Rosie will be on vacation until mid-March. Today, a post by guest blogger Lauren Payne.
Ray Sheehan loves food. He has worked around it all his life—in restaurants, retail shops, as a caterer, even as the owner of a fish market—but, he says, “I wasn’t fulfilled.” Then his wife gave him an electric smoker and he found his calling: Barbecue. Determined to prove that his food category of choice can be healthy, he developed a private label Memphis-style sauce and belly rub made of all natural ingredients. No high fructose corn syrup, no MSG. It’s gluten- and cholesterol-free.
Sheehan launched in July 2015. “It took me 100 different recipes to get it right,” he says. His test kitchen: the kitchen and backyard of the Neptune house he shares with wife, Kelly, and 8-year-old son Raymond. “My wife is a test tester extraordinaire and my son helps with recipe development. He has his own rub that he likes to put on nachos.” Sheehan says.
Sheehan treats barbecue with a spiritual zest. “People barbecue all year long. It’s about the smell of the wood, the meats cooking and creating all those layers of flavors,” he says. “To a lot of people barbecue is a religion.” Hence, the company name: BBQ Buddha.
Eventually Sheehan graduated from the electric smoker to an open fire. “I wanted to learn how to do it pure,” he says. He honed his skills by entering competitions and “going head to head with the best pitmasters.” The response has been huge, including overwhelmingly positive accolades within the industry. He currently sells two products—Memphis Mop BBQ sauce and Belly Rub—with 18 retailers in four states, and has two new products in the works. His favorite: “I love the rub on roasted salmon,” Sheehan says. “But really, it’s good on everything.”