RGV entrepreneur and ‘The Jank’ creator unveils diabetic-friendly sauce

Lamar Jones, owner and "Jank Innovator" of The Jank Gourmet BBQ Sauce and Spice Blend, arranges bottles of his newest diabetic- and ketogenic-friendly barbecue sauce, "The Goodness," on Thursday in McAllen. Francisco E. Jimenez | fjimenez@themonitor.com

McALLEN — Dozens of local business owners on Thursday sunk their teeth into barbecue meals coated in The Goodness, the name of the new, diabetic- and ketogenic-friendly condiment from the creator of The Jank.

If their expressions of satisfaction were not indicative enough of their approval for Lamar Jones’s new sauce, their clean plates did the trick.

“The plates are getting empty pretty quick, so that’s a good sign,” said Jones, owner and “Jank Innovator” of The Jank Gourmet BBQ Sauce and Spice Blend. “That’s awesome.”

Business owners gathered at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce for the Jank Goodness Launch Party on Thursday morning to celebrate the release of Jones’ newest barbecue creation.

“This is the official launch party of the newest edition to the product line of The Jank,” Jones said. “We have ‘The Goodness,’ which is the name of the new flavor. It’s diabetic friendly, it’s keto friendly, and also low sodium. It just hit the shelves of H-E-B on (Jan.) 13.”

Jones was introduced by Steve Ahlenius, president and CEO of the McAllen chamber, who said that the chamber is trying to create an ecosystem that brings people together.

“A lot of times you feel like you’re totally alone, you’re out there by yourself,” Ahlenius said. “Part of what we’ve done through creating 14 different programs as a way of bringing people together, a way for people to connect, but then also a way for people to get funded. We do our innovation grant program, we do our business plan competition, and it’s a way for them to get money to help launch their business.”

Business was booming for Jones, as a swarm of customers gathered around The Jank’s product table to buy the new sauce.

Rose Lucio, who said that she is not much of a fan of barbecue sauce, purchased three bottles of The Goodness.

“It’s really, really good,” Lucio said. “It’s not overpowering, it’s not too sweet, and it really complimented all the different meats.”

The Goodness, which is distinguishable from the other sauces with its green cap seal, joins a product lineup that includes Original Bottle O’Jank, Spicy Bottle O’Jank, Jankanero Heat and The Jank Dry Rub.

Jones said The Goodness had been in the works for almost two years.

“It was just trying to find the right balance,” Jones said. “If it wasn’t good, then I didn’t want to put it out. A lot of people have that mindset that if it’s good for you, then it can’t be good. I just wanted to make sure that I could debunk that myth and let them know that The Goodness is good and good for you.”

Jones said creating a healthier alternative to what’s already available without compromising the flavor was always something he wanted to do from the beginning. He said that he was inspired by his grandmother and his mother, who are both diabetic, to create the healthier The Goodness.

“Looking at the statistics on diabetics in the country, it’s just a staggering number. It’s crazy,” Jones said. “When I see the amount of products that claim to be sugar-free on the market, but they use a lot of alcohol sugars. I wanted to stay away from that. I just wanted it to be a premier product, like The Jank is just a premier brand. I just wanted to be that and push the envelope, and provide a service if you will, to that market.”

Currently, The Jank products can be found in an estimated 247 H-E-B stores throughout the state. Products can also be purchased online at www.bbqjank.com.