By Léo Azambuja

Dustin Stonner

Dustin Stonner

Dustin Stonner grew up in Kansas City, Mo., home of the American Royal World Series of Barbeque, one of the country’s biggest barbeque celebrations and arguably the largest barbeque competition in the world.

“Barbeque is very much culture where I grew up,” said Dustin, who also worked alongside internationally trained chefs.

This lucky combination resulted in Uncle D’s BBQ, a line of tasty barbeque sauces that Dustin started a year-and-a-half ago, and has since grown exponentially.

In a commercial kitchen in Wailua, Dustin makes his magical recipes that produce two barbeque sauces — the Original and the Hot & Spicy — that he sells in 15 stores islandwide. He also makes three seasonal sauces that can only be purchased online or at the Kukui‘ula Farmers Market in Po‘ipu on Wednesday. Starting this month, he’ll also sell his sauces at Kaua‘i Community College Farmers Market on Saturday.

“I’m really stoked about KCC market, ‘cause I’ll be able to prepare food there,” he said.

In the KCC market, besides the barbeque sauces, Dustin will sell his Uncle D’s vegan wraps and hummus that are already a big hit at Hoku Foods Natural Market in Kapa‘a. He may also sell sliders and rice bowls at the market.

Most of his ingredients are organic and, whenever possible, locally grown. Dustin likes to visit farms he deals with, to check out how they grow their produce. He likes to make sure he’s getting food produced sustainably, with fair trade, organically or with best practices. Basically, he wants to deal with farmers who are not abusing workers and harming the Earth.

The catalyst for Uncle D’s BBQ was Dustin’s circle of friends. Once they found out about Dustin’s talents, usually over a barbeque, they would ask him for a bottle of his magical concoction.

Uncle D's BBQ sauces

Uncle D’s BBQ sauces

From a couple friends, the demand grew to 10. Then 20. Soon, Dustin was spending some $400 a month just to keep his friends’ taste buds happy. So he told his friends he had to charge for his sauces. To Dustin’s surprise, his friends had no objection.

Seeing the business potential, Dustin approached the owners of Hoku Foods, who told him they would be willing to try it out, as long as he produced his sauce in a commercial kitchen and got proper permits from the State Department of Health.

From then on, the business just kept increasing. Two months after opening, Uncle D’s BBQ got certified by the Kaua‘i Made program.

Initially producing just the Original sauce, Dustin added a spicier version due to popular demand.

“The Hot & Spicy has more kick, I actually put ghost peppers in it,” said Dustin, only to reveal, with a mischievous smile, that he has another hot sauce that he sells only at the farmers markets, and is appropriately named Pele’s Revenge.

“I use six different types of pepper there, it definitely has a way better kick,” he said of the Pele’s Revenge.