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Tulsa's iconic charcoal grill company Hasty-Bake celebrating 65 years
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Tulsa's iconic charcoal grill company Hasty-Bake celebrating 65 years

Tulsa's iconic grill company adapts to times

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Hasty-Bake celebrates its 65th anniversary this year, and the charcoal grill company continues to diversify and find new sales outlets that will keep it going for decades to come.

The charcoal grills have a dedicated following, especially Tulsa cooks who would rather cook on charcoal or not cook at all.

In 1948, Hasty-Bake was founded by entrepreneur Grant Hastings. Hastings had experience in the food industry and a knack for marketing. He tapped into the market for charcoal grills, and Hasty-Bake began winning awards and gaining notoriety for Tulsa

Hasty-Bake was selected by the U.S. Department of State to represent American industry at the Brussels World's Fair in 1958. And it won the Hess Award for the best houseware item of 1962.

"At one time Sears carried them with the Kenmore label on them; a lot of people don't know that. And they were sold at Neiman Marcus," said Richard Alexander, Hasty-Bake owner and president. "They were shipping a bunch in the '50s and '60s then, in about the early '70s, that is when the gas grill took off. That's when things changed a bunch, and they went into more a survival mode"

The factory had a large fire in 1981, and Hastings sold it in 1984. Alexander bought the company in 1994.

"What we have really tried to do is to expand what we do," he said. "We are still here, and by diversifying into the outdoor kitchen products, we hope to be here for a longer time."

Piece by piece, workers assemble thousands of the iconic Hasty-Bake charcoal ovens every year at the company's factory in the heart of Tulsa.

About 2,000 grills are manufactured every year at the factory at 1313 S. Lewis Ave., Alexander said. The company moved there about five years ago and began manufacturing all of its own parts.

It takes about four hours to put together a grill, which is composed of about 40 pieces.

Production of the charcoal grills was up this year because Crate and Barrel placed a big order from Hasty-Bake, he said.

"They are the largest single customer we have had in about 10 years, if not longer," Alexander said.

While the company used to rely on sales of its grills at smaller, "mom and pop" shops, the grills are now mostly sold online and at appliance stores, Alexander said.

Hasty-Bake also makes a line of doors and drawers for outdoor kitchens at its factory.

"That is really our fastest-growing product right now," he said.

But charcoal grilling is also trending among cooks who desire the versatility of smoking and grilling.

Adapting to those trends is the secret to longevity, Alexander said.

"Although our company has undergone a lot of changes, what will never change is our commitment to excellence - from our quality materials to our hardworking attitudes," Alexander said.

"We are thrilled with the chance to celebrate our rich heritage that started right here in Tulsa and look forward to many more years to come, producing the world's best charcoal ovens."


Here’s a recipe from “Grilling Grant’s Way: Cooking Over Coals” by Grant Hastings with Mark Brown. It includes a collection of recipes from established charcoal grill cooks.

MYERS RIB RECIPE

(submitted by Adam Myers of Burn Co.)

baby back pork ribs or pork spare ribs

barbecue rub, 1 bottle per 2 sides

1 large bottle Italian dressing

1 bottle barbecue sauce

2 cups beer, cola or apple juice

Baste:

3-4 tablespoons Hasty-Bake rub, or rub of choice

1 cup Italian dressing

3-4 tablespoons Hasty-Bake barbecue sauce

2 cups beer, cola of apple juice

1. Remove the membrane from the side of ribs. Rub liberally with Italian dressing, covering all sides and edges. Rub liberally with barbecue rub of choice. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to cooking to shorten cooking time.

2. Start with an indirect fire with a temperature between 200-225 degrees. Mix ingredients for the baste and allow them to warm to room temperature.

3. Place ribs on grill, bone side down and cook for 45 minutes. Flip ribs to meat side down and cook for 30 minutes. Baste every 10-15 minutes and cook for a total of 1½ hours or until the meat begins to pull back from the bones about ½ of an inch or the smallest rib bone pulls out easily.

Note: for ribs that stick to the meat and must be pulled off with some force, eat now. For softer meat and tender texture, remove ribs from the grill and lightly brush with barbecue sauce and wrap with foil. Make sure the fire is below 200 degrees and place the ribs back on the grill for one additional hour for tender ribs; two hours for bones that fall out.


Nicole Marshall Middleton 918-581-8459

nicole.marshall@tulsaworld.com SUBHEAD: Tulsa's iconic grill company adapts to times

Original Print Headline: Hasty-Bake celebrates 65 years

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