A BBQ sauce with a patriotic past

Phil Briggs
February 02, 2018 - 1:44 pm

Photo Courtesy of Charlynda Scales


Many years ago, Air Force Veteran, Charlynda Scales received a document from another veteran, a document so secret that she keeps it locked in a safe. Family members familiar with the document have had to sign non-disclosure agreements.

So, what is she protecting?

The secret recipe to Mutt’s Sauce … and the origins of a BBQ Dynasty.

“It started with my grandfather Charlie Ferrell Jr. When he was in the Air Force his call sign was Mutt, for his ability to blend in anywhere,” Scales said.  “He was an aircraft mechanic in the Korean and Vietnam era, but aside from his service, his passion for creating this sauce.”

Photo courtesy of Charlynda Scales

After trial and error, he created the sauce in 1956. “It was a secret family recipe” enjoyed by every generation, (and known by only Charlie) until he passed away in 2005.     

Fast forward to 2013, and Charlynda was following family tradition by serving in the Air Force. Her family has five generations of military service spanning Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard. 

She said, “My mother told me that she had kept a secret from me for 8 years … and that I had inherited his recipe.  Of all his children and grandchildren, he asked for me to have the recipe--with no explanation.”   

More than just a recipe for some sweet and tangy sauce, it was a piece of history. “He was your classic country boy, who carried a wallet so often, that all his jeans had the outline of it in the back pocket. And apparently that’s where he kept it, because it was a perfectly folded hand written piece of paper in his handwriting,” Scales recalled.

Though she had no food industry experience, she loved “business”, having studied it at Clemson University. So, combined with her management experience she gained from Air Force, she eventually launched the brand Mutt’s Sauce, and the rest is BBQ history.

 “It’s a tomato-based specialty sauce, one you don’t have to add spices to,”Scales explained. “It’s really versatile.  It’s great on brisket, or basting something in the smoker and even used as a marinade. It can also be combined with honey for a glaze for fish. 

And for football games or parties? “You can take a sour cream base and add Mutt’s sauce to make a really good Buffalo Sauce!” Scales said.  

Photo courtesy of Charlynda Scales

You can find Mutt’s Sauce in grocery stores and online in 3 flavors: Original, Sweet and Spicy and Ghost Pepper.

“Like Coca Cola, I keep that recipe locked up,” Scales laughed. “Nobody can see it”

So, we may never know Mutt’s secret ingredients, but we can all enjoy his creation thanks to a proud Air Force Veteran.​