Blue Hole BBQ Sauce

Blue Hole Garden BBQ sauce 08-16-2013Buddy 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

Blue Hole GardenSomewhere 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 Haupt with Blue Hole BBQ pot 08-13-2013_8232Billie 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.

Iona Cemetery

Iona Cemetery 04-20-2011

Old tombstones are generally the most interesting, but here’s a contemporary one in the Iona Cemetery that was worth a second look. James R. Peters was born in 1946, and he ordered his tombstone well in advance of its need. He died in 2010, so the font is slightly different.

It reads:





Peters was an author

Iona Cemetery 04-20-2011

Peters wrote under the pen names George L. Bond and George Gray. Someone who actually knew the man described him as a bit of an odd duck, but I can’t find my notes. Maybe they’ll chime in.

You pretty much have to know what you’re looking for to find the cemetery. It’s up a steep gravel lane on the north side of  Route V outside Oriole. (If you have to ask where Oriole is, you’ll probably NEVER find the cemetery.)

John McLard served in War of 1812

Iona Cemetery 04-20-2011

Some of the graves date back to the mid-1800s. John McLard, it is noted, served in the War of 1812.

Tornado scrambled stones

Iona Cemetery 04-20-2011

LaFern Stiver, who was guiding me around the Oriole – Indian Creek area, said an isolated tornado touched down on the hilltop cemetery in June of 2003, knocking over tombstones and carrying some away. A Missourian story said that it may never be possible to place all the stones in their proper places because the cemetery was never plotted.

Nearly 200 internments

Iona Cemetery 04-20-2011The Missourian reported the Iona Cemetery Association had compiled a list of 120 internments in 1984, and said only a few people have been buried there since. The FindaGrave website, on the other hand, lists 198 names.

Martha “Marty” Humes Manes on that site has done an excellent job of documenting many of the people interned there.

Mother Nature’s a Tease

Mother and I took a swing over to Jackson so I could get my Wib’s BBQ fix. The sky to the west looked dark blue and the radar was painting lots of reds and yellows. As soon as the server had taken our order, there was a brilliant flash outside the window. To be on the safe side, I went out to the car to get the umbrella.

That probably doomed Mother’s corn crop down at Dutchtown. It didn’t rain at Wib’s. This guy’s field doesn’t look all that great, either.

I stood on a high piece of ground in Fruitland trying to get a look at a controversial quarry there. I missed a couple of good lightning bolts (they missed me, too. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this). No rain.

Egypt Mills Trinity Lutheran Church

After my presentation at the Altenburg Museum Tuesday night, Tom Neumeyer mentioned that he had seen a large Steinhoff headstone at the Trinity Lutheran Church at Egypt Mills.

So, we went out past the KFVS TV tower (once the world’s tallest structure), to check it out. We found several stones and recognized some of the names, but they weren’t part of our immediate clan.

I liked the look of this small outbuilding and took a couple of frames while being teased by rumbles and flashes. (You can click on the photos to make them larger.)

Heat records shattered

Heat records are being shattered as are records for the number of days in a row the temperature has hit 100 or higher.  The last time St. Louis was this hot for this long was in 1936, said Jim Keeney, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Central Region Headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. Then, the city recorded 13 days in a row of temperatures 100 degrees Fahrenheit or over. That devastating heat wave of the mid-’30s killed thousands of people and destroyed many crops.

We see clouds build up, hear thunder, see impressive radar returns, then the storms dissipate or split, going around Cape.

Hoping to walk to Tower Rock

The Southeast Missouri Geocaching folks are keeping a close eye on the Mississippi River gauges at Chester and Cape Girardeau. When the Chester gauge reads 0 and / or the Cape gauge reads 7, the water is low enough to walk across to Tower Rock, just south of Wittenberg. The gauges are at 5.39 and 11.23, with a gentle rise predicted.

Brother Mark and I picked our way to it October 12, 2003. He climbed to the top of the rock with his bicycle for reasons only he could explain.

Egypt Mills Trinity Lutheran Church

I was roaming around the Oriole – Egypt Mills area with Friend Shari’s mother, LaFern Stiver, last spring. Once we got photos of the places we wanted (I’ll get around to them one of these days), we just rambled.

We paused at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Egypt Mills. It’s a remarkably well-preserved church and cemetery located at 5665 County Road 635, just down the road from the barn I shot with Shari.

Other area churches

Photo gallery of Trinity Lutheran Church

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to mover through the gallery.