A family legacy of barbecue sauce emerges from the darkness of slavery

The Business of Food with Steve Alexander

Old Arthur's Barbecue Sauce is made with the same recipes created by an enslaved man over 160 years ago.

Clockwise from top left: Ribs prepared with Old Arthur’s Sauce; Eudell Watts III; Eudell Watts IV; Old Arthur Watts, circa 1916.

When Arthur Watts became a free man after the Civil War, all he had of value was in his head: his barbecue sauce recipes. He moved to Kewannee, Illinois, and became legendary as a pit master. Ten years ago, his great-grandson, Eudell Watts III, and great-great-grandson, Eudell Watts IV, revived the recipes and the sauce and rubs became legendary in Central Illinois. Recently introduced to the Chicago area, the sauce was honored by Food and Wine Magazine as one of the best BBQ sauces in America.

Recipes for a variety of BBQ dishes are available at www.OldArthurs.com, but the sauce recipe? It remains a family secret.

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