Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Al "Bubba" Baker, former defensive end with the Browns, compares his homemade barbecue sauce to the gridiron. "It's a lot like football," he says. "You have to bring your A game every time." Baker's Bubba's-Q Bar-B-Q will be one of 11 grilling teams competing at this weekend's Great American Rib Cook-Off and Music Festival.

The 15th anniversary of the BBQ fest includes grillers from across the nation, including New Jersey, South Carolina, and Virginia. Live performances by Blues Traveler, Southside Johnny, and Rick Springfield help kick off the start of summer.

Baker, in his first year of competition, says he's honored just to be asked to participate in the area's best-known rib-fest. His Avon restaurant, Bubba's-Q World Famous Bar-B-Q, serves everything from seafood to coleslaw to sweet-potato fries. But it's the fall-off-the-bone ribs that have people lining up and waiting more than an hour to get a seat on weekends. "I was born into the barbecue business," he says.

Baker spent 12 years in the NFL, playing for Detroit, St. Louis, and Cleveland. He retired in the early '90s, and since then has spent most of his time perfecting sauces. The recently opened restaurant is an offshoot of his condiment business, which boasts nearly a dozen different sauces and marinades (including honey, raspberry, and chipotle flavors). "Every single recipe is mine," he says. "I have a new one sitting on my desk right now, waiting for me to tweak."

For Baker, he sees the sauce business as a way to bring the glory to Cleveland that eluded him during his football days. "I'm hoping to represent Cleveland in rib cook-offs around the country," he says. "I feel I owe it to them, since we couldn't bring home a win over Denver."
Thu., May 25, noon; Fri., May 26, noon; Sat., May 27, noon; Mon., May 28, noon

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Speaking of Highlights

More by Michael Gallucci

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 9, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation