Sweet Baby Ray’s Chef Larry says he perfected his family’s barbecue sauce recipe back in 1985, creating a sweet and tangy sauce that beat out more than 700 other sauces at a national cook-off. After their success, they started selling the sauce door to door, at small mom-and-pop shops, eventually growing their business across the country. Now, they sell about 500,000 bottles a year.
The name, Sweet Baby Ray’s, comes from the nickname of Chef Larry’s younger brother, David, who got the nickname shooting hoops on Chicago’s West Side.
Sweet Baby Ray’s will compete against 23 of the nation’s top rib cookers, each vying for the highly coveted first-place trophy, cash prizes and the People’s Choice Award. This year, The Nugget anticipates at least 500,000 hungry barbecue-lovers will consume the more than 100 tons of ribs over the extended Labor Day weekend.
The event runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 3.