Editor’s Note: This is the complete interview that was excerpted in the Early Winter/Holiday 2014 issue of Edible DC: “Getting Saucy with UncleBrutha and Apinya”, page 32
Like many hot sauce lovers, Brennan Proctor used to have a few go-to products that he used when wanting to add some spice to his food. However, Proctor always felt a sense of dissatisfaction when searching his hometown of D.C. for quality hot wings. “I didn’t like the flavor of most wings,” says Proctor, “they were either just hot for the sake of being hot, or didn’t really have good flavor.” And so he did what any enterprising individual would do, and set out to create his own wing recipe. “I used some of my preferred hot sauce products as the base, along with other ingredients, but was always motivated to create something from scratch rather than off-the-shelf products.”
That motivation started a ten-year process of experimentation, which eventually led to the creation of a hit product. During that time period, Proctor also re-located to Los Angeles, becoming a highly-respected sound producer for hit music videos in the late 1990s and early 2000s. While working in Los Angeles, Brennan began bringing his newly minted wings to industry gigs, functions, and events, to the point where it almost became mandatory. “I began to wonder what was more popular – my sound production expertise, or my hot wings,” says Proctor with a smile. The success and popularity of the wings spread through the grapevine, until one holiday season a colleague suggested bottling the sauce as a Christmas present for clients. Using handwritten labels, Proctor took on the task and began to bring the sauce to jobs. And so, UncleBrutha’s Allsauce was born.
The process of creating UncleBrutha’s Allsauce was expedited by technological changes in the music industry. “By the early 2000s, the digital age of music was on the rise, which led to the cutting of budgets and jobs in the music industry,” says Proctor. He headed back to his native Washington D.C. in 2003, and by 2004 had fully launched UncleBrutha’s as a premier local product, establishing his store as one of the top vendors at D.C.’s Eastern Market. However, when Eastern Market was badly damaged in an infamous 2007 fire, Brennan was forced to close his store and began to conduct business from an online platform, under which it still operates.
In addition to being sold online, UncleBrutha’s is featured in stores such as Whole Foods and Yes! Organic Markets, and receives heavy use at several area restaurants, including Busboys & Poets, Eatonville, and The Argonaut. But Proctor insists that his sauce isn’t like your average off-the-shelf product. “One thing that makes UncleBrutha’s different is that it’s not just for use as a condiment; using even a small amount – such as my mother’s favorite ‘1/8th of a tablespoon’ in recipes, will enhance your favorite dishes without infusing too much heat. Just a few drops will enhance flavors, without overpowering them.”
As the holidays approach, Proctor encourages using a couple of drops in some of your favorite dishes to enrich their flavor and infuse heat, without making them too hot to handle. “One great thing to do with Allsauce is to add a few drops to a broth or stock that you’re using across the winter or holiday season, which gives a unique flavor when cooking things such as collard greens, or making gravy from the stock. But there are many uses for Allsauce in recipes rather than just to top off food. It’s much more than your typical condiment, and that’s why we call it Allsauce.” Based on my experience thus far, Proctor is right – a few drops of his sauce will go a long way.
Learn more about UncleBrutha’s products at www.unclebrutha.com.