CJ Baerman was donned the BBQ Mad Man by colleagues because of his off the wall creations and specials in the kitchen. Everything from Smoked Scotch Eggs, Fried Bologna sando with Smoked Strawberry Jam (trust me, this works) and a mile high sandwich he calls “The WarFace”. Friends and customers alike, grew to look for new items all the time.
Growing up in an Italian household, food ruled everything. So I have always been in the kitchen. I was 12 I think and went to a BBQ with my family. It was terrible. I looked at my dad and said, “I can do better than that”. So the challenge was on. Blew up the propane grill the first time trying to use it. So, the Weber Kettle quickly became my friend. Lots of bad ideas and tons
of ruined meat later, I decided that I wanted to work with food. At 18 I became a butcher
apprentice and worked part time at random restaurants on the side.
Fast Forward 15 years, now as the GM and pitmaster of an appreciating BBQ restaurant,
I found my professional stride. Starting to do competitions and vending, I wanted something
special to set me apart. And this is how House Rub was born, soon leading to my very well-known Famous Dry Rub. SouthSide Sweet was a huge challenge to me, freaking ground
mustard of all things gave me fits with this formula. 40 or so tries later, I nailed it. The other
products came over time.
My tenure at a large and popular St Louis sports bar, Paddy Os, is why I launched BBQ Mad Man Sauces & Rubs. Sitting at the SouthSide of Busch Stadium, with such a huge exposure of my BBQ and persona, was a catapult for me. People kept asking to buy sauces & rubs that I used on the menu. All I could do was fill a cup and a lid, and people going into a baseball game weren’t wanting to do that. So I took the opportunity to capitalize, and hired a co-packer to start bottling my formulas. So, slanging sauce out of the back of my trunk to as many local meat markets and
grocery stores was my new hobby. Restaurant sales went well, and I ended up with 6 products
total. Having a clean label and real ingredients means a lot to me, and my client base. So almost to year 4 now, I have close to 150 stores and 2 distributors in different territories. I still fulfill the local stores and markets myself, and have grown a network on social media and multiple ambassador rolls. While still cooking 7 days a week, either at work or in the backyard, trying new techniques and rubs/ sauces keeps things interesting. I still compete a little, but mostly vend and do fundraising events.
BBQ is a lifestyle, a passion, and a career for me. This is what my days, nights, and weekends revolve around. The smell of the smoke, tasting and testing, the #bbqfamily, and being able to help people whenever possible. Here’s to the last 29 years I’ve loved this art and to many, many more ahead. Salute.
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