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Getting Saucy: Local chef wins awards for BBQ Sauce

Tyna Mays-Schey with one of her Saucy Minx sauces.
Tyna Mays-Schey with one of her Saucy Minx sauces.

By Melissa Wagoner

Chef Tyna Mays-Schey’s mother always told her not to play with her food.

“Well, I showed her,” Mays-Schey laughed.

Mays-Schey is the owner of Saucy Minx BBQ Sauces and Rubs, currently based out of her home in Silverton.

“My grandmother Ruth started teaching me to cook when I could reach the knobs on the back of the stove,” Mays-Schey said. “I was about five.”

Mays-Schey’s grandmother sparked a love of cooking that inspired her to attend the Western Culinary Institute in Portland with the hopes of becoming a pastry chef.

“I love to bake cakes,” she said, “but when I got into the kitchen and started setting things on fire, it was so much fun.”

After culinary school, Mays-Schey worked for a short time at a family barbecue restaurant where she fell in love with the art of barbecue and in 2011 she opened an online store featuring a line of handcrafted sauces and rubs that are ideal for smoking and grilling.

“What sets my sauces apart are they are not smooth and they are balanced between sweet, savory and vinegar,” she explained.

Ranging from the Tangy Mustard, which Mays-Schey says goes great with a pretzel to the Honey Habanero, which is her most popular barbecue sauce, the Saucy Minx aims to hit a variety of pallets. Mays-Schey even has two sugar free products, the Smoked Jalapeno Agave sauce and the Cheerin’ Chipotle rub.

Originally branded the Everyday Gourmet, Mays-Schey changed the name to Saucy Minx BBQ after inspiration struck watching one of her favorite movies, Love Actually.

“It means strong, flirtatious woman,” Mays-Schey said.

She chose the logo, an artist’s rendition of a photo she took of her sister-in-law Georgia Mays dressed in 1940s pin-up fashion, because that era is her favorite and lends itself to her fun personality.

“And,” she added, “if you can’t have fun at work, you’re doing it wrong.”

Mays-Schey is currently selling her line of five rubs and eight sauces on her website, at festivals and at several retail locations in the Willamette Valley, but has a dream of opening her own storefront someday.

“It’ll have a little Jamie Oliver in there, to teach the community how to cook,” she said.

In the meantime, Mays-Schey keeps busy building her brand and experimenting with new sauces.

“Flavors just come to mind,” she said. “I try them out on me first and if they pass my standards I try them on my husband.”

She doesn’t stop there, however, and has been known to open up taste testing to Facebook followers and barbecue aficionados including the judges at Gettin’ Sauced, an annual barbecue  contest in Austin, Texas. Mays-Schey entered several of her sauces this year.  Her Marionberry BBQ took first place among the fruit sauces and her Tangy Mustard and Smoked Jalapeno Agave Sauce took first and third place in the miscellaneous category.

Mays-Schey is proud of her recent successes, but even without the awards she knew her sauces were crowd pleasers.

“A whole lot of the people who taste the sauces, they love them,” she said.

Saucy Minx BBQ Furious Cheese Ball
Saucy Minx BBQ rubs and sauces are sold locally at Willamette Valley Pie Company, 2994 82nd Ave. NE, Salem; and EZ Orchards, 5504 Hazelgreen Rd. NE, Salem. Visit its website at www.saucymixbbq.com for more information.
Furious Cheese Ball
A staple for holiday entertaining.
1 8oz Package Cream Cheese
2 T Flamin’ Fury Rub
8oz Habanero Jack Cheese [shredded]
2 T Heavy Cream
Place cream cheese in a mixer and blend until smooth. Slowly add cream and Flamin’ Fury Rub. Add half the cheese. Form into a ball. Roll ball in remaining cheese and refrigerate until firm. Serve with crackers, vegies or bread.
Recipe courtesy of Saucy Minx BBQ.
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