By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – As a woman’s hand gingerly dipped a piece of pork into the bowl of barbecue sauce, Joe Horn pushed her hand in a little bit further into the bowl, drowning the meat in the sauce.
“That’s how we do it in New Orleans,” Horn said, laughing.
The Tupelo native and former New Orleans Saints was in town on Sunday promoting his new barbecue sauce, Bayou 87, at Todd’s Big Star and Palmer’s Supermarket. Horn shook hands, signed bottle after bottle of sauce, and encouraged folks to try both the original and the spicy versions of the sauce.
“My favorite is the original,” Horn said. “I don’t like too much spicy food.”
Horn, who was inducted into the Saints’ Hall of Fame in 2010, said he started Bayou 87 after his friends suggested he market his homemade sauce.
“I just took a bunch of spices from my kitchen,” he said. “A lot of times when people are making their own barbecue, they buy a bunch of sauces from the store and mix them together. I wanted to make a sauce where people didn’t want to add to it.”
Proceeds from the sale of Bayou 87 are now going to New Orleans’ Women’s Shelter. Horn plans to begin donating proceeds from next quarter’s sales to S.A.F.E. Inc., a domestic violence shelter in Tupelo.
“I saw how Paul Newman helped charities through his salad dressing, and I wanted to do the same thing,” he said.
Horn splits his time between Mississippi and Louisiana, and right now that’s where the sauce is being sold.
He said he hopes to get Bayou 87 into restaurants, but for now, he just wants football and barbecue fans to give the sauce a try.
“It’s a great-tasting sauce,” Horn said. “I just want them to taste it.”
At Todd’s, a group of kids rally around Horn for a photo and autographs, and then dig in on the sauce.
Again, Horn tells the kids to give the sauce a try. As a little boy tries to dip the pork in the bowl, Horn encouraged him.
“Dip it on in there, man,” he said.