Slawsa Packs Flavor and Family Roots
Story and photos By Kent Whitaker
Originally printed in the National Barbecue News
Now you can add flavor to your hotdog or bratwurst with a condiment that is far beyond normal toppings. Its great not only on grilled links of any sort but I found that it tasted great on burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches, crackers, chips and more.
A few years ago I met longtime Chattanooga resident Judson Odom. He needed a few ideas and graphics for a product he was developing. Yep, I said graphics. Before culinary writing, cookbooks, chef stuff and writing about golf and NASCAR I was a graphic artist as well as a video editor. Judson was turning his longtime family recipe into a consumer product and needed a fellow foodie that could help.
When we were done Judson handed me a couple of jars of his family recipe and said “You’re going to love this stuff.” He was right. Ally and I tried Slawsa on a hot dog and quickly sampled it with just about everything in our kitchen. And I mean everything. The last few spoonfuls were used in a batch of meatballs. It’s similar to how Slawsa was invented. His mom was a master of combining things in the kitchen with great results. “My mom started making Slawsa when I was a child,” Judson said. “She could pull a recipe out of her hat and it always tasted good.”
So what is Slawsa? It’s a combination of several things starting with a cabbage base and a nice mix of spices and pickled vegetables. If you’re from the South you can compare it to chow-chow and grandmother’s secret relish recipe. What sets Slawsa apart is its versatility and deep flavor. This makes it more appealing to a larger audience as not only a topper but also as a recipe ingredient. Judson loved the taste and flavor as did many of his friends. It was his inspiration to start his business using his mother’s recipe. He believed that if family and friends enjoyed Slawsa then so would others.
After thinking about his Slawsa business idea for close to twenty years Judson decided to add a second career to his life as an electrician. His nights, weekends and spare time were thrown towards his dream. He perfected his recipe, developed a logo, and trademarked the name, found an industrial kitchen and producer. He soon had his product in small retail stores and even golf course snack bars and restaurants.
The opportunity to move Slawsa further came when Judson made contact with Julie Busha. Judson and Julie had talked several times over the course of a few months but lost contact. Julie’s expertise is based in marketing and sales. Not only did she work with General Mills but she was the Marketing Director for an agency started by NASCAR driver Bobby Labonte which handled sponsors and clients within motorsports.
“I had spoken to Judson a few times over the phone,” Busha said. “There was probably a five month lag time that we lost contact. It was late March, 2011 when we reconnected through facebook of all things.”
With Julie on board things really began to move forward. She utilized her food background with her branding knowledge and started to increase Slawsa’s contacts in the grocery industry, helped Judson reduce costs related to materials and production, simplified the logo, started social media pushes and more. Judson had developed a product with a family recipe and late nights. Judson and Julie were now creating a brand.
What better way to describe Slawsa than to use Julie’s own words. “We like to think Slawsa is a one-of-a-kind; and delicious product as well as a developing small business success story.” I agree with Julie and Judson. Slawsa makes a hot dog, bratwurst or smoked sausage a meal to remember and beats relish and chow chow hands down.
Look for Slawsa in the relish section of your grocery store. If they don’t have it you can request that your local retailer add it to their shelves. You can purchase Slawsa online and search their growing list of retailers on www.slawsa.com
Soy Grilled Salmon with Slawsa
This recipe is from the kitchen of Chattanooga Chef Jenard Wells who is often called the Love Chef. He is the author of 88 Ways to Her Heart: Cooking for Lovers.
1 1/2 Pounds Salmon Fillets, approx. 4-6
Lemon Pepper Seasoning
1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Directions - Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt to taste. In a re-sealable plastic bag, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and olive oil until sugar is dissolved. Add Salmon with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 min. or up to 2 hours, turning every 15-30 minutes.
Preheat grill on medium heat or pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil grill grate or oil baking pan. Place salmon on the preheated grill or pan. Discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side on grill or bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove from oven or grill plate and top with Slawsa.
Salmon picture via Slawsa
SLAWSA Contact Information
Slawsa - Nicole Foods
PO Box 8123
Chattanooga, TN 37414