It’s always time for BBQ. I have a great story about a barbecue sauce brand created by three men,  Rodney Robinson, Lathay Pegues, and Terrell Cooper. John Tom Branson, the grandfather of the co-founders, is the inspiration behind the product. The sauce can be found in Kroger, Target, and as a part of the food service in several Indiana colleges.


What is the inspiration behind John Tom’s BBQ Sauce? 

John Tom Branson, our grandfather, is the inspiration behind our product. His love for barbecue was undeniable. Born in the “Deep South,” he relocated his family to Indiana, where he continued to define his barbecue passion. On most summer weekends, you could find John Tom “wood smoking” meat and selling BBQ dinners to loyal neighborhood customers. The locals felt his presence, but his secret sauce made him a BBQ legend. John Tom’s eldest grandson was usually right by his side, helping prepare each batch. And while he was too young to remember the recipe, he tried to replicate the secret formula years after John Tom passed away. After nearly five years of trial and error, he still hadn’t duplicated his grandpa’s recipe but surprisingly created his own. He rightfully called it… JohnTom’s Barbecue Sauce.


What are some unique challenges your brand has faced over the years?

Like most small businesses, we’ve faced challenges with access to capital, supply, and manufacturing issues, and identifying the right opportunities to scale. The pandemic really rocked us, but we were able to maintain it and received a lot of support from our loyal fans and followers – their support was invaluable. But we’ve also made a lot of mistakes too, and that is what has fueled our successes during our formative years. We learned from those mistakes and continued to press forward, embrace our failures, and remain nimble. An advantage to being a small business is our ability to pivot and adjust in real time.

What would you like our readers to gain from this interview?

Know that we’re so much more than a barbecue sauce. At the core, we are about barbecue culture. It’s tradition. We’ve developed an understanding that barbecue is a universal pastime that transcends global boundaries. It’s about our commitment to excellence and defining success on our terms. Just like our grandfather did. It’s about perseverance and dedication – enduring any hurdle or obstacle to uncover your passions. Success looks different to everyone, but it feels great to look back on what we’ve accomplished, who we’ve been able to inspire, and how we can continue motivating other entrepreneurs.

How can our readers stay in touch with you?

We’re active on both Facebook and Instagram (@johntomsbbq). You can also purchase our product on Amazon, and if you do, please leave us a review.


Photo Credits: JohnTom’s Barbecue Sauce