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The WhitzMix story...

We are a family-owned and operated business.  The boss is my wife, Kathy, and she's the one who really runs the business.

I just do the cooking and write stuff like this for the web-site.  My name is Whit.

We get help from our kids, too, and for many years our competition barbecue team was made up exclusively of family members (we have a big family).

All of us were born in Texas, but we have lived all over the country and have traveled all over the world. 

My ancestry hails from Louisiana, and you can taste a hint of that heritage in the mix.

We believe WhitzMix is an authentic Texas-style spice blend because Texas is where we learned to cook and where the mix was born.

Everyone knows that Texas is a really big place with lots of different influences, and our spice is no different.  It's a really big flavor which was influenced by our experiences and our passion for cooking really good-tasting barbecue.

The spices we use are as fresh as you can get and they come from all around the world.

The bottom line - we are small and we focus on high flavor and high quality, not high profits.

We plan to keep it that way.

The history of the mix –

I was a military brat, which means our family never had a barbecue pit that wouldn’t fit in the back of the moving van.  Today… well it would have to be a pretty big moving van!  The origin of WhitzMix is really just one part of much longer barbecue journey.  It’s a journey many of you have enjoyed, and a journey that continues for us today.  When Kathy and I got married, one of our wedding presents was a traditional dome-topped Brinkman smoker.  Nothing fancy – a pan for charcoal, another for water, and two little wire racks.  At first glance, that thing looked pretty complicated to me, and I had NO idea how to use it.

Like any young man trying to impress his new bride, I figured I would:  1) read the directions, 2) follow the instructions, and 3) serve a perfectly smoked chicken for dinner.

It worked.

I was hooked!

The next time I smoked a chicken I invited some friends over so I could show off.

It didn’t work.

I was dejected!

That second chicken was the beginning of the quest for consistently excellent barbecue.

I started reading everything I could find and talking to anyone who might have advice.  Then I started to volunteer to help cook at charity events.  I became a regular cook at the Giddings Knights of Columbus chicken barbecues where we routinely cooked over 400 chickens on a Sunday.  I cooked as much as I could and I learned as much as I could.

Along the way, I tried different styles of pits, meats, seasonings, woods, and variations on the cooking process itself.  I’ve had competition BBQ teams in Texas and Missouri and have catered for events ranging from 15 to over 350 guests.  At one point I had fourteen BBQ pits and once used nine of them at the same time to cook for orchestra musicians from around the world at the Festival Institute in Round Top, Texas.  There was no opportunity to Q that I would pass up, and I continued to absorb whatever the experiences could teach me.

Those of you that have been on that journey know a couple of things… that there’s no “one right way” to barbecue, and that the journey never ends.  I’ve also learned that the Q-ing journey is more about “discovery” than invention.

I’ve discovered a lot of do’s and don’ts about many aspects of Q-ing, but my passion has always been that search for just the right seasoning – something that enhances the flavors of the meat and smoke without overpowering or masking it.  There’s nothing like that first bite of brisket when you taste the spice and meat and smoke all at perfectly blended together. My second chicken taught me a valuable lesson because I knew how good it could have been.  The search for the perfect BBQ seasoning was much the same.  Once I tasted a hint of a flavor I liked, everything else had to live up to that standard.  Of course every time you exceed your “perfect” flavor, you set a new standard and from then on, nothing else will do.

You might say that we didn’t actually create WhitzMix, we just discovered that combination of spices and herbs and sea salt that we think tastes the best and ends up making the best tasting barbecue.  It took years to get it right, but what started out as a mix for our family turned in to something our friends became accustomed to, and once people tasted how good it could be… well they started asking for more.

We started mixing the original blend by hand in a standard mixing bowl, but before long we were mixing it in bus tubs.  We were happy to share a bottle here and there with our friends, and in 1997 we started giving out bottles of the mix to friends and family and co-workers at Christmas time.  Eventually, the phone calls started, Hey, Whit, I’m out of the mix.  Do I have to wait for next Christmas to get another bottle?” Then it just spread like wild fire as people started asking for bottles for their families and friends and neighbors, and just about anyone who had tasted it.  What started in Texas had spread to Louisiana and New Mexico, then to Arizona, Oregon, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois.  We even know that it spread by word-of-mouth to Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore and The Philippines!

The mix didn’t even have a name back then, but when we gave it away, we usually called it Whit’s Christmas Blend.  Of course, that name didn’t work very well the rest of the year, so we knew we needed to come up with something less seasonal.  A small group of our friends started referring to the spice mix as “mélange,” the addictive spice in Frank Herbert’s Dune novels.  Others dubbed it “The Rub” or “Most Wanted” but most folks just called it Whit’s mix, and in the end that’s the name that stuck.

The increased demand for WhitzMix also increased the frequency of our batches, so we started shopping for more reliable and consistent sources of fresh spices.  The trick, we learned, was to mix more small batches rather than fewer very large batches.  You see, spices get stale, and some of the spices in our blend can lose their potency or sharpness over time.  We will never mix large batches just to let it sit in a warehouse.  Bigger batches might save us money in the short run, but in the end we believe it could compromise the quality of the WhitzMix.  Our philosophy is simple – when we need a lot, we mix a lot.  When we need a little, we mix a little.

Over time, the demand for WhitzMix continued to grow.  At one point, we were mixing enough to season 72 full slabs of pork ribs and 500 pounds of pork for a fund raiser at the beautiful St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis.  That’s when we finally decided it was time for some help with the mixing, bottling and labeling.  With the help of some very good friends, we found an excellent co-packer and label maker and officially launched the distribution of WhitzMix.

Today, WhitzMix is blended just fifty pounds at a time in ultra-clean stainless steel mixers by the professionals at McCarthy Spices in the heart of America.  We are connected to an outstanding provider of fresh spices and we work with them to ensure that we aren’t over-buying bulk ingredients that could get stale.  We recommend that our family, friends and customers do the same thing we do… if you need a lot, buy a lot, but if you need a little, buy a little.  There will always be another fresh batch available when you are ready to order.

So if you’re ready to order, we’re ready to serve you.  There are currently only three ways we know of to get your WhitzMix.  You can talk directly to me or a family member, “borrow” some from your friends, or click on this website to place an order.  Once you taste how good your BBQ could be, we think you’ll get addicted.

Whit Madere

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