MaineBiz Sticky Business Profile

Sticky business | BBQ king DennyMike’s grabs kudos for sauces and rubs

DennyMike’s was recently featured in MaineBiz’s Sticky Business Section. Check out a snippet of the article below or click on the headline above to read the full article.


By ANNA FIORENTINO: Mainebiz contributing writer

When people in the Northeast talk about barbecue, they think of putting a burger on a gas grill long enough for it to look like a hockey puck. And while Yankee pot roast may be a few dashes of cayenne pepper away from traditional smoked barbecue brisket, Mainers aren’t about to spend 15 hours in front of a barbecue smoker.

“New Englanders are in a hurry and that’s why barbecue — I mean real barbecue cooking — never caught on,” says Dennis Michael Sherman, owner of DennyMike’s, a specialty producer of sauces and rubs in York garnering kudos from gourmet magazines and national barbecue competitions alike.

But little by little, that barbecue hesitation is beginning to lessen. As new sauces, styles and flavors pop up across the country, backyard enthusiasts are turning into pit masters ready to compete in world-class barbecue competitions.

“Barbecue is slowly starting to evolve here in Maine,” says Sherman. “DennyMike’s success was all about the timing.”

In 2006, DennyMike’s sauces, and later its rubs, hit the shelves of Portland’s Whole Foods. Conveniently, it was at a time when New Englanders were also beginning to introduce varied flavors of traditional barbecue to their palates, says Sherman.

Today, DennyMike’s four award-winning, gluten-free, all-natural Kosher sauces, and five rubs are sold in nearly a thousand national retailers, in hundreds of Whole Foods and Hannaford supermarkets alone. In six years, Sherman’s sales have catapulted to nearly $1 million, growing 50% over the last three years alone, a trend he expects to continue.

Sherman has erased his $150,000 startup debt with the exception of an equity line on his York home, where he headquarters his business, employing six, including his wife, Patty, who keeps the books. He expects to double his work force within the next six to 12 months. Internet sales at increase each week, now averaging 30 to 40 transactions of about $50 each, with an occasional spike such as the one that followed his appearance on NBC’s “TODAY” show over Christmas of 2009 that brought in 600 orders…. READ FULL ARTICLE ONLINE HERE!