Most students want to avoid getting barbecue sauce — or any other condiment — on their school papers.
For Union College senior Jason Bye, barbecue sauce was his assignment. Instead of doing a traditional project for his senior thesis, Bye decided to market his family’s homemade barbecue sauce.
“We’ve been making it for about 25 years. My father started it for his poker games,” said Bye, a managerial economics major from Voorheesville.
“I wanted to do something that was unconventional and meaningful to me instead of doing a standard research paper. That wasn’t interesting.”
Bye cooked up some sauce along with a couple of pounds of skinless chicken wings for students in the upper class dining hall during the noon lunch rush. He was also going to cook about 40 pounds for the dinner crowd and distribute surveys to get some initial comment.
“I’m still tweaking the recipe almost on a weekly basis, trying to simplify it,” he said.
The main ingredients are tomato puree, lemon juice and a mixture of fresh garlic, red peppers and other spices. He said he tries to use as many natural or organic ingredients as possible to capture a unique flavor.
“It starts out sweet. It then is a little bit sour. It follows with a nice burn,” he said.
He said he hopes to have his as-of-yet unnamed sauce approved by the FDA next month so he can start marketing it to restaurants. Bye said his professor encouraged him to undertake this venture, which is named Harmony Sauces LLC.
He has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Bye started his own landscaping business in high school and worked on some start-up companies. “There’s just something about trying to start something from the ground up. If I’m going to put the time in, I’d rather it be doing something I love,” he said.
He added that he is not sure what he would like to do after college.
The recipe seemed to be a hit with students.
“I thought they were very good — kind of a sweet taste to start off. After a couple of seconds, it gets progressively warmer and starts to hit you,” said Josh DeBartolo, a 22-year-old senior from Middleburgh.
Carol O’Hea, a 21-year-old senior from Long Island, also said she enjoyed the different flavor.
“It’s not like normal barbecue sauce — kind of sweet and soury,” she said.
Senior Meaghan Horton, a 21-year-old from Poughkeepsie, said Bye’s assignment beats her paper.
“This seems a lot more interesting and fun and practical,” she said.
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