Navajo Mike’s was founded in 2020, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, by Michael John. John realized there are all kinds of barbecue styles including Texas style and Kansas City style; however, there wasn’t much representation in Southwest style barbecue.
John decided to change that, and began experimenting using prickly pear cactus juice, a popular indigenous ingredient from the Southwest. Prickly pear is drought-resistant and good for Mother Earth, and is full of antioxidants and fiber.
John runs the Tempe, Arizona-based business on his own, from creating and bottling the sauce, handling sales, and leading marketing efforts. SweetGrass is proud to offer the original Smoked Prickly Pear flavor in 6 oz., beautifully-designed bottles.
“With companies such as SweetGrass, small native businesses like Navajo Mike’s can grow and connect with consumers all over the world,” John said. “Through SweetGrass Trading Company, we will be able to get the taste of the Southwest to your doorstep.”
Navajo Mike’s recently became certified by American Indian Foods (AIF), a program led by the Intertribal Ag Council. According to the AIF website, “the partnership was developed as a platform for American Indian food businesses to showcase their products and share Tribal cultures with the world.”
This certification also protects Native-owned businesses and consumers from false Native American made products. In order to be eligible, businesses must be owned by a federally recognized Tribal member, tribal entity, or an Alaskan Village as defined by law, or at least have a controlling 51% share interest.