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Cooking in the fast lane

By Staff | Apr 13, 2012

Speed Herrig said his love of cooking has allowed him not only to grow a business, but meet many great people and even prepare a meal for a U.S. president.



Farm News staff writer

WALL LAKE – While Speed “The Sauceman” Herrig started his career as an auto repair mechanic and Ford-Mercury dealer, it didn’t take him long to find his niche in the food business.

“We really get into the sauce around here,” joked Herrig, 74, Iowa’s beloved barbecue promoter who invested in Cookies BBQ Sauce in 1976 and purchased the company in the early 1980s.

Crepes have long been a simple, yet satisfying, meal for the Herrig family, says Speed, who sometimes refers to them as “floppy pancakes.”

Great food and plenty of fun have long been a recipe for success for Herrig, a father of three and grandfather of 14, who lives on the same Wall Lake farm where he was reared.

“I’ve always liked to mess around in the kitchen,” said Herrig, who learned a lot about cooking from his mother, Alma. “Because of food, I’ve met lots of great people and even got to cook for President George H.W. Bush during the World Pork Expo a few years ago.”

Speed and his wife, Judy, who is also an excellent cook, enjoy preparing food from casual barbecues to holiday feasts with all the trimmings.

“Nearly all of the ingredients in my recipes can be found in any small-town grocery store,” Herrig said, who collected more than 350 of his favorite recipes for his 2005 cookbook, “Cookies Best BBQ Recipes,” which has sold more than 30,000 copies.

As a founding member of the Iowa Barbecue Society, Herrig also shares his cooking expertise through R.I.B.S. (Refining Individual Barbecue Skills) for Kids. He and his fellow IBS members team up with the Iowa State University Meat Lab and the Des Moines Public School District to provide a day of cooking classes at Cookies Food Products in Wall Lake for underprivileged youths living in the heart of Des Moines.

These German-Style pork chops with sauerkraut were a family favorite when Speed was growing up on the family farm near Wall Lake.

Herrig’s best cooking tips?

Don’t overcook pork (which can be safely cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees), and don’t over-season or over-sauce the food. “It’s easier to put on a little more than add too much and try to tone it down.”

Don’t expect Herrig to tone down his busy schedule anytime soon, however.

“I’m having so much fun doing this that I’m going to keep on going,” he said.

Cookies zesty chili

2 pounds ground beef or pork

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 tablespoon Cookies Flavor Enhancer/all purpose seasoning

2 large cans of whole tomatoes (cut up)

2 cans kidney beans

1 16-ounce jar Cookies Premium Salsa (mild or medium)

Brown hamburger and onions seasoned with flavor enhancer. Drain excess liquid. Add tomatoes, kidney beans and salsa. Simmer.

Serves 6 to 8 people.

Wings-n-things dip

This dip is a snap to make and offers plenty of bold flavors,

Herrig said.

1 16-ounce carton sour cream

1 jar Cookies Premium Salsa

1 package Knorr Vegetable Soup Mix

1 tablespoons Cookies Wings-N-Things Hot Sauce

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate overnight, if possible. If one is short on time, mix the soup with 1/8 cup of hot water and let mixture sit for 15 minutes before combining with the rest of the ingredients. Serve dip with chips or vegetables.

German-style pork chops

Herrig said these pork chops with sauerkraut were a family favorite when he was growing up on the family farm near Wall Lake.

6- to 8-ounce pork chops

Cookies Flavor Enhancer, to taste

1 32-ounce jar sauerkraut

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds, optional

Lightly coat skillet with vegetable oil and brown pork chops. Season with Flavor Enhancer, to taste. After meat has browned, cover with sauerkraut, brown sugar and caraway seeds. Cover skillet with lid, and let pork chops simmer for 30 minutes.

Grandma Alma’s broiler


Speed’s mother, Alma, created the recipe after he developed his own brand of taco sauce.

1 8-ounce can luncheon meat (Spam works well)

4 slices American cheese

3 tablespoons ketchup

3 tablespoons Cookies Taco Sauce and Dip (hot or mild)

Grind and mix together meat and cheese. Add ketchup and taco sauce. Stir together.

Spread mixture on hamburger bun halves. Broil in oven until cheese melts. Watch sandwiches very closely while broiling so they don’t overcook.

Makes 4 to 6 sandwiches.

Judy’s cole slaw

This cole slaw from Judy Herrig is the perfect side dish for barbecued meat and pulled pork


1 head cabbage, chopped

3 carrots, shredded

1 cup Spin Blend

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon celery seed

Salt and pepper

Mix Spin Blend, cider vinegar, sugar and celery seed together. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Pour mixture over cabbage and carrots.

Stir and enjoy.

Speed’s crepes

These crepes are a Herrig family favorite. Speed Herrig said his grandchildren learn at an early age how to make these delicious “floppy pancakes.”

2 to 3 eggs

1 cup flour

1 to 1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon sugar

Whisk all ingredients together. Brush a skillet with melted butter. Ladle batter into pan and cook crepe until one side is done. Then flip and cook until other side is done. Recipe will make about 8 crepes.

Crepes can be served with a fried apple stuffing, Herrig said, who peels, cores and chops up three to four apples and fries the apples with butter and a little brown sugar. Put apple filling in the center of each crepe and roll the crepe up. Drizzle crepe with caramel sauce, sprinkle with chopped pecans and top with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Basic sweet yeast dough

This recipe provides a versatile dough for buns, cinnamon rolls and more.

2 packages dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 cup milk (scalded)

1/4 cup shortening

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs

5 cups flour (4 ounces net weight equals 1 cup-very important to weigh)

Put yeast in warm water to dissolve. Heat milk and shortening together. Put sugar, salt and 2 cups of flour in large bowl. Mix dry ingredients together. Add milk and shortening.

Stir well, then add the yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly.

Add 2 eggs. Beat well, then add rest of flour. Turn dough out on lightly floured board. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Knead dough thoroughly. Put in oiled bowl and cover with damp cloth. Place in a warm place free of drafts (an 80 to 90 degree oven works great).

Let dough rise until double in size, about 1.5 hours. Punch down dough and form into rolls.

Let rise again. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with butter, if desired.

You can contact Darcy Dougherty Maulsby by e-mail at yettergirl@yahoo.com.

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