When we last left Sharone Hakman, he had just faced elimination on the first season of Master Chef. But, like most good stories, it doesn’t end there. Sharone has left his job in finance and has entered the the world of food full time! Sharone says, “I have my hands in everything, from catering parties and events, to cooking for celebrities, teaching cooking classes, and doing demos and spokesperson gigs for other brands as well.” In addition to all that Sharone has found the time to launch his own brand of BBQ sauce and sit down and tell me all about it.
First Sharone, I have to ask you, are you watching this new season of Master Chef?
Yes, I am watching MC2 and loving it. No flashbacks or anything, just the desire to kick some butt again!
Tell us about the process of having a “kick ass” BBQ sauce recipe and getting it to market.
The process is INSANE!! I definitely underestimated what it took. No one preps you for how much work and time goes into every single part of it. Perfecting the recipe, sourcing ingredients, finding a manufacturer, designing labels, setting up an e-commerce site, marketing – the list just goes on. Definitely the most challenging part was sourcing the right ingredients. I wanted only the BEST ingredients in my product, and that took a lot of time and research.
So often when a home recipe is mass marketed, key ingredients have to be changed. Was this the case with yours?
Regarding home cooked vs. mass market product ingredients, I quickly learned that most manufacturing is all about getting sub-par ingredients for cheap. That’s not me. When I look at the ingredient list on my bottle I want to know, and I want my customers to know, every ingredient on that list. No preservatives, no 15-syllable ingredient you’ve never heard of. I really had to do my due diligence to source ingredients that are fresh, real, and all natural, and I’m very happy with the end result – you can taste the difference in quality products, and this will separate us from the rest.
Where can I buy the sauce?
For now the sauce is available online at www.haksbbq.com. I hope to be in retail stores soon.
How do you suggest using it? (What point in the grilling process?)
Use it on everything you love, and it will make you love it even more! For grilling, use it during the final step of barbequing – once your meat is almost cooked, just brush on some of the sauce during the last five minutes. You want to let it caramelize from the fire and give your barbeque food that perfect crust. With my sauce, the results will be sweet, smoky, spicy, and a deep bourbon kick with bite!
You can also do a lot more with the sauce. Some ideas:
- Burger topping
- Glaze for ribs while on the grill
- Side sauce for any cut of steak (side story – I served one of my sauces on the side during a Master Chef challenge to cook on the beach for Marines, and the judges declared my sauce the secret weapon to clinch the team win…this was a real kick in the butt to get me motivated to bring my sauce to market)
- Use on a pizza instead of tomato sauce
- Use in a braise, chili, or as a salad dressing
- Use as a dipping sauce with fresh vegetables, both grilled or raw
- Pour over a soft cheese – such as Brie or Cream Cheese – and serve with crackers
Will you share will our readers some tips for success on the grill?
1. Always preheat your grill. You want it hot hot hot before you throw anything on it! I get mine going on full blast about 20 minutes before grilling.
2. Tempering is key! Always allow your meats to come to room temperature naturally before throwing it on the fire. If it’s too cold you risk charring the outside while leaving the inside raw.
3. Resting is the other key! Allow the meat to rest after it’s been grilled. Depending on the thickness, anywhere from 5-10 minutes should do wonders. The last thing you want to do is cut into a beautiful steak seconds after it’s been grilled, only to watch all those amazing juices spill right out of it. Resting the meat sets and distributes the juices internally.
4. Don’t poke your meat! The best way to check for done-ness is touch, using the hand check rule. Remember that after you take the meat of the grill the temperature will continue to rise. A good rule of thumb is to take it off the grill at approximately 5-degree Fahrenheit lower that your final target serving temperature. Then let it rest as suggested, and you’ll be good to dig in.
Well, after e-mailing with Sharone, I was hungry and excited to try out his sauce. So I headed over to his website and ordered up a bottle. The first thing I will warn you about is there is a little bit of a sticker shock factor. A bottle of his sauce shipped to your home is about 11 dollars. I went ahead and ordered anyway because, at the end of the day, 11 bucks is pretty reasonable for a treat. The bottle arrived safely at my home a couple of days later, and the first thing I noticed was, as promised, I could recognize every ingredient on the label. Now, I don’t really think of myself as a person with a sophisticated palette, but this sauce made me feel like I have one! Even with just a taste straight out of the bottle you could taste the distinct layers of flavor. It isn’t just sweet and hot like a lot of BBQ sauces. With Sharone’s sauce I could actually taste and identify the ingredients. Pleased with the flavor, I decided that I would make Hak’s Ribs.
Sharone’s rib is my favorite kind of recipe. Straightforward and to the point. The first step is to make a spice rub for the ribs. Once that is done you rub the ribs with the rub. (Say that 3 times fast!). One thing that caught my eye right away with Sharone’s recipe is the smoked paprika. I fell in love with smoked paprika a couple of years ago, so I highly recommend you search some out if you can’t find it at your local grocery store. It is available online from several sources.
Then the ribs are placed in the oven in a roaster with a couple of bottles of dark beer and covered with foil. You leave the ribs alone to get nice and tender for a few hours, and when they are done, off to the grill they go. Sharone recommends basting them with his sauce and turning the ribs over several times, so that is exactly what I did. This process really seemed to make a difference. In the end I had a nice caramelized coating on my ribs. Now dear readers I am not sure how to describe these ribs other than fantastic. Think of the best BBQ ribs you have ever eaten at at restaurant and suddenly you have made them yourself in your own kitchen. My husband actually thinks they are better than the best ribs he has ever eaten out. Isn’t he the best?