Buddy Terry Hopkins invited me to lunch, then said we were going on a Super Secret Mission. It was so secret that I would have to be blindfolded to keep from seeing our destination. I thought that might be problematic since I was the driver, but Terry was pretty good at hollering “Gee” and “Haw,” so we made it around almost all the curves OK.
I think we may have straightened out Snake Hill.
Anyway, we made it to our destination after getting temporarily misplaced a couple of times – we were in an area so remote from civilization that neither of us had cell service and my GPS said, “Why are you asking me? I’m lost, too.”
Blue Hole Garden established in 1927
Somewhere in the wilds of Egypt Mills, lives the only person who knows how to make the REAL Blue Hole Garden BBQ Sauce, Barbecue Billie Haupt. She’s a descendant of William Franz, who established the landmark Cape restaurant next to the Blue Hole Quarry in 1927.
When Franz sold the restaurant, he sold the recipe for the sauce, but not the steps to MAKE it. That’s sort of like giving someone a parts list for a car, but not telling them how to assemble it.
I used to buy bottles of Blue Hole sauce in the store to take back to Florida, but I always thought it looked sort of watery gray instead of a rich red.
It’s all in the cooking
Billie said that watery sauce disappointed long-time Blue Hole fans, which caused stores to discontinue it.
She brews the sauce in this original 4-gallon pot custom-made out of stainless steel (the acid from the tomatoes will eat up other metals). The key she explains, is knowing what ingredients to add when and how long to cook them. The process takes about five hours, about three to cook and two to cool down. It has to be stirred all through the process.
She wouldn’t be any more specific. “The secret is staying in the family. If my granddaughter doesn’t learn it, it’ll die with me.”
I made her promise to look both ways before crossing the street until after her granddaughter gets married and she had enough time to learn the family secret.
How can I get some sauce?
You have to pick it up. She doesn’t ship.
“Most people arrange to meet me somewhere in Cape, like the K-Mart parking lot.” You can also go to the farm where she and Husband Martin live. If you can find it, it’s worth going to the source. Terry and I spent more than an hour in their kitchen talking about the Blue Hole, Cape and good eating places. It was one of the highlights of the week.
The sauce – the rich red stuff I remember – is sold for $12 a gallon, $6 a half-gallon and $3 a quart. It contains a tiny bit of preservative, so it should last about a year (if you don’t use it all up). Interestingly enough, she says it is better NOT to put it in the refrigerator after it has been opened.
You can place an order for the sauce by calling Billie at 573-334-1944.
38 Replies to “Blue Hole BBQ Sauce”
I grew up on S Benton and remember the BH on S Sprigg well. We didn’t go there very often and I don’t ever remember having a barbecue (parents might have), but they had chocolate milk in little glass bottles:) I loved it. I did have BBQ from Kingshighway and liked it very much. When it closed you could once again buy it at the grocery store until the supply was gone. I know a lot of people who stocked up on it. Iguess,like myself, they never had the original.
Well my secret mission is all over the world by now…but I will have video and continue the story or maybe give more of the back story and continuing story of buying and smuggling Blue Hole sauce to Georgia and Florida…more coming.
Ken wrote nice piece here and with Brad Brune’s help in getting us a phone number he succeeded in nailing the story…
I am leaving Cape tomorrow so this adventure ends until I return in a month or so…
See…. I told you so. The Brune Family hasn’t been with out the Original Blue Hole Sauce in our pantry’s since Steinhoff had hair and Hopkins could see his feet. No defense boys.
It’s 10:30 PM August 16, 2013 Brune Standard Time. It’s been a great birthday. I had El Acapulco with two pitchers of Margaritas for lunch, and Gordonville Grill with draft Coors Light beer for supper. A couple of fine cheap cigars, and spent time with my dog Olivia, my first wife Kathie, both of my kids, and all three grandchildren. Life was good today.
Thanks for all the Birthday wishes through the Facebook. I’m not crazy about being 65, but thankful I’ve lived long enough to get medicare and social security. So many of our friends haven’t.
I used to drive a grade school bus for Nell Holcomb School and Martin Haupt did the maintenance on the busses at his house so I had the privilege of knowing Billie. Keeping ‘The Sauce’ alive and introducing their friends to Chattanooga Blush wine have made knowing these fine people a real pleasure.
If I recall correctly, Billie Haupt lives just down the road from my parents. I lived out near Egypt Mills from about 1988-1993 and if I am thinking correctly (been a few years) she made the best frosted sugar cookies. She had cookies as a Halloween treat for the kids (and adults).
I have bought sauces all over the country that look like Blue Hole but never found even close. John Boy and Billy grilling is close .
Blue Hole was the first stop on every single visit to Cape when my father was driving our old Nash Rambler from St. Louis. Dad figured out a way to sneak away from relatives every day we spent with our Vandivort or Stein cousins, usually accompanied by a kid sworn to secrecy. We would eat those delectable sandwiches with moans of bliss….and always weighted the car down with bottles of sauce on our return home. Thanks for this piece, Ken. Do you think I can have this ” nectar of the Gods” shipped tonIndiana?
The sauce was (is) very special but also the choice of meat, the smoking of the meat, the slicing of the meat and the toasting of the sandwich all made what we remember. And the cream soda with the sandwich….
The original Blue Hole had excellent soups, too, and was a great place for lunch. I remember quail hunters coming in there for lunch during the season and all the hunters’ talk. In my next life I’m coming back as a lunch diner, sitting on a counter stool at the ole Blue Hole. There was also car hop service some of the times I remember. It’s never been equaled….
I remember Billie Haupt well when she worked with Ralph Brennecke who owned the Blue Hole on N. Kingsway she allways had a smiling face. I wonder if anyone remembers the Shady Grove drive in at theNW corner of 74 and S. Sprigg. They had barbecue and a dance floor but it was mostly a beer joint this was in the late 40’s and the building is long gone a victim of highway expansion. I was a car hop there for a short time.
George Davis, I remember the Shady Grove well as a kid. My parents used to take me there. I lived on Hackberry Street, the firt street to the left north of Shady Grove. After it closed we went futher south to the Blue Hole. They had similar menues, but what I remember most about the Blue Hole was the cold chocolate milk in the little glass bottles.
I recall going to the Kingshighway location for a “Q” many times. Glenn Bishop was the owner at that time. Some years ago, I ran into Bill Bishop and I purchased a quart from him. Maybe it came from Billie, maybe he and his family made a batch. Thanks for the tip, I will be making an order. Another tip, if ever traveling thru Cairo, stop at Shemwell’s for a sandwich or just a pound of BBQ’d pork and buy a jar or two of their sauce. VERY good as well. Shemwells is located on the north side of highway 3 in town. On the east end of Cairo.
I’ve been in Shemwell’s many a time. They have very good catfish, too.
I also have fond memories of Blue Hole BBQ. You might try 17th Street Bar & Grill BBQ sauce. Not the same as Blue Hole, but mighty tasty and should be on local supermarket shelves. It’s almost as good as “Dave’s Ho-Made,” he said modestly–and much easier to find.
Thank You! I live in Texas now and plan to buy a gallon or 2 on my next trip back!
What I wouldn’t give for an original small bread Blue Hole sandwich and one of those “short dog” glass bottles of milk.
Are the son of Fred and Jewell Faris, brother of Johnny? My Mom and your Mom were good friends. They worked at the Bunny bakery and at one time ran a donut shop downtown Cape across from Woolworth’s.
hey there Donna …I have been trying to find my husbands family. I read another comment about a school in missouri. You stated your father was Lawton…brother of Victor..victor was my husbands grandpa..please respond if I have the right family! thanks
G.Paul Corbin are you the son of Grover Corbin and Mary Ann Juden? If so I knew both of your parents, I graduated from CHS with your mother Mary Ann. I also lived in the 1200 block of S Ellis which was right next to Hackberry St.and Giboney Houck woods, this was in the early 40’s.
Donna Doggett Horner
I well remember your mom and dad.
Your mom was my mom’s best friend.
I remember us all going camping.
To Dave Faris,
If you would like to correspond more , my e-mail address: email@example.com. Would like to learn about your family. Thanks.
@ George Davis: Grover Corbin was a cousin to my dad. I do remember him and his wife. My maternal cousins were the McCormicks who lived in the 1200 Block of Ellis. Maybe you might remember them. I lived on Hackberry from 1944 until 1949 until we moved to North Sprigg. Other relatives that lived in the immediate area to Ellis and Hackberry were Niswongers.
To G.Paul Corbin
I lived at 1228 S. Ellis in the early 40’s. I don’t remember any McCormics but I do remember some Niswongers. One of them maybe Jerry became a preacher if memory serves me right. Also remember Ragsdales, Jones, Lemonds and a Harry Davis(no relation). I played alot in Houck woods and Blue Bell Island.
to Paul Corbin, was Paula Corbin. a relative of yours?
@ Shireen, Yes, Paula Corbin was my cousin. Her dad and my dad were brothers.
I knew Paula through Brenda Strop McNeeley had some fun times back in the days. Is Paul’s in the area?
Is Paula in area? Spell check keeps changing her name to Paul’s.
I HAVE USED BLUE HOLE SINCE I FIRST ATE AT BLUE HOLE DOWN ON SPRIGG ST BACK IN THE FIFTY,E WILL NOT USE ANYTHINE ELSE ON MY BBQ,
I WILL TELL YOU A STORY SPRIGG STREET USE TO BE THE MAIN STREET INTO CAPE. I (ME) AND BUDDIES WENT TO AIR PORT FOR CIVIL AIR PATROL MEETING AT THE AIRPORT,
WE WENT IN, ATE THE BBQ AND SAID THE SAUCE WAS NOT HOT ENOUGH, THE NEXT MONDAY HE WAS WAITING ON US, THE NEXT TIME WE DID NOT COMPLAIN THAT THE SAUCE WAS NOT HOT ENOUGH, IT WAS JUST RIGHT..
I’ve heard that it was a mistake to say the sauce wasn’t hot enough. Be careful of what you ask for.
Paula Corbin passed away 12-25-2009.
Your right about Egypt Mills. When I tried to get satellite TV service here they told me it did not cover Egypt Mills. Took a lot of arguing but I convinced them, as I saw it go over one night. I guess I need to walk across the highway and get some sauce. I thought she only sold it on a very limited basis.
i went to amazon to look for blue hole barbeque sauce and they have everything but that. its too bad they wont ship..may not ever get back to cape even tho i was born there,i am getting too old to make the trip.Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.
The Blue Hole may be gone from the Cape Girardeau landscape, but connoisseurs can get a plateful of the delicious sandwiches at Webb’s in Jackson, MO or The Pig in Fredericktown, MO. I understand both were mirrored off the original.
I frequent The Pig for their combos every time I return to my hometown. I’ve dropped in at Webb’s on an occasional trip to Jackson to visit some of my relatives.
I haven’t been to The Pig, but I’ll give it a shot next time I go to Johnson’s Shut-Ins. I discovered a great BBQ in Pilot Knob the last time I was there. Can’t think of the name of it, but they had the best fried green tomatoes I’ve ever eaten, and I don’t like FGT.
I remember the Blue Hole in south Cape and always wondered why it was painted White with Red stripe horizontally. They had the best BBQ sandwiches both sliced and minced served on grill toasted bread. After they closed the second location on Kingshighway we would go to Wib’s in Jackson for their BBQ sandwiches and it was as close as we have ever found.
I remember the Blue Hole in south Cape. I always wondered why it was painted White with Red stripe horizontally. They had the best BBQ sandwiches in the World, both sliced and minced and served on grill toasted bread. After they closed the second location on Kingshighway we would go to Wib’s in Jackson for their BBQ sandwiches and it was as close as we have ever found.
Can you still get the bbq sauce?
You’ll have to call Billie at the number at the bottom of the post. I haven’t been out there in a couple of years.