The ol' cowboy-oilman J. Frank Hinkle could do two
things really well.
He could spend money. And he could make a marinade
meaner than any steer that ever managed to dodge his rope.
The marinade was good enough to prompt four grandsons to
spend big bucks on creating and marketing a liquid-dry
mixture from the recipe that Hinkle made up in 1942. The
recipe -- and Hinkle's entrepreneurial genes -- have led to a
livelihood for those grandchildren.
"I guess we grew up and figured out how to make our own
way," said Mike Southard, one of Hinkle's grandsons.
The grandsons created Daddy Hinkle's Instant Marinade
about five years ago, and now cooks across the Midwest use
the three varieties on their meats and vegetables. They buy
it from any of 600 to 800 Albertson's, Reasors Food
Warehouse, Bud's Family Foods, Homeland and other stores.
"I like the idea of my grandfather's face peering out of
every cabinet in the United States," said David Southard of
Tulsa, a major force in making Daddy Hinkle's a reality.
The Daddy Hinkle's booth is among those in the Made in
Oklahoma Building at the Tulsa State Fair, which runs
through Sunday. Sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of
Agriculture, the building spotlights Oklahoma products for
sale ranging from catfish breading and salsa, to soaps and
jar cakes, to beef jerky and pecans.
Hinkle lived in Duncan and liked to throw parties where
he'd marinate T-bone steaks and toss them on the grill.
"He always said, `I'll doctor them all up,' " David
Between the eating and laughing, Hinkle would talk to
people about their goals and eventually helped many of them
get started in business, Southard said.
Hinkle identified with people who had drive. He became
an orphan at 13 and had to take care of himself by working
in logging camps, on railroads and in the oil fields before
building his own steam-driven rig.
"He sort of gave us all that entrepreneurial spirit,"
Southard said. "I think he thought you could do anything you
wanted to do." Decades later, that spirit still beats in
the hearts of the Southards and Hinkles.
That became evident after Terry Hinkle, Southard's
cousin, mixed a batch of marinade as a gift for his graphic
arts business clients in the St. Louis area. The clients
loved the marinade so much that Hinkle and Southard's
younger brother, Denny, decided five years ago that they'd
package the marinade and try to sell it. Terry Hinkle
designed the label art featuring Daddy Hinkle's face offset
by an oil well and a cowboy roping in the background. They
talked David Southard into docking his sailboat in Florida
and moving back to Tulsa because he knew how to make things
happen. Brothers and cousin wrote Daddy Hinkle's story,
which appears on the back of the package, and they found
someone who could make the formula in huge batches. David
Southard arranged to have companies in Oklahoma City and
Des Moines, Iowa, make different components of Daddy
Hinkle's. Then he arranged to have all the components
assembled in Tulsa.
After about 11/2 years, they had the product packaged and
in Tulsa stores, where it sat on the shelves for the first
"We realized pretty bottles don't always sell," said Mike
Southard. "We realized if we weren't ready to demo it, we
shouldn't put it out." Since then, they've held frequent
in-store demos to stir up interest in Daddy Hinkle's and
keep folks coming back for more. Eventually they hope
to become large enough to justify setting up a full-time