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Rick Hodge’s Kickin’ Cowboy Sauce spicing up July 4th cookouts

Kickin’ Cowboy BBQ Sauce will spice up the 4th of July at family cookouts all over the Tri-County area this year. Rick Hodge of Bell is known by friends and family for his cooking skills. Through the years Rick perfected his signature barbecue sauce which everyone seemed to love. His recipe was not developed overnight, it took years and a lot of knowledge to make Kickin’ Cowboy BBQ Sauce.
Rick really enjoys cooking for a large crowd whether its frying up 64 hot wings at a time or grilling slabs of ribs on a Sunday afternoon.
Rick grew up in Bell, graduating from Bell High in 1981. After high school he attended Lake City Community College and then joined the Air Force. He served in the United States Air Force until 1995. After his time in the service he moved to Keller, Texas where he worked on a deer hunting ranch until 2000. During his years on the ranch he used his cooking skills to feed hungry hunters.
When he first came home to Bell from Texas he worked for a while with his father, Jimmy Hodge. Now he works at Greco Castro Plantation in Northern Gilchrist County.
Through the years, Rick said his interest in cooking grew as he watched his Uncle Ray Hodge cook. He said even as a young boy he enjoyed hanging around his Uncle Ray while he cooked at large family gatherings.
It took Rick about four years of testing and tweaking his recipe until he felt it was just right. With some help from friends and a great deal of encouragement from his girlfriend Krista, he was finally ready for his sauce to go into production. Then it was time to come up with a catchy name. After weeks of trying to come up with a good name his daughter and son-in-law, Deanna and Hunter Wise, called one evening and suggested “Kickin Cowboy.” The first bottles hit the shelves on July 28, 2017. Rick introduced three sauces at once, hot original, sweet, and mild.
Then he and Krista went to work locating stores that would stock his sauce. In almost a year they now have Kickin’ Cowboy BBQ Sauces in just over 40 stores.
Bell IGA, or as it is called locally, Scaff’s in Bell was one of the first stores to stock the sauce. Now the sauce can be found at the SunStop Market and Green’s Outdoors and More in Trenton, at all the Hudson Food Stores, including the one at SR47 and CR340, and the Marathon Station in Trenton. Mary’s Produce in North Bell also sells the spicy sauce along with a variety of fresh vegetables.
Rick said, “The original sauce has a kick that compliments your food’s flavor rather than overpowering it.” After the original sauce recipe was developed, he then came up with Sweet and Mild Sauces to accommodate the more delicate palates.
Rick spends most weekends promoting his sauce at different stores and events throughout north Florida. He also enjoys giving back to the community in the form of helping with fundraisers for worthy causes. On Friday, July 6, he will be helping out with the BBQ Benefit for the Fallen Deputies’s families in Trenton at the Community Center.
So pick up a bottle of Kickin’ Cowboy BBQ Sauce for the 4th and remember the recipe was developed right here in Gilchrist County by a native.

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