2007 NFL Hall of Fame Inductee Charlie Sanders, who dazzled the crowds with breathtaking football catches, has mastered a different type of "Gridiron," meant to make you lick your lips.
In his time, 1968 to 1977, Sanders dominated the playing field, being asked to the Pro Bowl seven of his 10 years in the National Football League.
Until recently, only Sanders' family, friends, teammates and colleagues have been able to enjoy the delicious taste of Charlie's special blend of sauce smothered on chicken or ribs which have been barbecued to perfection. But now, "Charlie Sanders' Gridiron Gourmet Barbecue Sauce" is available for sale in stores throughout Michigan.
Sanders described his sauce as more than just a barbecue sauce but, "an all-purpose sauce that can and has been used on everything from the finest piece of meat, fish or poultry down to potato chips and french fries."
Once joining the Lions coaching staff in 1989, Sanders was elected to barbecue during cookouts held by the Lions organization. After Lions players and fellow coaches tried the sauce, they were hooked, according to Charlie. As a result, those who tasted Sanders' sauce requested he make large amounts for their personal use.
It all began when Sanders would barbecue with his father-in-law, Lyman Myers. According to Charlie, his father-in-law's recipe was good, but they kept modifying it and testing it throughout the years. Finally, in 1990, after being approached at a cookout by someone interested in investing in the sauce, Sanders became serious about marketing and selling his creation. Shortly after the Lions completed their division championship season in 1991, in remembrance of his father-in-law, who had recently passed away, Charlie decided to have fifty cases bottled and locally distributed. The rest, as they say, is history.
Sanders has now expanded the line from just the original sauce to add a spicy version.
Former Lions head coach Wayne Fontes gives his assessment of Sanders' product willingly: "It (Gridiron) definitely has a different taste, one that leaves a 'bite' in your mouth. It's good . . . it makes you feel good when it hits your taste buds."
Gridiron Barbecue Sauce has become so popular in the Michigan area that many restaurants and hospitals have begun using it on a regular basis. Within the Pontiac-Rochester areas, the players of the Detroit Lions have officially adopted it as their sauce. Players continually place their personal orders while the season is ongoing and on many occasions had Gridiron shipped as far as California during the off season.
You will find it at Ford Field - the home of the Detroit Lions - at Charlie Sanders' Hall of Fame BBQ Concession Stand.
“It (Gridiron) definitely has a different taste, one that leaves a 'bite' in your mouth. It's good . . . it makes you feel good when it hits your taste buds."
-Former Detroit Lions head coach Wayne Fontes