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Major Spice Company in Cleveland, Ok

Author: C. L. Harmon
Date Published: September 28, 2018
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Dad­dy Hin­kle’s, Adding Its Own Spice To Okla­homa Life

CL spends some time with David of Dad­dy Hin­kle’s spice com­pa­ny based in Cleve­land Okla­homa.

CL Har­mon, Lead Author, Osage Nation Mem­ber

28 Sep­tem­ber 2018

Now and then the expres­sion ‘the spice of life’ gets tossed around. Usu­al­ly, it is refer­ring to some­one or some­thing which adds a lit­tle more to life than what is the norm. It is a rare occa­sion when it hap­pens and so to meet some­one who spices up life both metaphor­i­cal­ly and lit­er­al­ly, is a fla­vor that has a taste all its own. Let me intro­duce you to the David Hin­kle Southard, the man behind the Dad­dy Hin­kle spices label.

Soft-spo­ken and with a sub­tle sense of humor, one imme­di­ate­ly feels com­fort­able in his pres­ence. He humbly works at keep­ing his intel­li­gence from shin­ing through, but it beams through the cracks as he explains the oper­a­tions at Dad­dy Hinkle’s Spices com­pa­ny plant in Cleve­land, Okla­homa. No, he is not Dad­dy Hin­kle, but his grand­son and one of three broth­ers who found­ed the com­pa­ny in 1993. At 50 years of age and liv­ing on a sail­boat in the Flori­da Keys, David had plans to “bum around in par­adise” as he put it when his younger broth­er approached him with the idea of start­ing a com­pa­ny sell­ing spices.

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Pho­to­graph by CL Har­mon

As for the his­to­ry of where the spices orig­i­nat­ed, David explained that his grand­fa­ther J. Frank Hin­kle was the inspi­ra­tion to build and oper­ate a com­pa­ny using the same prin­ci­ples which the grand­fa­ther had used in build­ing his suc­cess­ful oil drilling busi­ness. The family’s suc­cess would afford them an upper-class lifestyle and a love for enter­tain­ing friends and busi­ness asso­ciates. Since Hin­kle was a lover of steak, it was usu­al­ly the main course. As such, his wife Zula began mix­ing spices and ingre­di­ents of vary­ing types and degrees to enhance the fla­vor. Unbe­knownst to her at the time, she was cre­at­ing the foun­da­tion for prod­ucts that her grand­sons would use to add more taste to the world.

The fam­i­ly had been using the recipes through the years, but pro­duc­ing them for com­mer­cial use was not some­thing that the broth­ers knew much about. David’s younger broth­er Den­ny was an endodon­tist, and his old­er broth­er Michael rais­es race hors­es. Den­ny, how­ev­er, want­ed to invest in the idea and David’s career choic­es made him the one most qual­i­fied to head up such an oper­a­tion. He had spent the pre­vi­ous 20 years own­ing and work­ing in dif­fer­ent capac­i­ties at bars and restau­rants. He knew how to cook var­i­ous types of meats and seafood as well as even being a sautee cook in a French restau­rant for a while. He had an under­stand­ing of what was required spice-wise to give the meat a fla­vor­ful, robust taste. When his broth­er Den­ny approached him about the idea, He wasn’t ini­tial­ly thrilled about run­ning ashore and leav­ing behind par­adise, but he was lured away by the thought of hav­ing what he calls “mail­box mon­ey.”

Pho­to­graph by CL Har­mon

The plan ini­tial­ly David believed would be to take a cou­ple of years off from “bum­ming around in par­adise,” devel­op the prod­uct, mar­ket it and then head back to South Flori­da where he could sail around for a few months and then anchor long enough to cash the mail­box mon­ey checks. For­tu­nate­ly for steak enthu­si­asts, that is not what hap­pened! After three years, it became evi­dent to David that his con­tin­ued involve­ment and for­mu­la cre­ations were cru­cial to the suc­cess of the com­pa­ny. So he debarked for good. His first order of busi­ness was to cre­ate the prod­uct. His grand­par­ents had cre­at­ed the fla­vors to make great tast­ing meats, but they had done so using ready-made spices from the store and sim­ply mix­ing dif­fer­ent options until cre­at­ing the taste they want­ed. David had to recre­ate the fla­vors with for­mu­las using raw ingre­di­ents.

This first for­mu­la would become the “Orig­i­nal” (Onion & Gar­lic based), which is still the largest sell­er. David has since added sev­er­al oth­er blends includ­ing the two oth­er main fla­vors. The sec­ond of these main fla­vors is South­west (Cumin & Oregano based), and the third is Spicy Pep­per (Jalapeno & Red Pep­per). All three blends are paired with Liq­uid Instant Meat Mari­nade. In addi­tion, the com­pa­ny has all nat­ur­al fla­vors sea­son­ing rub mari­nades. These include Onion & Gar­lic- Sug­ar-Free, Tex Mex- Sug­ar-Free, Low Sodi­um- Made with Sea Salt, Cracked Pep­per- Low Sodi­um and Spicy Pep­per-Sug­ar Free. There is also a sea­soned ten­der­iz­er, which is a liq­uid that has ten­der­iz­er, onion, and gar­lic already added.

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Next would be the pro­duc­tion aspect. David set­tled on three blend­ing com­pa­nies in the US that take his for­mu­la and cre­ate the prod­uct. The prod­ucts are made in dry sea­son­ing and a liq­uid form. The com­pa­nies which pro­duce the dry sea­son­ing ship it in bulk to the Cleve­land facil­i­ty where it is then pack­aged or and some­times bot­tled for sale. The com­pa­ny offers the dry sea­son­ing in var­i­ous sizes and both the dry and liq­uid in bulk pack­ages. Also, it has gift bas­kets and com­bo packs.

The com­pa­ny has been in exis­tence for 24 years has had steady growth since its incep­tion. It cur­rent­ly dis­trib­utes Dad­dy Hinkle’s spices in the fol­low­ing stores: Wal­mart, Rea­sors, Food Pyra­mid, Krogers, Price Chop­per, Albert­sons, Home­land, Unit­ed, Hy-Vee, Brook­shire Gro­cery, H.E.B., Dil­lon, and var­i­ous meat mar­kets all over the Unit­ed States. The prod­ucts can be ordered online www.daddyhinkles.com as well. The com­pa­ny also has cus­tomers in Cana­da, Cal­i­for­nia, New York, Col­orado, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Prod­ucts are also avail­able on Ama­zon, eBay, and Wal-Mart.com. The com­pa­ny has sev­er­al dis­trib­u­tors that rep­re­sent the com­pa­ny in sell­ing its prod­ucts.

Dad­dy Hinkle’s is cer­tain­ly a unique addi­tion to Okla­homa which con­tin­ues the tra­di­tion of adding to the blend of fla­vors that can always be found cook­ing some­where in the state. So crack open a bot­tle of Dad­dy Hinkle’s and enjoy the spice of Okla­homa life.

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C.L. Harmon is a journalist and author of "In The Midst Of Reality". He has worked for several newspapers as a reporter and was the managing editor for a daily before publishing his own paper, The Mannford Reporter in Mannford, OKlahoma. In addition, he has worked as a freelance writer for various magazines writing feature stories on people and events.
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