Celebrate National Sauce Month with Mutt’s

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Beavercreek woman started a business using her grandfather’s recipe

The story of Mutt’s Sauce is one of family, love, memories, dedication, entrepreneurship and vision. It’s also one of really big flavors.

“My grandfather was a Vietnam and Korean War Air Force veteran. He was an aircraft mechanic, and from his stories and other family members’ accounts of his time in service, a real good one. His military call sign was Mutt because he could blend in anywhere. He was married with five kids, the oldest daughter was my mother, Marsha. He didn’t just raise ‘The Ferrell Five,’ as my mother and her siblings were called. He also helped raise his grandkids, including me. A lot of my early childhood was spent living with my grandparents, mom, aunt, and her two boys in a two-bedroom country home in Cookeville, Tennessee. I called him Daddy. He called me Tutti Frutti,” said Charlynda Scales, founder and CEO of Mutt’s Sauce LLC, a company that makes “the sauce for every meal.”

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Her grandfather Charlie Ferrell Jr. was the first person to salute her at her commissioning ceremony at Clemson University as the fourth-generation service member in her family, and the first officer.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

“Even if that’s all he gave me, that moment where he stood tall, the result of over 20 years of service and two wars, and rendered a salute to put all others to shame, I would’ve considered myself blessed. It’s one of my most precious memories. My grandfather passed away less than a year later,” said Scales, who now lives in Beavercreek. “Eight years later, I was active duty, stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. There was a sauce that my grandfather had made that had been a main staple in my family since 1956. Since he passed away, no one had ever had it, because no one knew how to make it. It dawned on me that it might be gone forever; I called my mother to lament about it. ‘I’d been meaning to tell you something,’ my mother sighed on the phone. ‘Your grandfather asked me to give you something before he passed away.’ When I saw my mother again, she handed it to me — an envelope containing a single piece of paper.”

It was the only written copy of that recipe, which he had kept in his wallet.

“I asked, ‘Mom, what did he tell me I had to do to get this recipe?’ ... ‘Nothing. He just gave it to you,” said Scales. “Call it cliché, but I dreamt of walking into the little country store that sat on top of the hill where we lived. In the dream, there was nothing in the store except bottles of sauce. On every shelf. With his face on it. I woke up, opened my laptop, and searched the Internet on free mentorship.”

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Scales found herself at an organization called SCORE (www.score.org) where she told them she wanted to make this sauce for friends and family.

“They encouraged me to start a business, because you never know where the path will lead but you want to start with a good foundation. I didn’t know squat about the food industry, let alone sauce. I humbled myself and resigned to learn everything from scratch,” said Scales. “My first appointment, I met my mentor. John Soutar is maybe a couple years younger than my grandfather, if he were alive. John smiled and exclaimed that the checklist I need to do is how to make and sell a tomato-based food product. ‘Just do step one. File your business license and we will move at the speed of determination.’ That speed is as fast you’re determined to make it happen. Four months later, we had our first production day. An Amish company in Chillicothe, Ohio hand poured 700 bottles. The Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce hosted a kickoff for us and invited the community. We sold all of the first batch in a week. I was still on active duty, but that’s the day Mutt’s Sauce, LLC and the line of sauces made their debut.”

The Mutt’s Sauce flavors are Original, Sweet N Spicy, Ghost Pepper, and Gluten Free.

“Once or twice a year we release a limited edition flavor, Bourbon, that is a collaboration with the local distillery, Stillwrights,” said Scales. “We also just came out with a line of spices, which in essence, create three additional flavors when you add it to Mutt’s Sauce: Onion Pepper, Berbere and Garlic Ghost Pepper.”

The four sauces are a perfect way to introduce new flavors to your plate in March, which is National Sauce Month. They are locally manufactured and available for purchase at both Dot’s Market stores, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Commissary, as well as several Kroger stores. Check the store locator on the website at www.muttssauce.com where you can also purchase the sauces for home delivery.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

• Original: No heat, kid friendly. Best suited for smothering on broccoli or as a replacement or upgrade to the ketchup in your fridge. Can also be used as a sweet and tangy salad dressing.

• Sweet N Spicy: This is Scales’ grandpa’s original recipe and Mutt’s bestseller. It can be used as a marinade, taco sauce or steak sauce.

• Ghost Pepper: This sauce came about from customer requests. “It’s not the ‘sacrifice yourself’ level of heat that some are prepared for. It’s the same sweet and tangy Mutt’s Sauce, but gradually heats up on the end. Great for wings and also seafood,” said Scales.

• Gluten Free Original: Part of the unique twang of Mutt’s Sauce is the use of soy sauce. For this sauce, the soy sauce is replaced with with Tamari sauce. The entire line of sauces is vegan-friendly.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

It’s thicker than hot sauce, but thinner than barbecue. The notes are sweet, tangy, with a little bit of heat. It’s tomato-based, which often has it confused for a barbecue, but in the grocery world it’s considered specialty sauce. It’s delicious and worth adding to your pantry.

“I think it’s a testament to his passion, drive, and values of family and service that have made its mark on my life and the company. One team, One fight is our mantra and it’s truly a pleasure to serve,” said Scales.

Dayton Eats looks at the regional food stories and restaurant news that make mouths water. Share info about your menu updates, special dinners and events, new chefs, interesting new dishes and culinary adventures. Do you know of exciting outdoor spaces, new exciting format changes, specials, happy hours, restaurant updates or any other tasty news you think is worth a closer look at? E-mail Alexis Larsen at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com with the information and we will work to include it in future coverage.

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