Competition Barbecue Team Ritsi-Drew Caters 4 U Interview

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Phil:   So we can get started you just wanna give me a little brief introduction about how you guys got involved with the whole barbecue scene

Drew:  This is my wife Eritsa Jones

Ritsi:   Hi Phil

Phil:    Hi

Drew:  Ritsi of the Ritsi Drew BBQ 

Ritsi:    I'm the Drew 

Phil:     Ahaha 

Ritsi:    But you figured it out, I know you did 

Phil:     Yeah 

Drew:   Go on 

Ritsi:      So, how did we get started uhm well I, we love barbecue uhm and I have a killer sauce so uhm, we've been doin this about 9 years and we got into competition about 3 years now. And uhm, well actually yet with the prompting of our friends, who were kinda like, you guys should go on the circuit uhm so i mean we were kinda just doing it on our backyard and the minute we turned on our grills everyone would come with their dish to take food home you know so, we decided to go into competition, we loved it. Uhm so, I mean that's kinda our story , we love to feed people and uhm you know, hey why not. 

Phil:       Haha…so 

Ritsi:      so…we're kinda..go ahead 

Phil:       or continue 

Ritsi:      So we actually met at New York City Transit, we were both operators for uhm, we drove buses so uhm I am now retired due to injury. So he's the supervisor now. So of course, I was too young to be just retired so I went to culinary school and uh became a chef so here I am opening up a doing catering so uhm and he is uhh my pit master so he takes care of the pits outside and I do the inside stuff so i prep all our meat inside and he takes care of the temperature outside and he does his stuff you know, that's what we do and I'm gonna let him...if you have any other question let him answer 

Drew:    I'm in my backyard, it could be as blistering hot as 100 degrees or blistering cold as 32 degrees, you see me out there manning my pits. I'm hooked and especially during the first contest a little damp…a little rain…I'm out there just felt like i'm in my backyard. I got hooked and that's why we started joining competition. We can go here, we'll try. We’ll give it our best...that's how I...we got hooked. 

Phil:       Okay, so uhm you said you were involved in culinary school, what made you decide to a pursue barbecue over other types of cooking 

Ritsi:      Wow, it's one of the…like the most purest form of cooking I mean to me like I do other foms It's like the most basic forms of cooking and you could take it anyway I mean you put your meat on the fire or you do what you do and to me it's like most American I mean ...if you follow the history of barbacoa uhm people would say it's not totally American it was brought here by whatever it's kinda been Americanized, you know uhm so I think it's like truly like one of the most basic forms of cooking, you can take it anywhere. you know so we really loved it and I really do have a killer sauce. 

Phil:       Really? 

Ritsi:      And we also do like for the holidays, we also do Fried turkey which, we started with our family who really loved it and we were able to trick my mother who said she would never eat fried turkey and we gave it to her one thanksgiving and she said…we all knew what we gave her and she sat there and she was like...oohh my gosh did you put this in the bag this taste so good and it was so funny because we all knew and she was like oohh my goodness and after she ate her meal we said uhm you know what that was fried turkey and she was like get out of here 

Phil:       Hahahaha 

Ritsi:      And we started selling fried turkeys, we've been delivering in the 5 burroughs for the past 3 years 

Phil:       Wow..awesome. What would you say, one of your favorite things to grill is 

Ritsi:      Uhh 

Drew:    Ribs 

Phil:       Ribs? 

Drew:    Ribs 

Phil:       Why's that? 

Drew:    Because, one it's not more like I'm more like my wife says, I'm more of a left brain thinker so I'm figurin' out time, I'm figurin' out temperature, figurin' out the right constant, how much chalk but I guess even when my mother cooked 'em a long time ago, it's just the beauty of cooking ribs on the grill, it's the way they sear it, the way they cook and when you pick up competition style the way they foil it and try to get that upper temperature where once you bite into it, it's one bite where it's tough enough and the rest of the meat stay on the bone but tender enough to bite through them...when I see that it's just that to me the most joy of cooking ribs, the ribs are my favorite.. favorite meat to cook 

Phil:       Okay what about you Ritsi 

Ritsi:      Wow, I'm a…I don't know…you see I love when he does his brisquet, I think his brisquet is like the best. I just love it. I mean, I love what we do to it even before it gets to the smoker you know I mean coz I'm the one that gives it that love…I'm the one that puts all that so you know...I love what we do to it you know, our injection I love  what I do what I create the injection I mean, it's a lot of strategy into it so I love when I injecting each each you know and putting on that rub I love that so and I love what he does to it once I hand it over to him...I love what he does to it...when it comes back to me and I have to slice's like poetry...I mean I know people that don't do barbecue, they won't understand what we are saying but it really is poetry all they know is like when I see how people react when I say "taste" right  him and I, when I say "taste" and they don't say a word and all I see is the rollback in their eyes...that is what I'm looking don't have to say anything that rollback in their eye...that's what I'm looking for...that's magic to me....that is magic....that's what I'm looking don't need to say nothing..not a word...nothing that rollback of their eyes...perfect 

Phil:       Haha…That's awesome..uhm what would you say one of your most difficult moments starting your own barbecue company was 

Drew:    The first one…hahah 

Phil:       This is not the first one? 

Drew:    I would  say, was the first one, I could say the recent one too,  but both of them were in Staten Island and it was our first competition and we saw what going on we really didn't know how, how it's gonna go, how would people react and like I said we tried, we didn't get our canopy right, so went to get a canopy since it happened in Staten Island coz it was our first contest, we knew the area well than anybody coz we're from Staten Island so we got out, we tried to set it up, we tried to set up our canopy that just turned out to be complete 

Ritsi:      Fiasco 

Drew:    Haha…and it's like, I can't set this up, let's set up my grills and everything  until I get the tent set up it took a 12 year old boy, one of the producers of barbecue pit masters

Ritsi:      Yup 

Drew:    And the Amanda Jumbo pits Jaime, Jaime Geer help set up our canopy 

RItsi:      They help us set it up and to me that was beautiful because they could have just stood on the sidelines and say look at these fools, they don't even know what they are doing you know but to see them  step up and give us a hand to me that was made me feel like wow the barbecue community is like really, you know really great part of people.. you know.. that really made me feel, that really made us feel really good 

Ritsi:      Really…you know…it wasn't like a …didn't make me feel like this were a bunch of cutthroat people that didn't care about anybody else but themselves, it didn't make us feel that way.yeah, there were few like that but most..95% of them were really great people, yeah 

Phil:       Help each other 

Drew & Ritsi:     Yeah 

Drew:    and everywhere we went, it was the same camaraderie 

Ritsi :     Truly 

Drew:    So 

Phil:       That's great, that actually goes right into the next question I was gonna ask, what would you say one of your most memorable experiences in the barbecue competitions would be 

Ritsi:      it, it was the first one coz you know we were nervous, we…we…we've done…at that point…we have been doing our catering, you know it was our hometown, friends and family but here we are going up with the unknown you know, and here we are people that have been known on tv or what have you and of course, our first competition and here we are the people of barbecue pit master and..and guess what the spot that they gave us was exactly in front of where they were filming barbecue pit masters we were here, our RV was here and there was Barbecue Pit Masters so they could see us and we actually the many of the shots right? 

Phil:       Really? 

Ritsi:      And, they were just, they…they…they took a lot of breaks, they were watching us and for them to just come over and help us you know so I met our favorite Tuffy Stone you know, Myron Mixon and it was like wow, that is so sweet you know…a really down home guys...such like real people you know and for them to help out that was so memorable fo us really. that was really sweet. so yeah that was really nice 

Phil:       Ah uhm, what would…what's some advice that you would give that wanna get involve with the barbecue scene 

Drew:    Don't do it for the money. This is not about the money. If you love to do it, you love to cook and you have ah love what you present to people do that because the first thing you complain is how much you're spending in each contest and what you're doing and if that's ...somebody told me and it's kinda true, if you worry about how much you're spending on a contest, then it's not for you and I I said the first night cooking overnight it felt like I was cooking in my backyard and I got hooked from that day 

Ritsi:      Yeah 

Drew:    We gotta go to the next contest, we gotta go to the next contest…so but it's not about you know you want the prestige you want people to know that you got the best barbecue but if you don't win you know…alright as we call it it's not a negative, it's a positive alright we know what we got work off for the next contest, we go to the next contest 

Ritsi:      Yeah, truly. Do it for the love of it, really. Really, I mean you know like, like my husband said uhm we do spend the money you know entrance fees and all that good stuff but you know what you really have to love barbecue in order to enter the competitions and stuff like that you know, don't just go out always looking you know the big bucks all the time i mean each competition that we go to there's something new that we learn you know and and we don't go I mean just because oh I'm just gonna win it...I'm better than always go with an open mind you know there is something one other thing you might learn always, always do your homework, always do your homework coz there's always something that you could learn from know truly but always go for the love of it coz that's really what it's all about 

Drew:    And the main thing is practice, practice, practice 

Ritsi:      Practice, practice,practice 

Drew:    What we practice with my father 

Ritsi:      And we have many guinea pigs many, many willing guinea pigs hahahaha 

Phil:      Alright, that's some great advice uhm I guess this is the last question that I have, what are some of your future plans for uhm Ritsi Drew Caters 4 U, for 2014? 

Drew:    Glad you asked that question uhm we did enter for as far as the bbq contest, we enter the Troy Pig out in July so we'll be there, competing, we're making plans to try to go to the Hudson Valley Ribfest, as far as Ritsi Drew Caters 4 U ahh we do have a catering, a catering uhm catering assignment, not event happening at about two weeks from now 

Ritsi:      Ahuh Drew:    And we're actually trying to look for a Brick and Mortar place so…during our last contest where we joined the people's choice a lot of people wanna know where's our restaurant, where we have our food so we're…we're in the process of looking for a 

Ritsi:      Location 

Drew:    Location right now so and hopefully by the end of this year or the beginning of next year…Ritsi Drew Caters 4 U will be a brick and mortar 

Ritsi:      Yup 

Drew:    You know 

Ritsi:      They talked us into it hahaha 

Phil:       That sounds like some big plans well…thank you for a letting me get to know a little about you guys and ahh good luck with everything this upcoming year uhm 

Ritsi:      Thank you so much 

Phil:       Is there any one you would like to give a shoutout to? 

Ritsi:      Oh my goodness,  All our fans…you know definitely 

Drew:    Yeah 

Ritsi:      We have many Ritsinistas hahahaha 

Phil:       I'm sure you do 

Drew:    Yeah we do have the face…Facebook page RITSI DREW CATERS 4 U and Ritsi Drew BBQ and uhm like to say uhm all our friends, our family, our supporters thank you so much 

Ritsi:      Thank you so much….and thank you so much for giving us this opportunity

 Phil:       Absolutely 

Ritsi:      We appreciate that…good luck to you too 

Phil:       Thank you uhm, I'll let you guys know when I have this posted online you guys can check it out and share with your friends 

Ritsi:      Thank you so much 

Drew:    Thank you so much Phil 

Ritsi:      Take care 

Phil:       No problem, you guys have a good day 

Ritsi:      Alright, you too…bye bye

For more information, you can check out Ritsi Drew on the web at 

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