Ready for some upbeat news in these troubled times?
About two-thirds of H-E-B’s 300 or so Texas grocery stores will begin selling Mark Gabrick’s line of sauces on Jan. 18.
“I’m so excited, Gabrick said in a recent interview. “A little nervous, but excited!”
Later, he added: “Will I be successful? I don’t know. I hope people like it. I’m thinking the situation with H-E-B was luck.”
Luck or not, the journey has been a long one. When the Covid virus pandemic began in earnest early last year, Gabrick shuttered his BBQ trailer near Austin and started exploring other possibilities. He had offered his homemade sauce at his place but had never before tried to make it a business.
He soon started selling his sauce over the Internet while trying to interest retailers. Months after he first contacted H-E-B, the grocery chain said yes.
Initially, H-E-B will offer three Gabrick sauces: Rebel Red, Sweet Heat and Texas Tang. Retail price: $4.89 for a 20.88-ounce bottle. By the end of the year, there will be two more varieties of sauce, as well as a spice rub and pickles, Gabrick said.
Last July 4th, the Posse tested Gabrick’s Texas Tang on baby back ribs. It was our BBQ courtesy to someone who has gone on tours with us. For a group whose motto is “Let the Meat Speak for Itself,” the sauce got strong reviews.
“For people who like sauce, this is really good sauce,” Posse member Sherry Jacobson said.
Using his recipes, Gabrick said the sauces are made at Absolutely World Class, a family business founded in 1991 and based in Abilene.
In a former life Gabrick, 48, was in advertising, writing TV commercials and designing print ads, a background that helped him as he tried to launch his sauce business. He has also operated BBQ joints in Florida and Texas.
“I miss my customers face time,” he said of selling barbecue. “But I certainly don’t miss getting up at 3:30 in the morning. Good lord.”
Nothing is certain in business, but If things work out, we may have to start calling Gabrick the “Sauce King” of Texas.