NewsDerrick McCray Carries On Family's BBQ Legacy

Derrick McCray Carries On Family’s BBQ Legacy

CEO and pitmaster Derrick McCray of McCray’s Backyard BBQ and Seafood gave CNBC’s Make It a history lesson on the rich backstory of his family business on August 31. He also revealed his goal to take his mom-and-pop restaurant nationwide. 

“Uncle Jay brought my father up in the barbecue business and made him a barbecue extraordinaire. He was the barbecue man. And he was pretty much the only Black restaurant business in his area during that time,” he said.

Being located in South Florida at the height of the civil rights movement and segregation laws, McCray recalled meeting some of the biggest names in activism in his family restaurant as he grew up. 
“I can remember Jesse Jackson, James Brown, Isaac Hayes, all those people coming to my home and to the restaurant because my dad was one of the leading civil rights activists here in South Florida during that time,” he said. “We had a lot of bomb threats and death threats from the Klan and all kinds of stuff.”

When President Nixon’s War on Drugs was launched, it “tore the fabric of the community apart” and the family business took a brutal financial hit.
However, McCray said he knew he had to keep the family business going.

“It’s in my DNA to keep moving forward,” said McCray. “I don’t see a reason why the McCrays can’t be like the Rockefellers or the Posts or other big families that have secured generational wealth.”
These days, the pitmaster has taken to restoring the business through hard work and good food following a significant career change.

“I was partying too much, drinking and doing stuff. I wasn’t being consistent. I was trying to be in the streets. And I didn’t pass the drug test out there, so they told me to go back where I came from,” McCray remembered. “It was a devastating blow to me because I knew I had the talent to play, but my off-the-field activities during that time caused me to not make it in something I love doing: playing football.”
The life-altering event caused McCray to head back home and take over McCray’s Backyard BBQ and Seafood. He made many business changes that were for the better, and he made sure to keep preparing the food the same way his family always has. 

In addition, he made sure to keep the signature barbecue sauce the same.

McCray hopes his hard work sets an example for generations to come.

RELATED CONTENT: Anthony Anderson And Cedric The Entertainer Start BBQ Brand

Source: Black Enterprise

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