Our Story

Spud Spikes and Gourmet Seasonings

My wife Kimberly and I were first introduced to the concept of the baking nail back in January 2003 while visiting a fastener manufacturer’s booth at the Builder’s show in Las Vegas. I had been dealing with the manufacturer prior to this visit in regard to their stainless steel nails and screws for an alternative book I was working on, as well as an alternative building I was constructing.

The sales rep was showing my wife these stainless steel nails and explaining how they would make great baking nails when out of left field my wife says to me, “Spud Spikes would be a great trade name for marketing this product.”

So there you have it—Spud Spikes was born and put into production under our specifications, manufactured in the United States, and made available for purchase on our website at asktooltalk.com by the middle of 2003.

In 2007 SpudSpikes.com was launched to better market the product, and in 2008 we received our registered trademark for Spud Spikes. There are all kinds of imitation baking nail products out there, but we have lots of satisfied customers who enjoy using the original stainless steel baking nail.

In 2011 we launched our Gourmet Potato Skin Rubs and Everyday Seasonings (Original Blend, Garlic, and Pepper). They enhance the meat of the potato and also help you create a delicious crispy potato skin. Use them to liven up soups and salads; hardboiled, over easy, and scrambled eggs; steamed vegetables; and steaks, chicken, fish, burgers, ham, and pizza.

Burly Babe Gourmet Seasonings (lower salt content)

And speaking of great products—you told us and we listened!

It took us a while (like a year), but we were able to take our Spud Spikes gourmet seasonings and lower the salt content without losing the great flavor that was created under those dynamite recipes.

In October of 2014 our newly improved Spud Spikes Gourmet Original Blend, Garlic, and Pepper Seasonings (with the lower sodium content) began being sold under the new Burly Babe brand. The Original blend now has 95 mg of sodium, and both the Garlic and Pepper blends have 85 mg each. We were able to cut the salt level down by over 60% without altering the overall taste. So, those individuals who are concerned about their salt intake don’t have to worry any more.

We are still iodine- and fat-free. No artificial flavors, colors, or MSG are used, and only natural sea salt.

Burly Babe Gourmet Original Blend Seasoning enhances the flavor of baked potatoes and potato wedges; soups and salads; over easy and scrambled eggs; corn on the cob; steamed vegetables; pizza; and steaks, chicken, fish, burgers, and ham.

Burly Babe Gourmet Garlic Seasoning enhances the flavor of garlic bread, pasta dishes, and scrambled eggs; barbecued, grilled, and steamed vegetables; and brats, chicken, fish, and burgers.

Burly Babe Gourmet Pepper Seasoning enhances the flavor of stews, soups, eggs, and Mexican-style foods; barbecued, grilled, and steamed vegetables; and beef, chicken, fish, ham, pot roast, and pizza.

All of our Gourmet Seasonings are created to deliver a zesty range of flavors on cold or hot foods.

Garlic Popcorn Seasoning

While we were at it—and because we love our popcorn—we created our Gourmet Garlic Popcorn Seasoning with a lower salt content (85 mg) under the same Burly Babe brand.

Our Burly Babe Gourmet Garlic Popcorn Seasoning delivers a zesty flavor to popcorn, whether it’s off the stove, air- or fire-popped, or out of the microwave. It also enhances the flavor of garlic bread, pasta dishes, and scrambled eggs; barbecued, grilled, and steamed vegetables; and brats, chicken, fish, and burgers. It is iodine- and fat-free, contains no artificial flavors, colors or MSG, and uses only sea salt.

Sprinkle on microwave popcorn right in the bag (and shake the bag) or sprinkle directly on popcorn in a bowl. Air-, fire-, and stove-popped popcorn are dryer popcorn's, so dazzle the popcorn with a little butter to help more of the seasoning to stick. Adding just one or two sprinkles will enrich the flavors. Additional sprinkles will bring out a mildly hot/garlic flavor.

Tender Meat Snacks

We figured what the heck—we’re on a roll, let’s go one step further in the Burly Babe product line. In October 2014 we also rolled out our Tender Meat Snacks.

This product is something we are very proud of. We have been working with a butcher to use local meats along with our Spud Spikes Original Blend Seasoning to create Gourmet Tender Meat Snacks—both in bites and sticks—that are out of this world!

We use a “skinless” process to give our Tender Meat Snacks a more authentic feel. This process provides a deeper smoking result, cleaner bites, and eliminates a tough or chewy casing.

We use a 60/40 blend of beef and pork for two important reasons: First, pork adds moisture to the meat snacks and helps to pull the flavor of our seasonings throughout the beef; and second, pork adds protein. The beef helps in delivering the texture to the final product. Using a 60/40 blend of beef and pork helps to keep the overall cost down.

We use only ground chuck that is graded choice or better and high-quality pork shoulder—no fillers, low-quality meat cuts, or organs. This provides a consistent product and the best transfer of seasoning flavors throughout the meat snacks.

We also use regionally grown beef so the butcher can control the quality of beef they receive. If not available the butcher will use U.S.-grown beef from packing plants with the highest reputation for meat quality, meat safety, and humane animal handling policies.

Finally, the butcher uses a small-batch production to ensure a consistent, high-quality product. Each batch undergoes several quality-control inspections for flavor and packaging. They have a “hands-on” plant with limited automation, thus producing a handcrafted product second to none.

You will love the texture and unique flavor of our Gourmet Tender Meat Snacks. The product line consists of the following packages: Beef Stick Single (1 oz.), Beef Sticks (3 oz.), and Beef Bites (5 oz.).

Looking for a meat snack treat that you can take with you on a trip, camping, hunting, or just for snacking? Then look no further ... Burly Babe® Gourmet Tender Meat Snacks—Burl Up™ & Try Us!

The Burly Babe Name

If you’re wondering how we came up with the Burly Babe name and logo, our grandson, Mack, inspired it. We call him “Mack Attack” because from the time he gets up in the morning to when he lays his head down to sleep, this guy goes a hundred miles an hour—nonstop!

Mack our grandson Seeing Mack with his curly hair inspired us to design products under a new name to take us into a new direction. And that is just what we are doing!

After attending many consumer shows with our Spud Spikes® product line, we listened to what our customers were saying about our gourmet seasonings (which they love) and their concerns about the typically high level of sodium that is found on the market.

What we developed for the Spud Spikes brand seasonings works well for potatoes because the seasonings are designed to deliver a crispy and flavorful potato skin. Our customers have found that the same seasonings improve the taste of many other types of foods and have shared their comments with us. Although the required amount of sea salt is necessary to achieve a crispy potato skin, our customers wanted to see the sodium level lowered.

So that’s what we did! We went back and altered the sodium level so it doesn’t take away from the unique flavor and taste of our special bends.

That’s our story of an usual journey from construction, to cooking, to making a cooking utensil, to seasonings, and to making tender meat snacks using our Original Blend seasoning. Yep, it’s been quite the journey … and one worth taking!

Corporate Structure

C.R.S., Inc., is a Washington state corporation that owns SpudSpikes.com and BurlyBabe.com. The guiding force behind C.R.S., Inc., is Leon A. Frechette, president, who’s been in the forefront since 1976. Leon and Kimberly personally have been associated with the Spud Spike brand and products since 2003, and the Burly Babe brand since 2014.

As an author of seven books about remodeling and construction, Leon has spent over 30 years in this industry and has written over 100 articles for more than a dozen magazines. He has toured home and garden shows in the United States and Canada with his popular “ToolTALK” and “ToolTALK for Women” presentations, and has fielded questions for a weekly newspaper column for over two years. As the Tool Pro, Leon provides the expertise and experience behind all of the products that are selected and offered on his websites under the C.R.S., Inc. umbrella.

In September 1998, Leon took C.R.S., Inc., into the world of cyberspace; now it encompasses spudspikes.com, asktooltalk.com, bondhustools.com, and nuttybavariannw.com.

At C.R.S., Inc., and SpudSpikes.com, our mission is to provide the very best in products that can help our customers in their daily activities and baking projects.