A venture to this state park is on the must-do list for many, the park being the only spot in North America where you can dig for diamonds and other gemstones and keep your finds.
I never know how I'm going to come across something delicious — that's part of the joys of this food writing gig. In my non-foodie life, I work for a local window and glass manufacturer, and it just so happened that a man by the name of Lynn A. Fowlkes stopped into our shop the other day looking for a serving window for a food truck he's building. My ears naturally perked up at the words "food truck," and I struck up a conversation with Fowlkes about what culinary delights he might be bringing to the Natural State from his former home base of Michigan.
It turns out that Fowlkes is a barbecue man, and since 2007 he's been developing his own line of gourmet sauces dubbed "My Uncle's Sauce" by his test-subject nieces. His base recipe is a concoction passed down through generations of his family, with tweaks made by Fowlkes along the way. The sauce comes in two varieties, Original and Hot, and being the spice fan that I am, I sampled a bottle of the hot variety. The verdict? It's really good sauce, mild and sweet on the tongue at first with a noticeable habanero kick on the back end that makes for a well-balanced flavor profile. Fowlkes is currently having his sauce bottled in Benton and hopes to be selling it retail within a few weeks.
Talking to the chef about his sauce, I was a bit skeptical when he said that he's had people tell him that they use it on everything from scrambled eggs to catfish, but after cooking up a meal that utilized the sauce in a pot of beans, some barbecue chicken, and even a dash in a batch of cole slaw, I have to say that I'm now a believer. Fowlkes hasn't decided if he wants to open up his food truck in Little Rock or in the Hot Springs area — and if his meat is as good as his sauce, I'm hoping he picks Little Rock. He's a friendly, passionate guy who is adamant about creating a great product, so I hope we see his sauce on shelves soon.
It's always exciting to see new handmade products hit the area, especially ones of such superior quality. Arkansans, like people in most barbecue loving states, are particular about their favorites, and I have a feeling that once Mr. Fowlkes gets established here, his sauce will be a welcome addition to the debate.