A new line of sauces produced in Winston-Salem is paying homage to Southern sauce history.
Josh McGee, a 37-year-old former chef, started producing sauces under the Y’All Sauce Co. label this spring, and he has been selling them at area farmers markets.
McGee is a Tennessee native who was living in Louisville, Ky., until three years ago when his wife, Emily Hull McGee, took a job as senior pastor at First Baptist Church in downtown Winston-Salem.
McGee and his friend Paige Harlow of Louisville had been kicking around ideas for a business for a couple of years. “We were at a bar drinking bourbon one night when we came up with this,” he said. “We wanted something that brings people together — and what better way than food.”
McGee makes the sauce, while co-owner Harlow handles the social media, graphics and online work.
Y’All Sauce has three sauces so far. “Each one of these has a history with a region in the South,” McGee said.
Henry Bain Sauce has its origin in Louisville, Ky., in the 1800s. A man named Henry Bain is credited with creating this sauce for the well-known Pendennis Club.
Henry Bain has a ketchup base. It’s spicy and tangy with noticeable flavors from the steak sauce and mango chutney it contains. “It has a heavy, tangy flavor like a Western Carolina barbecue sauce,” McGee said. It also contains a little Kentucky bourbon.
McGee recommends it for steak or chicken, or for vegetarian fried rice or stir-fries. “And it works really well as a substitute for cocktail sauce,” he said.
Jezebel sauce has its roots in Tennessee. The main ingredient is orange marmalade, combined with mustard and horseradish. “This has lots of citrus — orange and lemon — and it has a kick from the horseradish,” McGee said.
He recommends Jezebel for white meats such as chicken and pork. He also likes it with fish, including tilapia, catfish and even salmon. “It’s also good for grilled asparagus — just drizzle it on before you serve it,” he said.
Comeback Sauce hails from Jackson, Miss., where the Dennery family served it in its restaurant from 1950 until 2008. This mayonnaise-based sauce contains chili sauce, Worchestershire sauce, mustard, garlic and Cajun seasoning. “This is more like a finishing sauce, something to add after cooking. It’s a like a cross between Thousand Island dressing and a remoulade,” McGee said.
McGee likes Comeback as a dipping sauce for fried green tomatoes and fried okra. He also recommends it as a dressing for coleslaw as a sandwich spread in place of mayonnaise.
He said that he developed the recipes after reading up on the history of these sauces and then scouring his collection of community cookbooks handed down from his grandmother and his wife’s grandmother. “I did a lot of reading, and then I made the recipes my own,” he said.
Each sauce costs $8 for a 12-ounce bottle.
McGee will be selling Y’All Sauce at the farmers market at New Philadelphia Moravian Church from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. July 26, Aug. 2 and Aug. 9. He will be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 4 and 18. And beginning Aug. 11, Southern Home & Kitchen store in Thruway Shopping Center will carry the sauces.
People also can buy the sauce online at https://yallsauce.com. McGee offers a local delivery option for a $5 fee.
McGee hopes to eventually have a lot more sauces. He is already testing sauces from North Carolina, South Carolina and Louisiana. “We hope to have a sauce from every state in the South,” he said.