MUNCIE, Ind.(NewsLink) - Lathay Pegues will never forget his grandpa or his grandpa’s special barbecue sauce.
As a child growing up in Muncie, Pegues would watch his grandpa make his special barbecue sauce. His grandpa would wake up early on the weekends just to barbecue and it became a part of their family.
“Some families are soccer families, some are football; we were a barbecue family. My grandpa would get up on the weekends and barbecue,” said Pegues. “So this was just his passion and I grew up in that."
Pegues grandfather passed away when Pegues was 11 years-old. He also never wrote down to the recipe for his sauce. Peegues decided he was going to try to recreate the sauce based off of memory.
"I attended Indiana University and I was grilling out one weekend and I decided to try to recreate my grandpa's sauce based off of memory,” Pegues said.
After nearly five years of trying to create his grandfather’s barbecue sauce, he finally believed he made a good replica.
“I finally came up with a recipe that I thought was good, and the more people I let try it they said it was good as well,” said Pegues.
Pegues still had no intentions of starting a barbecue sauce business. But, he changed his mind when he realized how many people really loved his sauce.
“I think over the years enough people told me that they thought I had something that was marketable,” Pegues said.
Now, 13 years later, Pegues owns his own barbecue sauce company named after his grandfather, John Tom.
The sauce is sold in more than 100 stores and roughly 65 to 70 food services.
Ball State dining has been one of the food services that has served the sauce for the past 10 years.
Ball State Chef Mathew Hunter said last year Ball State dining ordered 872 gallons of the barbecue sauce to be used campus wide.
“Everybody liked it, it was a much better product than what we had in place before,” Hunter said.
Pegues believes starting a business is not for the faint of heart.
“This business just means everything to me. I walked away from my career to carry this business on,” said Pegues.
Pegues said he’s going to see the business through. He may not know where it’s going, but he’s happy with where it’s gone thus far.
“I’ve poured my blood sweat and tears into this and it’s just gratifying to see people enjoy something I came up in my kitchen.”