Folks often ask, 'Why is it called Marvin's Sauce™?' or 'Who is Effie Mae?' The story of these inventors of these wonderful Southern tastes is just as unique, eccentric, and respected as their inventions.

The Innovators
Ferrester Marvin Tiller was born in rural Cherokee County, Alabama in 1913, one of 10 children that survived to adulthood. Working the family's land near Howell's Cross Roads, he would cultivate the qualities he would later be known for - love of the Lord, hard work, strict cleanliness, and a meticulous nature. He would marry Effie Mae Cowser, the eldest of nine children herself, on Christmas Day 1935 and raise three children in a home he built on Bay Springs Road in Centre. It would be in the kitchen of this house (which is still lived in) that "Big Daddy" and "Grandmother" - as they were known to their grandchildren - would create Marvin's Sauce™ and Effie Mae's Mop™.

"Big Daddy"
The Cause Of All This

Both were impeccably dressed every Sunday morning...he made his own knives on a bench grinder in his outdoor workshop...he mounted 19th & early 20th century farm equipment on concrete blocks in his backyard as an outdoor agricultural museum...but Marvin is best remembered for his skills on the barbecue grill. Effie Mae was known for the sumptuous Sunday suppers she produced in the kitchen. Church gatherings and family reunions offered them opportunities to show off their skills. People often lined up to sample their work. Big Daddy & Grandmother developed several recipes for sauces and condiments to further enhance their already excellent food. Using old mayonnaise jars, they would introduce their new creations to the town 40+ years ago.


They Gain a Following
The reponse was immediate and strong. Soon, "Uncle Marvin's hot sauce" was being enjoyed in homes all over the county and beyond. People found it most excellent on hot dogs and hamburgers but were soon enjoying it on black-eyed peas, collared greens, beans - and even saltine crackers! The relish's characteristic 'crunch' and building heat drew fans, including the Secretary of State of Alabama at the time. Grandmother's tangy, spicy, lemony barbecue mop was devoured on chicken and ribs at community cookouts in Centre.


Where it all started...

"Keep it under wraps!"...The Legacy
Sadly, Big Daddy passed in 1982...and Grandmother left us in 2006. But fortunately, before he left us, he handed a bit of his wisdom off to the next generation with a warning - "Keep it under wraps!" - thereby clamping secrecy on his flagship recipe. Grandmother also passed her recipe to her daughter before she passed.

After decades of selling them privately, Smokehouse Foods was founded in 2017 by one of their descendants to oversee the commercial manufacture and marketing of what is now the F.M. Tiller Brand™ of products.

The careful preparation, unique processing, and one-of-kind tastes of Marvin's Sauce™ and Effie Mae's Mop™ are testaments to the same qualities of their creators. When you enjoy one of the Flavors The South Relishes™ in your home or at your next tailgate or picnic, be sure to appreciate the man and woman who invented them!