Garry entered the BBQ business in 1986 with the introduction of Ubon's Sauce. In 1989 Garry, his family, and some friends began cooking competitively on the Memphis in May circuit. Garry has led the Ubon's team to hundreds of trophies over the last 26 years and continues to compete in contests across the country.
In 2004 Garry and his daughter, Leslie, opened Ubon's Restaurant in their hometown of Yazoo City, Mississippi. They continue selling Ubon's Sauce and have added a line of mixers including Ubon's BBQ Bloody Mary Mix and Ubon's Pitmaster’s Hot and Spicy Bloody Mary Mix.
Ubon's has been seen on TV shows including BBQ Pitmasters, Fox and Friends, Unwrapped, and Challenge: Memphis in May. Look for Leslie to appear on Chopped Grillmaster's Tournament on July 28, 2015.
WITH Garry Roark
We called up Ubon’s pitmaster Garry Roark to get the lowdown on Mississippi Delta barbecue, cooking with family, and the best bloody mary fixings.
Tell us about what you’ll be cooking at Q in the Lou and why you chose to bring that dish and side to St. Louis.
We are going to be cooking Ubon’s pulled pork, Ubon's BBQ chicken, and delta caviar. We want to bring flavors from the Mississippi Delta to St. Louis!
If you had to offer one helpful tip to the backyard barbecuers of the world, what would it be?
Don't get in a hurry! BBQ is the front porch of America. Enjoy the process as much as you enjoy the food. Find your favorite flavors and play.
If you could take an all-expenses-paid BBQ road trip across America, which three pits would you stop at?
This is a tough question! There are so many great BBQ places. We'd always start with St. Louis — Pappy's is at the top of our list. If we could tear ourselves away from Mike Emerson, we would head to Austin to stand in line for Aaron Franklin's for brisket. Next stop is Decatur, Alabama for some smoked chicken and white sauce with our friends at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q.
Describe the Ubon’s Barbeque menu in one word.
Just one?! Our menu is representative of the Mississippi Delta.
What was your barbecue epiphany?
I made some changes to our cooking process for brisket. When I sliced the first brisket with that method I realized I'd stumbled onto something great!
What’s it like to be in the BBQ business with your family?
I get to see my daughter every day. How many folks would love to see their baby every day? It's nice to be able to work closely with someone who thinks the same way I do and can anticipate my next move.
Who is or was the biggest influence on your cooking?
My father, Ubon Roark, started our family BBQ tradition in southeast Missouri. He is the reason I love smoke and fire.
Ubon’s sauce is well-known and loved. So what’s the secret to a great homemade sauce?
Ubon's Sauce was my grandmother's recipe. Her secret was in pairing flavors that work well together. Shoot for sweet, spicy, and tangy.
What’s your must-have tool for barbecue prep?
I have to have a sharp knife. Dull knives are dangerous.
How’d you go from BBQ to bloody marys? What fixings do I need for a great at-home bloody mary?
Our hospitality drink has always been a bloody mary that uses our Ubon’s Sauce as the "secret ingredient." After finding a saturated market for BBQ sauces we decided to develop our mix and share it with the world. All you need is Ubon’s BBQ Bloody Mary Mix, a dill pickle, and vitamin V (vodka) and you're ready to be on the front porch.