When Vince Sherrill, also known as “Big Sarge” from KARK’s Fishing Report, was looking for the stars of the cooking segment on his new show "Fishing With Big Sarge," an Arkansas spice shop receiving exposure through a California YouTuber’s cooking channel with 1.3 million subscribers was ideal — and it just so happens that’s what he found in Hot Springs.
Let’s start with getting to know local spice shop Sweet Smokie Joe, and how they started their partnership with California YouTuber Aaron Brown, also known as Smokin' & Grillin' wit AB, nearly four years ago.
Sweet Smokie Joe, which has been located in Hot Springs at 2100 Albert Pike Road for only a little over a year, got its start about four years ago. Co-owner Stan Kendall* said he was able to grow his business through his partnership with Brown.
“When I first started Sweet Smokie Joe I was putting (promotions) out through YouTube Channels that do cooking and things like that,” Kendall said. “Well one of the guys had a channel in Chicago called No Hippie BBQ, and he said, ‘Look, I have this friend of mine who's up-and-coming, and he’s going to be real big on YouTube, you might want to send him some of your seasoning.’
“He gave me his contact information, and it just so happened it was AB. And I did, and he tried them, and he really liked them. AB’s real particular. If he doesn’t believe in a product then he doesn’t promote it, because he gets people all the time. So he gave me a call.
“At that time he only had about 20,000 subscribers, and he said, ‘I really like this, can you tell me more about it.’ We got to kind of befriending each other and learning about the products and things, and he tried it and it was a success with his subscribers.
“Fast forward to today, he has (1.3) million subscribers ... so we’ve just sort of grown together.”
Brown said that of his about 450 videos on YouTube, he uses Sweet Smokie Joe products in
about 75% of them.
“The flavor profile is just excellent, just everything about it,” Brown said. “All the way down to the whole family business, and everything I know about Stan, and along with the taste, it just fits my channel.”
“Imma say it like this,” Brown said, “and I don’t want it to sound cheap: but we like family. Ever since I met him we clicked from the very beginning. He’s been with me when I only had 20,000 subscribers, and now I’m at (1.3) million.”
And now, the two are starring in Sherrill’s new show, which premieres July 17 on KARZ Channel 42. It will run from 7-8 p.m.every Saturday night.
“It’s got a kind of cajun theme to it, but of course the star is Sweet Smokie Joe and all of their products,” Brown said.
In regards to why Sherrill wanted to incorporate a cooking segment in “Fishing With Big Sarge,” he said, “If you look at anything that’s popular on TV and has something to do with cooking, everybody wants to cook, everybody wants to learn how to cook. And so with AB being the best there is, and he’s teamed up with no other than Stan at (Sweet) Smokie Joe in Hot Springs, of course, it just makes sense to bring it together and put it on a show.”
However, the cooking segment is just a portion of what his show will be offering.
“I want to make sure if you’re watching TV, you’re never ever going to get up,” Sherrill said. “So we have five different fishing reports, we have tips and techniques, we got bank on it, two cooking segments, vehicle of the week, boat of the week, local spotlight, product showcase, kids catch, Big Sarge Big Bite, lure of the week … and we have a small saltwater report.”
The “meat and potatoes” of the show, as he put it, will be the five different fishing reports.
“There’s North, Central, South, East and West, and it’s only the highlights, it’s only the hotspots,” Sherrill said. “You’d be there for eight hours if you wanted to do every lake. ... Sassy Shad is my co-host on the show. She’s going to do her studying, she’s going to go to the guides, she’s going to call the guides; so it’s going to be the most updated fishing report there is.”
A little more about Brown’s YouTube Channel:
“My YouTube Channel name is Smokin' & Grillin' wit AB,” Brown said. “When you first hear that you just think ‘Oh, OK, this the grill king,’ but I do all types of things. All the way down from smothered pork chops to a cajun seafood baked potato, and then of course I do anything like a Texas-style brisket to ribs.
“I would just like to tell everybody, you know give my channel a try; look through all of my videos, I’m sure I have something out there for everybody, anything from the deep south-type of recipes, all the way to the west coast.”
A little more about Sweet Smokie Joe’s start:
“Every time I would go to a grocery store to try to buy some seasonings they all were loaded with salt, they all tasted the same,” Kendall said. “Couldn’t find anything unique or different, so I kind of learned about what made spices, spices. Kind of got them together, and just kind of played with them, and just stumbled across a recipe that worked, and it just so happens they’re very low in sodium, but still has a bunch of flavor. I just kind of tripped up on it I guess.
“We kind of coined the phrase 'Do you Smokie Joe?' Which is kind of all about faith, family and fun. Going out there and bringing family together, friends together, sharing barbeque, outdoor cooking and a good time.”
*There is a familial relation between the writer and subject.