grove, TN, hosting friends and family or relaxing with my dog Huckleberry.” She sure wasn’t planning on being the sole proprietor of a barbecue sauce business. But life has a way of making its own plans for us.
Bratton’s husband, David, a seventh generation Tennessee farmer, raised soy beans, pigs, cattle, corn, turnips greens and more on the farm his family had owned for over 100 years. But his passion was barbecue to feed his family and friends.
My late husband, David, created the sauce recipe. He was always a much better cook than me. He worked on it and tweaked it for years.” she explains. “It was so popular with our friends and family that we started selling it at the local farmers market. Just as it started to take off, David unexpectedly passed away.
Bratton continues to operate a pick your greens farm. But after taking a break, she decided it was time to continue her late husband’s dream and In November 2016 she started her business and began to bottle and market the barbecue sauce. “My love for David inspired me to carry on what he had begun in our kitchen on the farm. In David’s passing I wanted to honor his dream of creating a barbecue sauce that everyone could enjoy, with a vision of his barbecue sauce becoming accessible nationwide.”
She praises her husband’s ability to combine the right blend of ingredients to create the unique recipe for the sauce and she’s worked hard to maintain that recipe and flavor. Bottled locally at the Nashville Kitchen and Cannery, Bratton oversees the production. She doesn’t want to lose the heart of her husband’s homemade sauce. “Handmade is made with your hands and your heart and mass production lacks the love and soul behind our brand.” Every jar of sauce is hand- poured, then bottled and labeled, then she delivers every local order personally to her customers.
The barbecue sauce is sold in over 50 stores between Tennessee, South Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas in gift shops, wineries, restaurants and state parks. Bratton’s Best BBQ Sauce can also be purchased online through her website and is shipped nationally. She’s working to expand sales to other regions across the nation. Bratton recently launched a two ounce jar that is perfect for gift baskets, stocking stuffers or as a grab and go single serving option.
Bratton‘s Best BBQ Sauce answers the South’s call for a sauce that complements all that is served on our Southern table and those who appreciate Southern cooking.
Photography by Tatted Cat Photography