Since the day Rye opened in Leawood, guests have found two house-made condiments in bottles on every table: a barbecue sauce and a hot sauce.
Now diners can take those condiments home with them to slather on their own burnt ends and fried chicken.
James Beard award-winning chef Colby Garrelts has commercially bottled his sauces with the help of Original Juan’s. They’re available for sale at the restaurant as well as specialty stores, including the Kansas City BBQ Store, Lukas Wine & Spirits and Dean & DeLuca.
Garrelts competes in barbecue competitions (last weekend he won in chicken but bombed in brisket), and he is business partners with Joe’s KC founders Jeff and Joy Stehney in Rye. Garrelts and his wife, Megan, have a second restaurant opening on the Country Club Plaza in the fall.
But Garrelts says his plunge into the world of barbecue sauce is about his own brand extension: “I really just wanted a table sauce, and I didn’t want to put somebody else’s sauce on my table,” he says.
How is his Genuine Kansas City BBQ Sauce different from the sea of local sauces already out there?
“It’s not sticky sweet,” he says. “It’s kind of a chef’s barbecue sauce.”
Garrelts, who also owns Bluestem in Westport, is a classically trained chef.
His Genuine Kansas City BBQ Sauce ($5) is a traditional molasses-based recipe with apple cider vinegar, white wine, Dijon mustard and spices. Flavorwise, it’s similar to what is currently served at the restaurant, but pasteurization to make it shelf-stable required changing the fresh tomatoes to canned pastes and purees.
The Hot Sauce ($7) — made at the restaurant with smoked Fresno chilies and jalapenos combined with cider vinegar, garlic and brown sugar — was actually harder to replicate in big batches.
“They’re both good, and I’m proud of both,” he says, adding that creating the sauces was “a bucket list thing for me.”
Garrelts is also happy the barbecue sauce amplifies his childhood food roots.
“It’s finally cool to be where you are from … people are really grasping on to their heritage,” the Kansas City native says.
Jill Silva is The Star’s James Beard award-winning food editor. Reach her at @kcstarfood.