Safety Harbor BBQ Sauce Helps Veterans Memorial

Joe Kenyon pays homage to his friend, Zane Grabans, with his barbecue sauce business. He donates part of each sauce sale to a commemorative fund created in honor of Grabans.

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla .– July 4th and BBQ go hand in hand. But, the tasty tradition of meat smoking and hanging out works any day of the year for Joe Kenyon.

“I kind of grew up around that smell of smoke,” the Safety Harbor native said Thursday morning at one of his favorite local restaurants.

Placed on the bar at Whistle Stop Bar & Grill seated three of Kenyon’s delicious creations. Its range of BBQ sauces has caught the attention of many local restaurants and shops because of their incredible flavor and mission to inspire. He calls his line Joe’s Harbor-Q Pit Sauce.

“It’s very good. It’s been his recipe in his family for years,” said Louis Kinney, owner of Whistle Stop since February. “There’s a sweetness that jumps on our sandwich.”

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Kenyon, 31, is a military veteran, having served almost eight years in the Air Force. He was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and discovered that there, in the heart of barbecue country, some of the only things he had time to do was work, train and smoke pot. meat.

“I just got into the habit of quitting work and throwing something on the grill and letting it smoke for three to eight hours,” he said. “I kind of fell in love with it.”

It was there that he met his good friend, Zane Grabans. After four years of service, Grabans sadly committed suicide after returning home to Ohio. The news rocked her former roommate and barbecue buddy.

“He was so good at hiding it. Some people just get too good at hiding their feelings and the pain they’re going through, ”Kenyon said. “(The veterans) are fighting their own fight, one way or another, and I just want people to see that.”

Kenyon’s sauces, which he named Joe’s Harbor-Q Pit Sauce (with a little help from his mother), donates ten percent of sales to the Zane Grabans Memorial Foundation.

He was put in place by his family after his death. This is Kenyon’s way of giving back to a man who marked his life and served our nation.

“I am in constant contact with his mother,” he said. “I always want to be as much of her life as possible through her. She’s an amazing person. She’s been through a lot.

This idea was also adopted by Safety Harbor. The sauces became a hit on the main street of Kenyon’s hometown. It is served in several restaurants and even at the Mobil gas station. Port spice owners Todd and Heather Anderson are storing it. It has found its place in the menus of the Screaming jalapeno, BBQ in Brady’s Backyard, and three different dishes at The Whistle Stop.

“I come from a family of veterans and first responders and everything that has to do with that, we really want to be a big supporter,” Kinney said. “Everything to keep this going and to keep that camaraderie of what a small town means in this country and the people who protect this country are doing.”

If in a hurry, Kenyon can’t pick a favorite flavor. The original recipe includes beer from the Crooked Thumb Brewery in Safety Harbor. He also used St. Pete’s Horse Soldier Bourbon in his hotter sauce. Supporting local businesses is important to Kenyon. He even uses a Tampa company for his bottles.

The mission is simple: to support the family of a military veteran who committed suicide. Nationally, 23 veterans kill themselves on average per day. This statistic saddens people like Kenyon, especially since he knows someone personally associated with the tragic figure.

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Donating from his sauce sales, he says, is a special way to hopefully support those who are grieving.

“This is basically for scholarships and veterans suicide awareness,” Kenyon said. “There is a great motivation behind what I’m doing now. “

Joe’s Harbor-Q Pit Sauce comes in three flavors, Original, “The Floridian”, and Spicy “Hotel Oscar Tango”. You can find them online at Facebook and Instagram or by emailing Kenyon at [email protected]
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