Pomerosa, North Carolina - Not much is known of Jim Williams. Most common accounts describe him as a husky framed man, his round stature typically covered only by a pair of greasy overalls and an old striped cooking apron. His most distinguishing feature being the large salt and peppered beard that hid most of his weathered face and took up real estate underneath the battered brim of his leather hat.

In the ragged backwoods of North Carolina, Jim “Wildman” Williams was known to most as a recluse, not usually seen except for when he travelled to the local town of Pomerosa once every six months to pick up supplies. His smokehouse operation was buried deep in the brush on the edge of the mountainside that overlooked the town. It’s said that the local townsfolk would always know when Wildman was brewing up a new batch of his cook sauce as the sharp billows of steam and smoke would start to pour out from the side of the mountain: The thick scent often coating the North Carolinian foothills while a full smoky taste would hang in the misty morning air.

Once Prohibition was enacted in 1919 and the war against liquor raged up and down America’s eastern seaboard, “Wildman” Williams was easily able to transport his product across state lines. By the late 1920s, North Carolina had become one of the biggest providers of illegal liquor in the United States and the sheer number of moonshine distilleries operating in the rural counties of the state kept local law enforcement stretched thin. Federal Prohibition agents were far more concerned with the exchange of  hooch and the gin mills and speakeasies that were selling it rather than wooden cases of BBQ sauce.

 

It became the perfect cover for Wildman, who would often trade cases of his sauce in exchange for safe passage through bootlegging corridors used by criminal organizations.Many of Chicago’s most dangerous gangsters considered the guarantee of Wildman’s safety a small price to pay to get a sniff of the best BBQ sauce this side of  Mississippi. Legend has it that Ralph “Bottles” Capone even gave a jar of Wildman’s sauce to his notorious brother for Al’s 31st birthday. It certainly didn’t take long for Wildman’s full bushy flavor to travel north and soon Wildman was smuggling sauce shipments through the American Midwest and into the Canadian North.

 

It wasn’t until Prohibition ended in December of 1933 that law officers

refocussed their efforts on hampering local joints with new tax collection

protocols and revenue enforcement.  Convinced that his operation was

bypassing trade tariffs and tax laws, law officers from Pomerosa raided

Wildman’s mountainside cookhouse and Jim Williams was taken into

custody.His smokehouse was burnt to the ground that night as the locals

watched one last pillar of smoke spiral into the southern sky.

 

Little did anyone know, but Jim “Wildman” Williams had shipped one last case of sauce northbound under the cover of night before he was pinched. According to local legend, this last case simply contained eleven jars of his “Blazin’ Bush” sauce while stuffed inside the twelfth jar was his time honored secret recipe. Fortunately for the rest of us, the infamous sauce of Jim Williams has been passed onto a new group of renegade cooks who continue to churn out Wildman’s full bushy flavours and smoky taste for the world to revel in. So, if you’re looking for the Real McCoy, why not treat yourself to a taste of Wildman’s premium craft sauce today. It’s a good ‘ol punch to the kisser.  

The site of
Jim "Wildman" Williams Log Cabin.
 

© 2020 Wildmans BBQ.

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