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#048: The Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce, Catering, and Restaurant Story – Dave and Duce Raymond

Sweet Baby Rays Barbecue
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Dave Raymond and Duce Raymond – Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ & Catering – @sbrbbq @sbrcatering @duceswildbbq – Chicago, IL

*This podcast was recorded at the River Ranch Stockyards during the National Barbecue & Grilling Association’s #IAMBBQ2018 National Trade Show and Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.


  • Dave Raymond the Founder of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, and Duce Raymond (his nephew) of Sweet Baby Ray’s Catering own two BBQ restaurants, a catering & events company, and compete in BBQ competition under the Duce’s Wild brand.
  • Dave and Duce share their generational journey of growing their business and starting new endeavors.
  • They started by giving their sauces away as holiday gifts to family members and getting their feedback about the sauces. The sauces kept growing in popularity and the Raymonds kept up their grind to get their sauce in as many places as possible. Capitalizing on their success at Mike Royko’s Ribfest in 1982 Dave and Mike Obrien build Sweet Baby Ray’s into what today is the best-selling barbecue sauce in the country. 
  • Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauces currently combine to take up 46% of the market share, as the sauces continue to expand internationally.
  • Now a multi-faceted business operation, Sweet Baby Ray’s boasts two restaurants, a full-service Elk Grove Village location and a barbecue restaurant in Wood Dale run with nephew, Duce, as well as two premier catering companies.
  • Dave currently resides in Wood Dale, close to relatives and life-long friends, and spends much of his spare time with the barbecue community, still lovin’ the ‘que crew as much as ever.
  • Duce was destined for the food industry. Son of Chef Larry Raymond and nephew of Dave Raymond, the creators of Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce, Chef Duce grew up in and around restaurants and began working in the food and service industry at the age of 14. Realizing his passion, Duce later attended Kendall College Culinary School where he graduated with a degree in Culinary Arts, and was a member of Kendall College’s first graduating class to have completed a bachelor’s degree program in culinary study.
  • Duce is now focused on his SBR Events Group Catering company and growing his line of sauces: Duce’s Wild. His specialties include Southern and Central American cuisine and, of course, barbecue–which he has perfected at such recognized events and venues as the Taste of Chicago, the Naperville Ribfest, the Nugget Rib Cook-off, and the Wrigley Field rooftops. Duce has been a guest speaker at the world renowned Catersource Convention in Las Vegas as well as numerous times at the #IAMBBQ Trade Show and Conference for NBBQA.
  • HOW DID THEY DO IT? Dave says:
    • Great product
    • Belief in what we’re doing
    • Passion and commitment
    • Faith in God
    • Fear of failure
    • Working with great people
    • Professionalism
    • Timing
    • Execution
    • Focus
    • Attention to detail
    • Follow up
    • Follow through
    • Luck

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

@BBQWarStories Weekly Social Shout Out:

If you sign up to be a NBBQA member, send us a screenshot of your sign up and we will send you some BBQ swag!

Shareable Quotes From This Podcast:

  • “I used to buy drugs (pharmaceutical) and now I sell barbecue…. was my story for a long time” – Dave {5:52)
  • “Stuff so good anybody could sell it”- Duce {7:30}
  • “It is one thing to know something but you have to do something about it”- Dave {14:45}
  • “Embrace falling down and embrace getting back up”- Derek {15:26}
  • “BBQ guys hang out together… pizza guys don’t do that”- Dave {49:36}
Duce's Wild BBQ

Duce’s Wild BBQ

Get in Touch:

Dave Raymond –

Duce Raymond –

Derek Marso –

Shawn Walchef –

Cory Wagner –

Valley Farm Market – –

Cali Comfort BBQ – – –

Behind The Smoke – – –

Email –

Honorable Mentions:

Ole Hickory Pits:

Grill Grates:

Weber Grills:

Spring Valley Tailgate & BBQ Festival Photos:

The Turf & Surf BBQ Championship – KCBS Contest in Del Mar, California – Sunday, August 19, 2018 #BETonBBQc

IAMBBQ 2018:

Thank you to Jet West Band for our epic Intro Jingle!

Jet West:

Best Barbecue Show on Twitter

BBQ Central Show on Twitter

Man Meat BBQ on Twitter

NBBQA on Twitter

About the author, Cory Wagner

Producer of Behind The Smoke Podcast

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