I’ll make you a deal, you read this story about how a special friendship involved footwear and food and I’ll share a really good recipe with you at the end. I promise it’s worth the quick read to get to this culinary treat!
One of the many great things of having moved to Bonita Springs, Florida recently is the renewal of an old friendship with the Jensen family. Don Jensen and I got to know one another way back in 1981, my second year on the PGA Tour. Don was Vice President of the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company in Endicott, NY (home of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open on the Champion’s Tour today) and had an idea to create a comfortable, spikeless golf shoe.
When Don started looking for a young PGA Tour player to represent the new line of shoes he was led to me. That started a long and fruitful friendship. Don oversaw the design of the shoe and went to China to set up production. Within three years of our meeting, Don had 77 different Clampett golf shoes in his line and the shoe quickly became the all-time leading seller in the 120-plus year history of the company. So lucrative was the deal that Don convinced my agent, Hughes Norton, to drop the annual retainer and just give me a $.50/shoe royalty. I must admit, just the royalty was a lot more than I ever thought it would be. But Don had a strong hunch that a spikeless golf shoe would be a big hit. He was right and today we are both amused to see just how far his idea has come. Now, even touring pros use them during competition.
But business changes led to new senior leadership in the organization and one of the first decisions the new management made was to change the BC line of golf shoes, re-market it into the “President’s Line” and hire nine more touring pros to represent the shoes. EJ spent much on the remarketing but it failed. Within a year, all the EJ golf shoes were selling at a big discount. It would be the beginning of the end for the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company that never recovered and would eventually close its doors years later.
Today, America’s oldest shoe company still has buildings standing in Endicott that serve only as a dim reminder of the glory days. When I played in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open last year, I drove by the old factory, reminiscing about the glory days. I still have a heavy heart over this.
Don was recruited to become president of Iron Age Safety Shoe Company in Pittsburgh, PA. He accepted, recruited key members of his team to join him, and together they took Iron Age through the roof.
Besides being one of the most gifted and creative minds the shoe industry has ever known, Don was quite the grill chef. It wasn’t long after we signed our first contract, that I was “adopted” as the son Don never had. Whenever the tour came to Endicott for the then BC Open, I was sure to stay with Don and Jean. I would hang out with them on their back porch every evening after the tournament, watching closely as Don revealed his master chef skills on the “Old Weber”. My favorite meal of all was the barbeque ribs, braised in Don’s secret sauce. Don has affectionately referred to the sauce as the “BC 1850” after the first ever spikeless golf shoe that hit record sales. As for the ribs, they were so good that I can still taste them. I recently asked Don for the recipe and fired up my own grill. I feel like I am now a master grill chef myself! Don and I both want to share it with you. I hope you’ll give it a try!
BC-1850 Barbecue Ribs
I’ll base this on cooking 3 ribs as that’s what usually comes in a package. It’s great to have extra as they freeze easily and you can enjoy them at a later date.
About 1/2 of 28 oz. bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Barbecue Sauce
About a 1/4 of a 28 oz. bottle of KC Masterpiece Original Barbecue Sauce
6 or 7 garlic cloves (I press them through a hand garlic press)
1 medium onion chopped finely
One cup of orange juice (a little more won’t hurt, you want it so the sauce spreads easy over the ribs)
I suggest you make the sauce first before grilling the ribs so it flavors up a little.
I get my ribs at Fresh Market where they are nice and meaty. I take them out of the package and let them warm up for about 1/2 an hour. I trim off any excess fat and put some slices on the underside of the rib so the juices get in as there’s a tougher skin on the backside of the rib.
Then I season the ribs as follows: (a big cookie sheet works well for this)
First I rub in Worcestershire Sauce
Then I rub the ribs with olive oil
Next, I season them with Montreal Steak Seasoning, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, coarse black pepper and I use some sea salt.
After seasoning, I let them sit for a least 1/2 hour.
Cooking time is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
I start with the burners on high and brown each side for about 4 to 5 minutes.
Then I lower the burners to medium and turn the meat about every 5 to 7 minutes, but don’t let the meat burn. After about 40 minutes of cooking, I turn the burners down to low and close the lid and let them simmer for 15 minutes. During the cooking process, I pour a little beer on the ribs to keep them moist. Don’t overdo it as one bottle or can does the trick.
After an hour of cooking, it’s time to put on the sauce. Turn the burners to medium heat, brush on the sauce, turn the ribs over and brush the other side. The sugar content in the sauce will burn so you need to watch it and keep turning the ribs. Normally, this is about 3 to 4 minutes between turns. I put sauce on about 3 times as I turn them. This takes about 15 minutes in all.
Let the ribs sit about 10 minutes before you slice them up. Now they’re ready to eat.