Jacksonville Restaurateur Jerome Brown Makes a Sizzle with His Barbecue Sauce

With two successful barbecue joints, which includes this one on Main Street, Jerome Brown now is selling his Original Bar-B-Q Sauce at Sam

When Jerome Brown was a teenager, he never thought he would end up making a living by mixing flavors instead of music. In the 1970s and ’80s, Jerome, also known as Jerome “Get Down” Brown, was spinning records at popular venues like Skate City and Big Art’s Little Place. But today, the world knows him for his delectable barbecue.

Discovering the Barbecue Passion

Brown’s culinary journey began in 1985 when he decided to embrace his lifelong passion for cooking. After honing his skills at the Meals on Wheels program and running the kitchen at Maxwell House, he took a leap of faith and opened two successful barbecue joints in Jacksonville. One is located on Edgewood Avenue, and the other on Main Street in Springfield.

A Daughter’s Inspiration

While Brown’s eateries were thriving, it was his daughter, Katrina, armed with a degree in business and finance, who inspired him to capitalize on his delicious barbecue sauce. With unwavering support and a lot of determination, she convinced her father to patent and market his signature creation.

“I’ve always wanted to be just like him,” Katrina said. “So I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool, Dad, to walk into the store and see your face on the bottle?'”

To which Brown replied, with a laugh and a shrug, “Whatever.”

From Flip Retort to Firm Reality

That lighthearted response has now blossomed into a tangible reality. Brown’s face graces the bottle of his Jerome Brown Original Bar-B-Q Sauce, which was recently unveiled at Sam’s Wholesale Club on the Northside. The response has been overwhelming, with more than 1,000 two-quart bottles of the sweet, mustard-based sauce sold in a single day. It seems like the sauce is set to become a staple on everyone’s table.

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The Secret Ingredients: Family and Passion

Behind Brown’s success lies the unwavering support of his daughter and his wife, JoAnn, whom he credits for keeping his culinary dreams alive. From using his family as taste testers to experimenting with flavors, JoAnn has been an integral part of Brown’s culinary journey.

But where did Brown’s passion for food originate? According to him, it began at a young age. At just 11 years old, he made himself useful at a fish market in his Magnolia Gardens neighborhood, opening car doors for customers and eventually diving into the world of cooking.

As he grew older, Brown pursued his dream of becoming a famous disc jockey while working various jobs related to food service. Eventually, his desire to cook and pursue his love for food won him over. He decided to focus solely on his culinary career and never looked back.

From Setbacks to Success

Brown’s journey hasn’t been without its challenges. He faced setbacks, with a couple of his restaurants closing down. Yet, he and his wife persevered, operating mobile food units and providing food services for Maxwell House. In 1997, he opened Jerome Brown’s Barbecue on Edgewood Avenue, followed by another restaurant on Main Street, both of which have been thriving.

A Dream Finally Realized

All the while, Katrina never let go of her dreams of working with her father. Her admiration for his cooking and relentless determination led her to seek out manufacturers to help bottle and market his acclaimed sauce. Their big break came at a local trade show, where buyers were instantly captivated by the sauce’s flavor.

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With the labeling, barcodes, and trademark already in place, it was only a matter of time before Jerome Brown’s Bar-B-Q Sauce made its way onto store shelves. Orders started pouring in, with everyone eagerly anticipating the chance to have a taste of Brown’s delicious creation.

The Future of Brown’s Barbecue Empire

Katrina’s ambitions for her father’s barbecue sauce don’t stop there. With a vision to expand their product line, she hopes to have Brown’s name on a variety of different sauces and seasonings. The goal is to secure placements in all 400 retail stores, spreading the joy of Brown’s culinary expertise far and wide.

As Brown reflects on his journey, he acknowledges that everything is ultimately in God’s hands. He feels truly blessed and satisfied with the support and success he has achieved so far.

For more information, visit the official website of Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.

Barbecue plates at Jerome Brown's restaurant