Claude's Sauces, our famous BBQ Brisket Marinade and the flavors of the Southwest are indelibly marked into the very culture of both the Southwest region and the United States. The imagery of the cattle train, the lone cowboy or even John Wayne as icons of the American Southwest are as much part of our background as our ‘tastes’ are.
We’re a long way from the days of the cattle train cook. The character is familiar to most of us, a withered old man, fewer teeth left than years ahead of him. The big black pot over a fire. For some reason just, the image of that pot and the outdoor campfire made you believe whatever was inside must have been the best tasting concoction ever dreamed, until a disgruntled cowboy stepped into frame claiming falling on a cactus a more pleasurable event than eating what ‘Cookie’ had made.
Well there’s real history/culture and there’s Hollywood and the old films we’d watch growing up. Reality is that the flavor of the Southwest could hardly be compared in such a one-dimensional fashion as portrayed by characters on TV.
In fact, the flavors of the Southwest are made of many cultures and many recipes that it would be a crime against history if those old cowboy portrayals of Southwest region fare weren’t left relegated to the annuals of early film entertainment.
Beginning many thousands of years ago, ancient people trekked through this area on route to more southern climes. These ancient people known as Clovis, named for the area in New Mexico where their existence was first discovered, mark how far back family and society formed in the region. By best up to date estimates, we’re speaking roughly around 13,500 years ago.
Over time the next great civilizations sprang up in Mexico and South America. In Mexico there were five major societies: Olmec, Maya, Teotihuacan, Toltec, and Aztec.
This did not include indigenous native tribes aside from these distinct cultures. And don’t let how far back in history make you believe in any way that the very food and flavors you enjoy today was not influenced by them, in some cases the very same meals are prepared as they were then.
The establishing of the great Navajo and Hopi cultures, the Spanish arriving on the western continent.
The rise of the Mexican culture, colonization of America by the French and English, the influence of the Mexican culture into the Southwest. The Spanish Catholic Missions trails and so many more timelines all twisting into what is the myriad of southwest culture, with many ancient flavors that were adopted and made part of the identity that is the American culture today.
We embrace the flavors of the Southwest here at Claude’s Sauces, where in 1978 Joe Castaneda and his wife Glenda, after meeting, “Old Man”, Claude Struve who had a very old recipe to marinate tough meat, decided to strike a partnership.
The Castaneda’s knew Old Claude would prepare brisket for people using his family secret recipe and had been very successful doing so. They struck a deal that would see them all sharing success of the old family Struve.
Claude's BBQ Brisket Marinade, a recipe used in the region for so long one could assume old Cookie might have used the very same ingredients during days of the cattle trains from years gone by, was finally in a bottle.
From there, Claude’s Sauces famous BBQ Brisket Marinade was born. And to say we nailed it would have been an understatement.
From that point, the young Castaneda couple rented a small warehouse and produced 30 cases of Claude’s BBQ Brisket Marinade a week by hand. Later Joe would make a filler machine to help bottle more as demand for the authentic southwest flavor only increased.
With hard work, determination, a drive to succeed and a clear plan there is most often success. Five years later, Joe and Glenda Castaneda moved into a 3500-sq. ft. warehouse and even automated some of the work they had done by hand for those first years.
During this time the kids came along and the Castaneda’s were a happy family run business that the powers above seemed to smile down on.
The Partridge Family of Marinades and Sauces, if you would excuse the comparison.
The business grew throughout the 80’s with the family moving into 40,000 sq. ft. warehouse where Claude’s Sauces presently calls home. They also became fully automated, producing 20,000 cases of BBQ Brisket Marinade a day.
They also followed up on their BBQ Brisket Marinade success by creating and bottling new Texas flavors that favored the southwest palate and menu.
Fajitas are a favorite the world over but in the southwest a fajita takes on a whole new meaning. Our Claude’s Sauces Fajita Marinade encompasses those older family recipes that would be used to tenderize meat.
Chicken fajita, pork, steak fajita, shrimp fajita, whatever your choice meat for fajita constructing, Claude’s Sauces Fajita Marinade is the go to make that meal taste authentic southwest but also to make that meal easy to prepare! It doesn't need to be a fajita, it could be a tostada or even a good old-fashioned stir fry!
Then there’s our Claude’s Sauces Hot & Spicy Sauce, our lines of wood flavoring as a marinade such as our Claude’s Hickory Meat Marinade and the southwest favorite, Claude’s BBQ Mesquite Meat Marinade.
And we’re not all about meat!
A very simple and staple food in the southwest, regardless if you find yourself in Texas or Mexico is the Burrito! And beans are the necessary ingredient no matter if you are using a meat or not.
Knowing that beans are a staple southwest flavor, the Castaneda’s created their Casa Corona line of dehydrated beans. All the flavor and convenience of re-fried beans but in an even more convenient dehydrated form. Just add water to any of the Casa Corona Dehydrated Bean flavors and you’ve got a meal ready in less than 5 minutes.
And in early 2017, Claude’s Sauces acquired another local flavor favorite, Tank’s Bloody Mary Mix! This fantastic southwest recipe put into a cocktail mix is the spiciest, and aromatic bar stock you’ll find and it’s an El Paso original! Just like Claude’s Sauces!
Time has gone by, and a changing of the guard has happened with the generations. Glenda still guides us day-to-day and Joe, while he’s since passed on, he’s here every day working with his kids and family members that still run Claude’s Sauces to this very day at 935 Loma Verde Drive.
So, from our family to yours. Enjoy our products as much as we’ve enjoyed making them for you.