A few months ago I was at Uncle Lou's Southern Kitchen ordering a hamburger. While I was waiting, Robert Butler, who works there, let me try one of their hot wings coated with their special "Sweet Spicy Love" sauce. It tasted incredible.
I like sweet and savory food. Growing up, I ate my dessert with my dinner when I could get away with it.
Louis H. Martin III, who owns the business, came up with the sauce recipe. He told me on my recent visit to the restaurant that he added his take to seasoning used by his great-grandmother, Rosie Glaspie. "See that picture of that lovely lady on the wall?" he said.
Martin originally used the term "Honey Dipped" when referring to the sauce. Food Network chef Guy Fieri didn't like that name. Fieri, who was in Memphis visiting restaurants a couple of years ago, told Martin, "No, brother, 'Sweet Spicy Love.' " The name stuck as tight as the sauce sticks to the wings. Fieri included Uncle Lou's in his book, "More Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."
The sauce is a cross between barbecue sauce and buffalo wing sauce, Martin said. The vinegar in the sauce gives it a little kick, and honey adds the sweetness, he said. "You have to put a muzzle on to keep your tongue from slapping your brains out," he said.
The main ingredient is his spice mixture, which he calls Corruption. The ingredients on the bottle (you can buy Corruption and the bottled sauce -- mild or hot -- at Uncle Lou's) are salt, onion and garlic powder, celery salt, lemon pepper and "other spices."
Martin uses the sauce on other meat, including his fried chicken, his biggest seller. "To get a better piece of chicken, you gotta be a rooster," he said.
Uncle Lou's Southern Kitchen is at 3633 Millbranch; 332-2367.
-- Michael Donahue: 529-2797