Images by Anna Williams.
Since last week’s official start of football season also means a surge in tailgating and barbecuing, we turned to one of the best places to get barbecue in Wisconsin – Bob’s Bitchin’ BBQ. We spoke with owner Bob Page about how he got his start and what makes his barbecue so special…
Bob began his quest for the perfect sauce back when he was new to the restaurant industry, after he received his culinary degree. In fact his famous Original recipe is about 30 years old. “I continued tweaking until about 10 years ago,” he says.
At about the same time a decade back, he’d been developing other sauces until he had four additional unique flavors – Razzberry, BrewBQ, Carolina and Habanero.
“About 8 or 9 years ago, I’d give my employees a homemade food gift,” he says, “which usually ended up being one of these five homemade barbecue sauces. It got to be incredibly popular.” Word spread and people who weren’t his employees were asking for his sauces, so he started doing the farmer’s markets, which turned into an online store, and soon enough he decided to leave his full-time job to start his own restaurant.
It was hard leaving the comforts of job security to open and maintain his own business. He admits he takes fewer vacations now, and it’s something he misses, but he’s so busy with the restaurant he almost doesn’t have time think about it.
It also takes a toll on his tailgating. He doesn’t get to do it as often as he’d like, but when he does he takes his favorite sauce – the Habanero. “I’m going to put it on anything whether it’s a brat, pulled pork, you name it. It has a little spice, it’s a little sweet.”
His favorite team? “It’s Wisconsin. Packers and Badgers.”
He shared one of his favorite recipes with us – his jerk chicken. “Every winter my wife and I take a vacation someplace warm. And I guess Jamaica’s best known for jerk-style cooking. I just love the heat, the citrus – the spice and flavors of the islands.” But this particular recipe doesn’t come in a bottle. In fact there are only two places in the world to get Bob’s jerk chicken – his restaurant in Dodgeville and right here.
Jerk Chicken Wings
3 pounds of chicken wings
2 tablespoons Allspice
2 tablespoons Nutmeg
2 tablespoons Thyme
2 tablespoons Cinnamon
1 tablespoon Black Pepper
3 tablespoons Crushed Red Pepper
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Fresh Garlic
1 cup Diced Green Onions
1 cup Olive Oil
3 1/2 Cups White Vinegar
8 Ounces Orange Juice
1 Cup Fresh Lime Juice
1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl or Ziploc bag.
2. Marinate chicken for at least 6 hours, though overnight provides the best results.
3. Preheat your grill at medium heat or to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Place wings in a single layer on grill. Close lid. Flip after about 8 minutes. Cook for another 7-8 minutes. Check with a meat thermometer that they’ve reached 165 internal temperature. Some may require more time.
5. Remove from grill and enjoy with a cold glass of iced tea or your favorite beer.