Here’s an article written by my friend, David Martin about JB, the Polish sausage maker.
ATHENS, Ga. – The Georgia Theatre, Heery’s and the Globe are some of Athens’ most renowned venues, but for many college students a trip to Athens is not complete without a visit to JB’s, the Polish Sausage Man.
“JB’s is more than a late night snack,” said Tyler Anderson, a 21-year-old senior from Pelham, Ga., “when you visit JB’s you get an amazing sausage dog as well as a great taste of southern hospitality.”
James C. Brown (JB), a 57-year-old Athens native, explored many career options before finding himself as one of Athens’ finest street side chefs.
“I am what you call a homegrown certified chef,” says Brown who has been cooking for over 40 years. “My parents ran a Backyard Bar-B-Q parlor so I was naturally good at using a grill.”
Brown’s culinary days first started with cooking whole hogs, Bar-B-Q chicken and ribs out of his home. The popularity of his food increased, so he started delivering plates around town and cooking for private parties, such as family reunions and wedding receptions.
One day Brown tried grilling polish sausage for his friends and family, but surprisingly they were not good.
“Mustard and ketchup didn’t taste good on them,” said Brown, “So I needed to go in the kitchen and work up a good sauce to go with my polish sausage.”
Even though his family and friends backed his creation of another type of sauce, research performed by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council disagrees.
“Council research shows that for adults, mustard is the condiment of choice, while children prefer ketchup,” said Janet Riley, president of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
Brown spent many hours working hard in the kitchen trying to develop a sauce for his new menu item. After many tries, Brown presented a polish sausage dog covered with sauce to his daughter, Tiffany.
She loved the sauce so much that she ate three sausages in a row.
But as luck would have it, Brown forgot exactly how he made his sauce the first time. So his daughter would become his official taste-tester until he perfected his sauce.
“Once I got my sauce perfected,” said Brown, “it was time to take it the street.”
Brown’s sauce proved to be a success right from the start.
“The first weekend I sold out of 25 gallons and then the next week I doubled the recipe and sold out as well,” said Brown.
Brown soon became partnered with the 40 Watt Club, and it was there where he served as the security for the parking lot, which allowed him to prepare his sausage for downtown guests. 40 Watt Club provided Brown with a perfect location for his business.
“I’m forever gonna keep my corner,” says Brown.
After popularity of the sauce increased Brown was advised that he should name his sauce. “Mystery Sauce” was the first suggestion, but it didn’t take long for the sauce to be coined as “Comeback Sauce.”
“The way I describe my sauce is that it has a tingle sweet taste,” says Brown.
“Comeback Sauce” takes about four hours to prepare and is made in my special place. The sauce comes in four varieties; thin, thick, medium and hot.
The most popular way to order JB’s Polish Sausage is all the way, which consists of “Comeback Sauce,” onions and peppers.
“I love ordering my sausage all the way,” said Anderson, “because it is almost like if you don’t do it right then don’t order it at all.”
But not everyone is eager to try the “Comeback Sauce”, so Brown offers a money back guarantee.
John Butts, a 19-year-old sophomore from Randallstown, Md., was hesitant at first to taste the sauce but now he goes out of his way when he is downtown to get a polish sausage.
“I’m not sure what is in that sauce,” said Butts, “but it sure is amazing and it truly keeps me coming back.”
The “Comeback Sauce” lives up to its name because Brown claims that it has UGA alumni stopping by to buy a sausage dog during football game weekends.
For die-hard “Comeback Sauce” connoisseurs, Brown has his daughter working on the development of a Web Site to sell his sauce. This is still in the early stages because Brown has to purchase a kitchen so that he can produce his sauce on a larger scale.
Butts, who also loves to grill, says that “Comeback Sauce” would be a great addition to his kitchen.
“That sauce is so good,” said Butts, “I think that I would put it on everything I grill.”
Although Brown may start to market his sauce on a larger sale, the future of the “Comeback Sauce” truly lies in the hands of the Brown Family.
“I want to pass the sauce down to my grandchildren,” says Brown.
Butts declares that JB’s unique sausage dog should be the official dog of Athens.
“In New York you have the New Yorker, in Chicago you have the Chicago, and in Athens you have JB’s Polish Sausage,” said Butts.
Hearing customer comments such as these and being able to build relationships with his clientele makes Brown enjoy his work more and more everyday.
“I love what I do, I take pride in what I do,” said Brown, “I feel like I’m the king.”