About Guilty Gator
Guilty Gator BBQ sauce was created for those that want more from a BBQ sauce other than sweet, or smoky, or ketchup tasting!!! It's more about flavor, especially flavors that don't over power your dish.
Ready to try our sauce?
Order our BBQ sauce & seasoning blends online!
The beginning came from a Jersey boy growing up in and outside of NYC in the early years, then being placed with grandparents that lived in a town about 10 minutes outside the big city. Growing up, I didn't have the traditional mom and dad type of raising, but a grandparent slash every once and a while living with mother household. Living with the grandparents, I learned some of the old style living and traditional foods. My grandmother would cook during the week, traditionally different old school dishes such as Irish and Italian. My grandfather would bring out the big guns when it came to the holidays and big family cookings. He would purchase a few dozen Maine lobsters, pounds of shrimp for cocktail and boil, sacks of clams for shucking, steaming, and clam chowder, tri-tip on the grill, blue fish served several ways, burgers and hotdogs for the kids. He would cook all of it by himself and wouldn't take any help. MInd you, we had a huge family both in town and also scattered living all over the states. My grandfather would then wake up after that outing, before any other family, and cook pounds of Taylor ham, stacks of hotcakes, and other breakfast goodies. With that dedication, he showed me how to mix it up and cook for a crowd, cooking many of dishes to appease everyone. I still do that till this day, whether it be a small gathering or a LSU game where I'm still cooking during the game and making sure my guests are satisfied. The one thing that as a kid that I would like to thank my grandfather was, on weekends that it was just me and my cousin, he would wake up and teach us to make breakfast. He showed us that you can make breakfast different in so many ways, which being impressionable at that age, showed me that dishes could be changed up with just basic ingredients, to name a few would be pancakes crusted with Mr. T or Gremlin cereal, or fresh fruits.
As I neared my teenage years, I began to work in the restaurant industry doing many different jobs which usually were of the cleaning nature. In between taking out the garbage and washing dishes, I would watch the chefs cook and make all types of different dishes, asking questions any time I had the chance. As time went on, the cooks would show me how to cook the menu and would ask for me to watch for tickets while they would take breaks. Just before my high school years, I was hired at a pizza and Italian cuisine restaurant owned by two brothers from Italy. I was hired as a dishwasher at first but started to fill in as a cook as the other cooks would call in sick or not show. Over time, I learned their ways and secrets of cooking pastas, calzones, and slapping out New York style pizza, which is very difficult. I also learned how to make dough, pasta, marinara, and different sauces from scratch.
My junior year of high school, my mother remarried and we relocated to Virginia Beach, right off the bay beach. This new scenery was like a different world to me and I was fortunate to experience the laid back beach life. I worked in a few restaurants after getting settled in. In those restaurants I learned more about cooking fish and different styles of seafood. At that point in time, not many of the restaurants fried their fish like they did down south, they usually sautéed, baked, or grilled, depending on the dish. As the years went on, I stayed working in the restaurant industry throughout high school and years afterward.
Just before I turned 22 years of age, a tragedy struck and my mother passed away suddenly, while she was living just outside of New Orleans, forcing me a few months later to move down to Louisiana and help out my step father. After moving, I was hired at an Italian cafe as a cook, but quickly moved up by taking over as the kitchen manager. I worked there for a few years until the owner decided to sell the restaurant, and after I had officially meet the new owners, I immediately knew that they were going to be hands on and cut my responsability and salary. It was at that point that I decided to take all of my savings and find a small pizza shop that was for sale, luckily locating one quickly on the other side of town. I called one of my former cooks, staying in California at that time, and told him that I was buying a pizza shop and had planned to use all of the recipes that I had come up with over the years, like he and I had always talked about doing. Not long after locating the restaurant, I made a deal with the owner and purchased a few days later. Upon hearing my news of the purchase, my former cook immediately flew back to Louisiana and helped me build the restaurant. Together we built the pizzeria and had some of the most amazing customers that made us want to work seven days a week, eighteen hours a day, just to be around and serve. During the time of owning the restaurant, I got married and began to start a family. Unfortunately, in my second year of ownership, Memorial day the air conditioner went out and the owner of the building wasn't willing to work with me on repairing the unit even after one of my customers sold us a slightly used unit of the same kind. My Employees and myself slaved over the brutal summer heat, but endured to stay alive till the fall with just a slight decrease in sales due to customers not wanting to sit in the heat to eat lunch or dinner. When fall came, sales began to rise again but the long hours took a toll on me and the family causing me to decide to sell the business and accept a job that was more stable with benefits by serving the community as a law enforcement officer. I learned the law enforcement field, learning that there are a lot of politics, low pay, but a satisfaction that you are serving the community, even though the people you put in jail get right back out. I did this for a few years before I said to myself that the more I did for the community and the more hours I put in, putting my family without their father, it wasn't making a difference with less people caring and fighting us. That is when I started to dred to go to work and decided to leave to get back to making people happy with my food and making money again.
In early 2000, I left law enforcement and went into partnership with a friend that owned a daiquiri bar, which he was losing his lease at his present location and thought teaming up with my culinary skills would be a great new business. We decided to put a plan together and open a pizza and daiquiri shop, blending the two of our previous businesses together and catering to our loyal customers. During this start up, we ran into a multiple amount of obstacles, such as not getting our original location due to lawsuits of the proposed shopping center by the neighborhood behind it, which to this date has grown and we would have had a gold mine. We did eventually find a reasonable location, not in the same town as our previous businesses, but decided to take a chance. At this new location, we ran into problems with landlord not living up to his obligations in our lease, being we were promised gas lines for equipment and he wouldn't pay fees to lay down pipes from the road. Then the city wouldn't give us a liquor license until six months after we opened, but we did open and were in business for several years, unfortunately with capital drained at the beginning, made things hard in long run but we had a solid customer base and people loved our products.
After several years in business with my partner, we decided to part ways and I decided to go back into law enforcement. I joined the local sheriff's office as a patrol deputy, where I worked in that position till being promoted detective. During my years working as a detective, I had different schedule where I had off on weekends, except when I was on call and call outs for crimes that were severe. With this extra time, I was able to spend more time with my daughters, compared to being on patrol and having more time off during the week where they are in school. With a little more time, I would bring my daughters to new places and different restaurants so they could try new things and critique these places, since they grew up in my second restaurant. Unfortunately, after purchasing a new home and the economy affecting my salary, we weren't able to go out as much. My daughters didn't mind much, since being a former chef, they would ask me to recreate dishes that they loved at their favorite restaurants. They became my biggest critics, fortunately loving most of my dishes. Over the years, I had come to master Louisiana cuisine, even though so many over the years had said a northerner couldn't do it. I began to get requests to cater parties for friends and events with my dishes.
One evening, I was making a bbq chicken dinner for my daughters. My oldest began to eat and asked if the BBQ sauce was made by me. I explained to her that I lived BBQ but was not a fan of BBQ sauce since all the ones I had found were either too sweet, too spicy, too smokey, or too ketchup tasting. She then asked if I could make one and I told her that I would, but that it wouldn't be like the majority on the shelves. From that point on, for two years, I made batch after batch of sauce with my daughters tasting and people that were close to me. After I had began to get good feedback, I invited a special woman in my life over to try my latest batch, which was kinda sweet but full of flavors that Louisiana offers. She did just that and gave me the approval that I had been searching for, telling me to sample it out. I then began to bottle my first sauce in mason jars and gave them to friends, neighbors, and members of my department. I received very strong feedback with people asking for more samples. As I was giving samples away at a great rate, I began to look into doing a couple of more sauces. I came up with a creole version of the North Carolina vinegar based sauce and a Honey sweet sauce off the base of my original which was sweet but still had that full flavor. I looked for professional bottles and labels and began to make a few cases. I brought them to a local business and did a promotion of slider breads with pulled pork, topped with samples of my sauces. I received such good response and sold many bottles that day, motivating me to create, bottle, and sell my sauces. Note, during the days that I started creating my first sauce, I had began to get in to competition BBQ and researching different methods and spices used with the big winners. Slowly over the next two years, I created five more sauces and a bunch of spice blends that I use competition and day to day.
Ready to try our sauce?
Order our BBQ sauce & seasoning blends online!
In May of 2015, I left the sheriff's office and used my retirement to get more equipment to help me make my business more professional and get caught up on any bills that I was behind on since law enforcement officers don't make much to save lives and keep peace. September, I approached my first store and was allowed to put my product there. Since that time, I have been building in stores and request from areas I am not in. I have a belief in this business to grow locally to nationally, creating jobs in this country instead of using distributors. I want to visit the stores, ask managers if the product is being asked for or is selling. I believe in doing promotions to these stores and meet my customers like I have been doing and get feedback. I don't want to be another business on the shelf, but one that is from the community and is still part of the community.