PONCA CITY, Okla - It all began on a Naval Destroyer during World War II. Donovan "Bud" Head was a cook. While experimenting in the galley, Bud created a BBQ sauce recipe his fellow sailors savored!
He probably never imagined his sauce would become a staple at backyard BBQ's across the US and in 18 foreign countries. Head Country Vice President, Paul Schatt said, "I'm not saying that people cook bad BBQ in the backyard. But you put Head Country on it and it makes you king or queen of the grill."
Head Country is now Oklahoma's #1 selling BBQ sauce. The Ponca City manufacturing plant is a far cry from the sauce's very humble beginnings.
Bud Head and his wife, Freda produced the popular sauce from their NE Oklahoma ranchhouse. neighbors would line up with fruit jars. In 1977, it became too much to handle, so Bud passed along his secret recipe to a nephew. The price? $5000 plus one cent for every quart of BBQ sauce sold.
Year's later, there is a court battle brewing over that penny. Attorney, Garry Gaskins represents the Head children. He said, "Maybe the company got a little greedy with not compensating. It's one cent. You would think that would not hurt the bottom line that much."
Bud & Freda's children are suing Head Country Food Products to recover "back royalties." he Civil Suit, filed in Osage Country, seeks damages "in excess of $75,000" for Head Country's expanded product line.
They now include "Hot flavor," "Hickory Smoke flavor," "Championship Seasoning" and "Premium Marinade." Gaskins said,"All of these derivative flavors were made using the original recipe."
But Paul Schatte disagreed, "It's not adding more of less. It's a different recipe from the original recipe."
Conner & Winters is representing Head Country. But the firm "is not commenting on the suit".
6,000 gallons of BBQ sauce, That's 24,000 quarts, are produced at Head Country daily.
An out of court settlement has been rejected, so it'll likely be up to a judge to settle this family feud.