KANSAS CITY, KAN – A barbecue sauce that got its start in the kitchen of a Waynesboro woman has just been named Best Sauce on the Planet.
“On The Bay Beast” from Bar-B-Que Beast, LLC took the top award during the 33rd Annual American Royal World Series of Barbecue® Sauce Contest, held Aug. 18, at the American Royal.
The contest is the largest barbecue sauce contest in the world, with nearly 400 entries competing from 35 states and seven countries.
Each entry was judged in a blind tasting on their appearance, texture, taste alone, and taste on unseasoned barbecue meat.
The line of Bar-B-Que Beast sauces – there are currently six of them – was concocted by Ann Raresheid, of Waynesboro.
“Bar-B-Que Beast was actually the answer to a little problem,” Raresheid explained. “I was in the Air Force and I was stationed in Germany and there was a little wagon that had pork and I missed barbecue sauce for my pork. I would go to the commissary and they had all the usual sauces … but I didn’t like any of them, so on my little hot plate, I would start playing around.”
Fast-forward nearly 20 years later, when Raresheid, who at that point had been serving up her secret blend of sauce to family and friends, shared it with Tara Runkles.
“I was having a dinner and I had it on pulled flank steak. “She came over and had this look and said, ‘Where did you get this sauce.’”
“I’m a foodie, so of course, I had to know whose sauce you were using,” Runkles explained.
“She said, ‘Can you make it again? This is the best sauce I’ve ever had. You have to do something with this sauce,’” Raresheid recalled.
“To me it wasn’t over sweet. It does have a sweet, but it has a heat that levels it out,” Runkles said. “Something I enjoyed about it was it didn’t have a lot of black pepper. It didn’t have that real dark molasses. I can tell you it doesn’t have molasses. It just has a hint of smoke.”
Runkles, also of Waynesboro, persuaded Raresheid to bottle her sauce and the next thing Raresheid knew, she had a business license and was selling barbecue dinners.
“We bought a concession trailer, licensed the business and set up in our parking spot selling chicken and pork. People said, ‘but can you give me this sauce,’” Raresheid recalled.
After deciding on logos and labels and bottling and marketing, the women kept moving forward with getting their sauce onto the tables of America.
“We started so small. We learned everything the hard way, but every step of the way has been fun,” Raresheid said. “For me, it became real when we realized there’s competitions for these things.”
The duo entered their sauce and quickly started winning the competitions, with their sauces winning not only judges’ awards, but also people’s choice awards in sauce competitions in Kansas City; North Carolina; Illinois; and the Gettysburg North vs. South BBQ event.
“The people’s choice are always our favorite awards because people said they loved it,” Raresheid said.
For Runkles, the sauce got real a bit later.
“We got an unsolicited email from GIANT Foods a year and a half ago,” Runkles said. “We’re in their local program. I’d say that’s when the wheels started to turn for me.”
Bar-B-Que Beast sauces are available locally at The Butcher Shoppe, Nitterhouse Masonry and
Hardware Supply, Penn Avenue Meats, Country Corner Meat Market, Frantz Produce Market, Karns Foods and other stores found on their website, barbquebeast.com.
Despite its local popularity, Raresheid never dreamed her sauce would one day be named best sauce in the world.
“It’s a journey. We had no idea. You have these people and this is what they breathe. It’s serious. It’s a craft. It’s an art,” Raresheid said. “To me, it was the chemistry. I love chemistry and I like the thought of combining flavors. To me, it was a science project.”
When they submitted their sauce for the latest Kansas City competition, there was no live event due to COVID-19. Results were provided on the website and the news of their top place came via phone.
“Tara came running in and said, ‘We have it. Kansas City just called and we won it,’” Raresheid said. “I thought we won first place in our category.”
Bar-B-Que Beast’s Curry Beast took first in the Specialty Sauce category in 2018 and Raresheid said she thought they did the same thing this time with their On The Bay Beast sauce.
“I said no, we took best overall. We took the whole thing,” Runkles said.
Raresheid gets emotional when talking about winning Best Sauce on the Planet.
“It’s so huge and you feel so small. It’s my sauce. It’s our business. We know the struggle, we know the work we know how many hours. We know being told ‘no’ and the constant calls and pushing through that. It’s such a big world. How do you accept this award? It’s bigger than me,” she said. “I’m so excited. You can’t express what a huge accomplishment. I just can’t be grateful enough.”