Bad to the Bone Gumbo

Bad to the Bone Gumbo — Zandra Wolfgram 

Whether you like yours sweet, hot or tangy, 98 Bar-B-Que is the boss of sauce. Jon Seeling and his wife, Nicole, have turned up the heat on Highway 98, and since it opened in 2006, locals and tourists are drawn to this little Santa Rosa Beach hot spot like moths to a hickory-smoked flame.

“If you don’t come for our awesome fresh barbecue, I guess you can come for our homemade bread pudding with praline sauce,” Seeling says. But as a four-time champ of the Gumbo Cook-off at Sandestin, now you can come to 98 Bar-B-Que for award-winning gumbo, too.
Seeling spoons up his creation by starting with a medium brown roux and then featuring chicken and sausage. What’s his secret? The third-generation restaurateur says a lot has to do with the hearty bold flavors. “It’s not too spicy and no one flavor stands out — it’s a true gumbo,” he says.

Seeling will defend his crown at the Gumbo Cook-off on Saturday, Feb. 18, at The Village of Baytowne Wharf from noon to 4 p.m. One sweet secret of his success may have something to do with the signature bread pudding he serves at his booth. But winning isn’t everything to this foodie. “The competition is great, but the fellowship with family, friends, locals and visitors is why we love this event,” he says.
We can’t wait to see whether he will bowl us over again this year.

Photo by Scott Holstein