Years ago, we started as a small general store and meat shop in Prospect, Kentucky. Shane and Tracy Best were the last owners of the old Prospect General Store. Having been in the custom cut retail meat business, we brought years of experience to the old store and the combination couldn’t have been any better.
Over the years we acquired a tremendous reputation for uncompromising quality on all our food items, so a common request among our customers was “Now if you would just come over and cook for us…” This led to the creation of our catering division, which we called the Kentucky Cookout Company.
While still operating out of the Prospect General Store, the New York Times selected us as having the BEST country hams available for mail order, which certainly added to our notoriety.
But we weren’t finished yet — we had already turned our passions towards barbecue sauce and the tremendous growth potential in the barbecue industry.
As our popularity grew in the catering business, word of our success began to reach promoters of barbecue competitions.
One of the first contests we cut our teeth on (no pun intended) was the World Invitational Rib Championship in Richmond, Virginia. Stacked against 20 of the BEST rib cooking teams from around the world, eight small-town hillbillies packed up their goodies on pickup trucks, and not only did battle with the world’s BEST, but conquered and returned home as World Invitational Rib Champions.
For years, we enjoyed competing in (and dominating!) the regional barbecue circuit, winning a number of awards along the way. Word of our success began to spread as we “racked” up BEST Ribs awards, from the Hog Wild BBQ Jam in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, to Best Ribs in the Smoky Mountains in Sevierville, Tennessee. We then began a five year run of dominance at the Best Ribs in Blue Ash, Ohio festival, taking home the coveted People’s Choice Award every year from 1999-2003. When we grew tired of the traveling rib-slinging scene, we decided it was time to turn our attention towards marketing our proven recipes for barbecue sauces and spices.
Using an old-fashioned tilt kettle, Shane – who was by this time starting to embrace his “cultured redneck” alter ego, Pappy – began putting the finishing touches on the line of barbecue sauces that had won him so many rib competitions. As demand for our delicious sauces grew, we were able to move our bottling operation from our farmhouse kitchen to the “big city” of Louisville, KY. With Pappy’s expertise, Pappy’s XXX White Lightnin’ was rewarded with one of the food industry’s most respected awards — the 2001 Scovie Award for Best Specialty Chile Barbecue Sauce, accepted internationally as the top award for spicy foods. We were happier than pigs in…well, you know the saying…when we were awarded a SECOND Scovie Award in 2004, this time for Best Barbecue Sauce Label for Pappy’s Hottest Ride in Town.
The awards for sauces and spices just kept rolling in. The National Barbecue Association (NBBQA) awarded us for Best Packaging, Best Label, and Best Sauce. We swept First and Second Place People’s Choice Awards for BEST Barbecue Sauce at the International Zesty Food Show in Fort Worth, Texas. We also picked up Gourmet Gold Medal Finalist awards from gourmet food shows, and we were awarded the Gallo Gold Medal Award for excellence in artisanal food quality and craftsmanship in both 2007 AND 2008!
Since then, we have focused on expanding the award-winning Pappy’s line to include more sauces and spices. Additionally, we have introduced two new lines of incredible sauces: Bear Claw and Kentucky BourbonQ. With so many distinct, robust flavors to choose from, there’s something here for everyone. Try our award-winning barbecue sauces, spices, and rubs, and find out for yourself why we’re The “BEST”!