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Local woman takes 'saucy' approach to tough family topics

It's a recipe that started on the shelf of a Hoosier home and is now sitting on grocery store shelves.

Posted: May 21, 2019 8:45 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- The way to many people's hearts is through their stomachs. A West Lafayette woman is using that theory to encourage families to start talking about difficult situations.

Every recipe has its own special blend of ingredients that makes it its own. But the secret ingredient in this local barbecue sauce is completely unique, because no other sauce on the planet has it.

Julie Pope is spicing up a rather lifeless topic.

"My background is actually funeral service," Pope said.

Pope is mixing two things that some may consider strange. Even her partner wasn't on board with the idea at first.

"He said you can't put death and food in the same sentence. And I said well why not?"

Pope had a plan.

"He had developed a sauce that was in our cabinet and it didn't have a label on the bottle and I was picking beans in my garden one day and it just came to me," Pope said. "I was looking for a canvas to put a message to people about their time. Use the barbecue sauce!"

You could say her platform is a bit saucy. Pope created 'Bonz Barb BQ,' a barbecue sauce line that comes with a special bonus.

"Bonz is the only barbecue sauce on the planet that comes with its own self help book."

Pope received some help of her own with the title.

"I was doing a Bonz demo and an elderly gentleman walked past the table and I asked how he was and he said 'I woke up on the green side of sod this morning so I'm happy.' He goes, 'it sure beats the alternative, the dark side of sod.'"

Pope calls her book a survivor guide.

"It's a survivor guide. A conversation ice breaker for families about death and dying."

But right now, Bonz is more alive than ever.

Bonz Bold recipe took first overall in a blind tasting at the 32nd Annual Kansas City Barbecue Sauce World Series, winning '2019 Best Sauce on the Planet.' It's the largest barbecue sauce contest in the world.

"I got a phone call from American Royal. They say your sauces both took first place in their respected categories out of 400 sauces, and that represents 38 states and 8 countries. Your Bold Bonz took "Best Sauce on the Planet.""

The sauce that's 'to die for' is Hoosier until the day it dies. The recipe was developed in West Lafayette, labeled in Frankfort, and packaged in Evansville.

"Indiana showed up in Kansas city."

Bonz is actually headed back to Kansas City! Pope has been invited to attend the 40th American Royal World Series of Barbecue this September. It's the world's largest barbecue.

Bonz Barb BQ Award-Winning Bold and Original flavors can be found in Payless stores and Fresh Thyme Farmer's Market. You can also purchase online.

To purchase Bonz Barb-BQ sauces or 'The Green Side of Sod,' written by Julie Pope, click here.

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