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Back to Shack Recipe


I made a batch of the Shack Barbeque Sauce on the web. Great stuff to be sure, but I changed it just a we bit...

Instead of using all (3) 24oz bottles of ketchup, I used (2 and a half) and filled the other half with dark rum. (thats right, dark rum) everything else was as stated in the recipe. WOW, the flavor is AWSOME!!

I have used dark rum in other sauces that I have made from scratch and they have always turned out very well... Just thought I'd drop you this note.

P.S. I make a custom sauce that I call 'Booger' I've been makin this for the last 22 years. It is very hot and not for the faint of heart. I use (3) diff kinds of hot pepper in this sauce. It is great on everything from a B-lonie' sam'ich to a pot of white-beans and everything in-between...

Thank You

Paul R. Behen


I managed The Shack #3 on Main in North Little Rock for a few years in the late 70's. I haven't tried this recipe yet, but you can bet I will in the next few weeks. It has a time honored tradition of appealing to everyone, the spicy sauce lovers and the not-spicy lovers.

In respect of Mr. Lammers, the sauce did stay the same after Multiplex Inc. purchased the franchise from Casey Slaughter, and H.B. Slaughter had his place on Lancaster before his brothers' was sold; and yes they still are there and still making the good stuff.

The Shack Bar B Q that is in North Little Rock now, at Morgan Exit on I-40, has some similarities, but it wasn't connected to the Slaughter family as best I can remember. After Casey Slaughter sold the "Shack" franchise, he opened a very successful cattery off of Rebsaman Rd. at the bottom of Cantrell hill, it was (is?)called "Casey'S".

Thanks so much for posting this recipe, it will always be my favorite bar b q sauce of all time.

Dennis Thigpen

Dear Dick,

I grew up within a few blocks of the original Shack on Third St. in Little Rock, Arkansas. You can't even imagine my delight in finding the recipe you posted last night! I thought you might be interest in what Paul Harvey would call "The rest of the story."

Somewhere in the late 50's the Shack (and it was a shack) sold for a reported $3.5m. That was a staggering sum for those days, especially for something like The Shack. The new owners immediately set out to lower the quality and amount of meat served as well as altering the sauce. Best I remember, they only laster for about three or four years.

Mewhile, the brother of the original owner, one H. B., moved into a tiny drive-in in a residential neighborhood off 65th street in the Industrial District of Little Rock. He took the recipe with him and before long, with only word-of-mouth advertising, you couldn't get in the place. There were five tables, as I remember, and the rule was; if there is an empty seat it was yours. Most of their business was take-out served through a drive-in window.

Now H. B. had this place with another brother and they started to argue, so H. B. moved to another tiny shack of a place on a freeway exit in North Little Rock with his beautiful daughter to help him run it.

Things were pretty bad for them for awhile, but slowly the business started to stream in and before too long H. B. bought a large lot a few blocks away and build a beautiful new building and the rest, as they say, is history.

They cooked only brisket and chopped it for sandwitches. I always loved the B B Q Plate, which consisted of sliced brisket, (never enough) the canned Bar-B-Q or Ranch beans with the Sauce in them, sliced tomatoes and cabbage only slaw that had the Sauce spread on it. They also served two slices of white bread. Not a very fancy feast, but I could never get enough of it. When I could afford it I would order two plates.

It is a very well known fact (ask anyone who knows me) that I don't like HOT stuff. But I LOVE THIS SAUCE! I just happen to have three pounds of country pork ribs thoughed out for tonight and will cut this recipe by one third to try it out. I will let you know the results. It is my opinion that anyone could start a Bar-B-Q Joint anywhere in the country and put everyone else out of business using this Sauce!

I can never thank you enough for this wonderful find.

Most Respectfully,
C. Wayne Lammers

From: James Martin (email removed)
Subject: Your so called BBQ sauce
Date: Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Well I tried your BBQ sauce or should I say Hotdog Chili sauce cause all you would need to do is add ground beef and it would be barely fit to put on a hotdog. My rib's were so juicy and tender and then I put your sauce on them and then my wife and friends said it was horrible and wouldn't eat it after I had a bite I agreed 100%.

I don't know what you call BBQ sauce where you are from, but I know your recipe is not even close to being good BBQ sauce! South Carolina has some of the best BBQ sauces around and none of them even resemble what you have.

This email is not meant to be an insult to your BBQ sauce, maybe you don't know what good sauce tastes like, But I now know what bad BBQ sauce tastes like. I have attached a good BBQ sauce recipe for you to try cause you need to know what good sauce is and there is also a site to send your BBQ sauce to to have it reviewed. Send it there I will keep watching the site for your review, probably one star or less. (link removed - dp has link)

recipe to dp was here ........
blah blah
2 tablespoons chili powder NOT 4 OUNCES
blah ... more recipe with emphasis (shouting on 4 OUNCES)

Note from webmaster (not dp): I do not take sides but I do not publish recipes on testmonial page. Also I removed all email and links e.g. I do not promote other sites or give out email addresses.
Well, James you seem to want to emphasize the difference in 2 ounces or 4 when you are making one third as much volume...Makes no difference, as you are obviously dissatisfied, and as I wish to make it right to you, I will offer to refund you ten times the amount you paid for this disappointing mess. Please forward your receipt and a return address to which I can forward the money.

As the batch is inedible in your enlightened part of the world, might I suggest you use it for treating athlete's foot or to prevent/cure mange on canines.

Always a pleasure to hear from you.

Good day sir:

I used to lived in Savannah, GA for a number of years and moved to Hawaii. I could not find any type BBQ sauce close to what we had in GA. The only way that I could get good BBQ sauce was to order from back home.

One day my wife suggested that I look on the internet and see if I could find something that might be close to what we liked. I went on google and found the Shack sauce.

Read all the testimonials and figured that all those people could not be making up a story. So I made up a batch of the sauce and good golly molly what a pleasant surprise it was. Thought I was back in GA. Needless to say that afternoon I made some ribs and invited some friends to come and try this new sauce. It was a great hit.

Because I made the whole recipe, I had more than enough to give some to my friends to take home, which they did gladly.

Thank you for sharing this great recipe with other

Glenn Hirata
Honolulu, HI



I was just commenting to my wife this evening about the poor flavor of barbeque sauces we buy at the store. Then I got an inspiration, went to Google and typed in "The Shack", Arkansas, barbecue. Your recipe was the very first hit. I have a pan of it cooking right now (1/4 recipe) and it smells and tastes great. (I ladled a bit over some chopped pork butt for a taste.)

My connection is this: I worked in The Shack on Dickson Street in Fayetteville in 1970 & 1971. I drove delivery (VW bug) and washed dishes, but eventually hit the big time and worked the meat table, where I chopped up brisket and pork butt with a huge meat cleaver. Big stainless pots of Shack Sauce steamed away within arm's length of my position.

I was paid $1.40 per hour, but got free food, and after closing / during clean up--free beer too. I'll never forget tearing off a big strand of brisket fresh from the smoker, dipping it in the Shack sauce, throwing my head back and dropping it into my mouth. My weight in those years was about 145, but I hit 160 working at the Shack.

I developed quite a taste for the stuff. After graduation and settling in Russellville, I stopped at the one on Cantrell several times on trips to Little Rock.

Thanks for the great recipe.

Nick Kennedy



Really enjoyed your recipe and you do have it down right.

I worked for a contractor off of 2d Street in the 60's when the Shack was on 3rd street near the Capital. I have never forgotten the taste of those great BBQ sandwiches. I used to always stop and get one if we working in town.

Been all over the world with the government since then and nothing ever come close to their taste or smell. Years later returning home to visit Mom and Dad, I ran into a franchise of Shacks that had opened around Little Rock and I stopped and ate at several of them for a couple of years when I was in town. They had the recipe pretty darn close. Then they too disappeared.

The only thing left was the "little shack" on 65th street . . I remember it being owned in the 60's by Dutch Slaughter, who was a brother to the original owner ( was told that). Sadly it's been 4 or 5 years since I dropped by but there sandwiches taste nothing like the original shack sandwiches. Thank you for the recipe and we will certainly try it.

Thank You

Gifford Lee
Madison, AL

My brother turned me on to the Shack BBQ sauce recipe you're offering and I've become a convert! This is a fantastic sauce!! When I originally tried it I was taken aback by the amount of pepper in the ingredients list, and after tasting it out of the pot thought thought nobody but a hard-core pepper lover (like myself, for instance) would enjoy it. But I followed the recipe and after the brew had time to meld I was pleasantly surprised with a concoction that was very delicious.

I've found it to be good on beef, pork, chicken, and even FISH!!! We regularly use your sauce on fish that we catch and have found it to be an extraordinary mop for the tuna beast. Good flavor without being overpowering and having enough vinegar to penetrate the meat without leaving the film associated with more sugary sauces that overly blacken the meat. Very righteous sauce, indeed.

Thanks for making this available to us. Best to you and yours.

Great Grilling!!

Paul Adams
Long Island, NY

I have made this sauce for 3 years now, and the only variation is that I make the ketchup from scratch from the tomatoes in the garden. Other than that I follow the recipe to the letter (sometimes add some fresh fruit like peaches to mix it up a bit). I absolutely love it. Unfortunately I always make it in October, and it never seems to last me until the next summer. It's usually all eaten by March or April!

Thank you so much!
(From: Dan Pozzobon)
I am a fairly good cook who has cooked professionally in past. I love bbq and bbq sauce and have been making my own for decades now. I am always looking for something new and I came across your recipe. Like a lot of others who have replied, I was skeptical. It has so few ingredients and the chili powder and mustard reminded me of my army days (where I was a cook and first learned to make bbq sauce). Well, having made it I am sorry to say that it doesn't do it for me. I like the tang but it lacks depth. Frankly, any bbq sauce that omits worstershire sauce is suspect. I admit I have not tried it on any meat yet but as it is I think it is just too bland. I am going to use it up though. Maybe my mind will be changed. Thanks anyway.

CC in Des Moines, Iowa
Hi Dick,

Well I was very skeptical to say the least about making this BBQ sauce. I have never heard of the shack or it's famous BBQ sauce. I am from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. I came across your recipe by accident, just surfin the net and saw your web page.

Well I made a batch of the "sauce" just to see if it was all this and all that. I had a BBQ party last night and decided to use the sauce, well now I have to make another batch of it because all my bottles just magically disappeared.

My brother inlaw actually started to drink it right out of the bottle, all he kept saying was he's gotta have more, and he said he was gonna keep that bottle and be back next week for more. This guy was addicted to cattlebaron BBQ sauce for years but I think he's been converted to shack sauce now.

I slow cooked a nice pork roast and for the last 20 minutes I just smeared it with the sauce. It was unbelievable my guest ate the whole roast in like 5 min. I haven't had anything like this in years. I will never have to buy commercial BBQ sauce again. And your right about the pepper. I followed the recipe to the letter and it turned out excellent.

Unbelievable that's all I have to say about it!
Thanks for the recipe.

Ron Carr

Was just surfing when I came across your website. My best friend and I worked at the Shack on Keightly (Cantrell & Mississippi) while attending High School (him Catholic, me Hall). I have been cooking that sauce for years and your recipe is right on.

Toast a bun, shred some cabbage, throw on some smoked chopped meat and slap on some sauce and you have the original Shack barbeque.

In your baked beans add prepared mustard, brown sugar, smoked chopped meat and some shack barbeque sauce and you'll have Shack's barbeque beans.

Take a deep fat fryer, heat the grease, drop in a frozen hamburger patty and when done, you'll have a Shack hamburger!! We used to have to keep a charcoal fire going in the kitchen to cook maybe one or two hamburgers a day. The deep fat fryer used for french fries worked much better!

For those friends of ours that came in and gave us a hard time, we dusted their barbeque sandwich with hot pepper. Oh, the memories....

Philip A. Ragsdale, CPA

Just a short note of thanks for leading me back to the "taste" I had forgotten about.

Through the 80's I lived in Florida and got hooked on Sonny's BBQ particularly the sauce. I have never been able to duplicate it in my kitchen or off the store shelves.

Last week I came across your recipe and after making the first batch was blown away with the taste. Even my Grandkids were putting it on thier plates and lapping it up with bread.

Up here in the Windy city all the "homemade" rib and beef joints seem to favor the sickening sweet smoke sauce. I will never buy a bottle of BBQ sauce again thanks to you.

You can use my testamonial as you wish.

Thanks again,
Don Larson.
Dear Dick Price:

I apologize for doubting. Oh yes, I doubted; I doubted that ketchup-plain-ole-run-down-the-street ketchup-could be used as a base; I doubted that 4 ounces of black pepper was valid; I doubted that the apple-shaped jar of "regular ole smear on hotdog yeller mustard" might actually work. Huh! I even doubted that any of those testimonials were true-I assumed that each one was merely you and a host of your friends and relatives. Yes, I doubted, but now I apologize from the bottom of my heart because I was wrong! I was so very WRONG! Your recipe works even better than anyone else has dared to tell you.

This is the best tasting BBQ sauce I have EVER tasted, and I don't even eat meat.

Let me explain. I was preparing a barbecue for a guest, and he cannot eat wheat or wheat products. His allergy challenges a cook in ways I had never imagined. Regular vinegar is out, as are most other things that contain it. My menu included BBQ ribs and I began searching for a sauce without wheat. Yours caught my eye because of its simplicity and ease of recipe adjustment.

I made my own mustard from seed, using Rice vinegar and substituted Rice vinegar everywhere else. I'm sure that YOUR original will work perfectly; just as you say; And nobody should doubt you. I'm delighted that doubt did not win out over reason.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have a "secret" BBQ sauce that's much too easy to make, and more delicious than any I have tasted in my 50 something years of living.

Mo Lyons
Mr. Price,

Yesterday I stepped into my kitchen and made history. Not only did I accomplish this by making a quick, easy, but very flavorful batch of barbeque sauce from the recipe posted, but I also made history by freeing myself from EVER buying Barbeque sauce again !!!!!.

I made my first batch and even used Grapette in it...WOW !!! Later in the day, I put on a baseball game , fired up the grill and called the neighbors. I grilled baby backs, tri tip and chicken.

After slow cooking the meat and basting it with the sauce, dinner was served. Needless to say, the sauce was a hit !!! and everybody raved, even a neighbor who claims he can't eat spicy food, knocked down several baby backs without complaint.

I took your advice and used the empty ketchup(catsup, your choice) containers to bottle my sauce, and even had enough to send folks home with some.

I would just like to say " THANK YOU" for being so generous to post your recipe and allowing myself and others to make history.
Hi Dick,

I gave your sauce a try and I must say I am very impressed. I love making my own sauce at home. I have been making my own kind of sauce for the last 2 years which is quite different from this. I gather from your writings that you like BBQ sauce as much as I do, and I hope you do not take offense to a little variation to your sauce. I thought you might like to try this if you get a little time. Once again I do not mean to offend you and If I do.....All Apologies.

Try This....Add 1 cup of Apple Cidar Vinegar. 1 bottle of Terriyaki (I use World Harbor, Im sure anything would work. Its about 12 oz.) 12 oz of Honey. And you were right on the money with a little extra sugar.

Im sure you can tell by this that the sauce is a little sweeter, but all things are here in Bethalto IL.........If you have any other suggestions or variations on your sauce that you didn't put on the web site, I would love to hear them.

Thanks for a new idea,
Officer Jason Lamb
Bethalto Police Department
Dear Dick,

My roots are in Arkansas and I remember my dad driving all the way across the country and trying to make it into LR before the Shack closed one night. Dad was a military man and we were changing duty stations. It had just closed when we got there, but dad went in anyway and came out with the sandwiches we were all waiting for.

That was in the late 50's and the Shack was down near the capitol. My mom used to make a sauce we called "Shack Sauce" and it is very good, but it is still not the Shacks. I will make up a gallon, not skimping on pepper or Tabasco sauce ,and see what comes out. Thanks for the posting.

Miles Kelly
Hey you,

I love to cook and make my meals from scratch, right down to the homemade bbq sauce. I haven't been on a budget in a while and have been eating out excessively. After over spending due to not balancing my check book I decided to go back on a budget. ( I always think I can balance my check book in my head - then just when I'm least expecting it ,Bam!, I forgot I wrote a large check) I have been doing this for 10 years.

Anyhow, enough about my financial crisis, I was on-line looking for a good bbq sauce to make bbq chicken this past weekend. I wasn't instantly attracted to the Shack bbq sauce website because I thought it was associated with the basket ball player and I don't like that kinda hype....anyhow, read through the recipe , wrote down the ingredients, but not the amounts. Went home and made a small jar of the sauce. It turned out incredible!!

We have a famous BBQ joint in my town called the smoke pit and their sauce is to die for, until now. I LOVE this bbq sauce and will absolutely claim it as my own and brag to my friends how I put it together. ha ha Beings you had mentioned on your website that I could!!! Anyhow, thanks for the freebee recipe and good luck with your book, if you are serious about it, I would purchase a copy.

muddy girl
Dear Dick,
I have a small Pizza shop here in the Florida Keys. Everything we sell is from a recipe, nothing is sold from the can to the customer. We tried various BBQ sauces and found they all lacked originality and taste.

One day I made a bunch of Shack sauce and Bingo! Everyone started complimenting our sauce! There are BBQ places in the Keys that boast "our own sauce" and such but none come close to ours now. We sell BBQ pork subs and Shacks has made them a winner here.

We start with a homemade recipe of MOJO marinade including orages and mangos, complete Sason,cumin and then cook 100# of cushion pork up at 350' for 4 hours in sealed 18X24 pans. Then we shut down the oven and let it slowly cool all night. The next day we pull the pork apart into fiberous strips, add the Shacks and freeze it in 5# parcels. When we need one we just thaw it and reheat it in the steamer pot. It's Great!

Thanks for the recipe.
Joe at Pizza in the Mangroves
...Mile Marker 88.8 in Tavernier

From Kristin (2003):
Just to let you know, after we made your BBQ Shack sauce, my husband, who considers himself a BBQ guru, declared, "you will no longer make any other sauce but that one, EVER! In fact, I will not allow any other sauce into our house!!"

So congratulations on a great sauce, and we'll be enjoying it again today for our Labor Day BBQ party.
Thanks! Kristin :)


From Don Connor (2003)
I grew up in Little Rock and had my first Shack sandwich at the shop on what is now the Capitol grounds. Later I frequented their place at 3rd and Victory and still go to H & B's on Lancaster off 65th Street when I get to Little Rock.

Louisiana has marvelous food, but good barbecue is not on their list. But what you grow up with becomes the benchmark and makes one difficult to please with anything less.

I made up the full batch from your recipe. Slow cooked a Boston Butt roast over a charcoal fire on indirect heat. Let the pork cool till I could pull it apart, placed it lovingly on buns topped with shredded cabbage, gingerly laced with sauce on the cabbage and on the top bun piece and savored. Got a little tear in one eye . It was excellent.

You no idea how many times my wife and I have tried to look behind the scenes to get a clue as to their secret.

This has been a hoot.
Thanks so much

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