Next Up: Ricky D’s Weed BBQ Sauce

Markeshia Ricks Photos

The move to legalize marijuana in Connecticut has a New Haven entrepreneur eyeing his next move: Marketing a homegrown marijuana-infused barbecue sauce. And becoming “the Heinz ketchup of the cannabis industry.”

The entrepreneur, Ricky Evans, is already known for his barbecue and his sauce. He owns Ricky D’s Rib Shack and he was spotted at the state Capitol last week looking to convince lawmakers to legalize recreational use of marijuana this year — so he can start selling a new version of his patented sauce that will get fans of his ribs buzzing even more than they do now.

Five years ago, he was selling his popular barbecue from a food truck. Now he has a restaurant on Winchester Avenue and is selling his own line of Kansa-Lina barbecue sauce and dry rub in local grocers like Elm City Market in New Haven, T & J IGA Supermarket in East Haven and at The Spice Mill in Manchester and on Amazon, where you can get his Rib Shack starter kit.

But the idea to create an infused sauce as another means for diversifying the business came about during a lull in dishing out his signature brisket, pulled pork, and ribs last fall. Rising meat prices and other competitive pressures are requiring him to think of new product lines to stay in business.

“My brother and I do a lot of brainstorming,” he said. “And I was like ‘Yo, what if we had marijuana-infused barbecue sauce?’”

The idea hit him like lightning. Evans has a medical marijuana card. He was aware that there are all kinds of ways to consume marijuana. For those who prefer not to smoke, there are tinctures, vapes, and edibles.

“I’ve been in a few dispensaries. They have cookies. They have brownies,” he said. “They don’t have sauces. How come my sauce can’t be the first?”

Because he manufactures and distributes his own brand of barbecue sauce, Evans has some experience with that end of the business. But to move into Connecticut’s budding cannabis industry he was going to need some help.

Luckily, his brother remembered a business card that someone had left at the restaurant.

That card was from Kebra Smith Bolden, of Women Grow Connecticut and Cannabis Consultants of Connecticut. Evans gave her a call.

Before that phone call, Evans said, he had no clue what it meant to infuse his sauce with marijuana.

Smith Bolden, who was up at the Capitol at the start of the legislative session last week with Evans and other advocates, recently told the Hartford Courant, that she believes legalization in Connecticut to be inevitable given the paths of Massachusetts and New Jersey and the overwhelming support for such a move in the state.

Through Smith Bolden, Evans participated in meetings and classes where he learned about the different components of marijuana. He learned that he would not just chop or grind up weed and add it to his sauce — at least not yet. But that he could add CBD, a compound found in marijuana that is legal to sell on its own in most cases, as an extract.

“It doesn’t get you high, and it can be used for medicinal uses,” he said. Evans said his understanding is that selling a sauce with CBD extract would be perfectly legal in the state.

With the state legislature gearing up again to consider legalizing recreation use of marijuana, Evans sees greater opportunity for his business. If legalization passes, he would infuse his sauce with marijuana, which would have THC, the compound in cannabis that actually makes you high

Evans’ regular, marijuana-free barbecue sauce retails for about $8 for a 16-ounce bottle. His marijuana-infused sauce, which he is calling Canna-Lina, would retail for about $40 a bottle. He said he already has interest coming out of Massachusetts where the recreational use of marijuana is now legal.

3.0: Pot Mayo?

Eventually, Evans said, he might add infused ketchups, mustards and mayonnaise. While Evans currently makes and bottles the Canna-Lina sauce himself, his regular sauce is made and packaged with Onofrio’s Ultimate Foods here in New Haven. He also works with a local printer to provide his labels. He would seek to source the cannabis for his sauce from a homegrown cultivator who could help him pick a strain that best compliments his recipe.

“It might be funny, but I could be the Heinz ketchup of the cannabis industry,” he said. “Why use this sauce? They could just have somebody make their own sauce; they don’t have to use me. My argument is: I have a sauce that is tested every day. People enjoy the food and the product I have. I say that humbly. I’m still a small business. These gaps here of no customer coming. My expenses tab is still running.”

“As a small business, as an entrepreneur, I’m always looking for innovative ways to drive business so I can keep the lights and gas on,” he added.

Last week Evans joined Smith Bolden up at the state Capitol for the opening day of the new state legislative session, when legalization is again on the agenda. He said it was his first time making such a trip, but it won’t be his last this session.

“I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do keep my business going,” he said.

Paul Bass Photo

Tags: , , , ,

Post a Comment

Commenting has closed for this entry

Comments

posted by: Noteworthy on February 16, 2018  8:17pm

Lol. Get stoned. Eat more bbq.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 16, 2018  10:17pm

The move to legalize marijuana in Connecticut

Just another subsidy to the real drug pushers.

Alcohol is bad enough.Now you want to legalize marijuana.Look at how frontiersmen deliberately pressed alcohol upon Native American’s and then took there land.In fact just like check cashing, liquor stores, fast food restaurants and pawnshops.in the Hoods and the El Barrios.You will see marijuana dispensaries poping up.

“It doesn’t get you high, and it can be used for medicinal uses,” he said. Evans said his understanding is that selling a sauce with CBD extract would be perfectly legal in the state.

But there are Natural herbal alternatives better then marijuana.

I been taking natural herbal alternatives for over 30 years.I also follow Dr. Llaila Afrika Reverend Phil Valentine Kanya Vashon McGhee and medicinal herbalist Michael Moore .

Again Snake-Oil and Three Card Monte being sold.Wake up.

posted by: Elmdog on February 17, 2018  11:26am

I’m just wondering how you’re supposed to ingest this without losing a bunch of thc or cbd to heat. It’s it meant to be used as a dipping sauce or to be poured on after? Do you take shots of it? For $40 a bottle that you would probably cover one small barbecue this seems like more of a “pipe” dream than anything else. I like the direction things are going, but it seems to me like everyone’s just trying to figure out a way to make a buck off the industry rather than figuring out how to make Marijuana more accessible as a medicine. I’d like to see people advocating for insurance covering medical Marijuana, or dispensaries doing give aways for patients who can’t afford the cost of the card and the product. Medical and legal Marijuana are still not very accessible if you’re sick and poor. Let’s see some articles on how we can change that.

posted by: flash_demo on February 17, 2018  6:49pm

Mmmmmm!!  Sounds delish!  What forward thinking chefs.

posted by: John Bodnar on February 18, 2018  4:20pm

Great Idea !!!

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 18, 2018  5:35pm

posted by: John Bodnar on February 18, 2018 3:20pm
Great Idea !!!

How is this a great Idea?

posted by: John Bodnar on February 18, 2018  6:36pm

3/5 ‘s on many levels. 1.Colorado and other states sell cookies and other food item’s with cannabis in it.
They want to produce a product so they went to Hartford and informed the decision makers.
Their existing restaurant has received more publicity. Since they have a ramp to their restaurant,I plan on visiting them this week with my wheelchair.
Too many establishments in New Haven County are not accessible for the disabled.
Why because of greedy uncaring landlords.

posted by: Elmer Shady on February 18, 2018  9:21pm

Noteworthy,

It is always most prudent to get stoned ahead of time…...this is an unproven product!!!

posted by: John Bodnar on February 19, 2018  1:39am

E S
Medical marijuana has helped thousands.

posted by: Stylo on February 19, 2018  11:32am

Wow @THREEFIFTHS, you really do hate EVERYTHING, huh? Even weed. Must be exhausting.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 19, 2018  12:50pm

posted by: Stylo on February 19, 2018 10:32am
Wow @THREEFIFTHS, you really do hate EVERYTHING, huh? Even weed. Must be exhausting.

You need to read what I wrote.

Just another subsidy to the real drug pushers.

Alcohol is bad enough.Now you want to legalize marijuana.Look at how frontiersmen deliberately pressed alcohol upon Native American’s and then took there land.In fact just like check cashing, liquor stores, fast food restaurants and pawnshops.in the Hoods and the El Barrios.You will see marijuana dispensaries poping up.

“It doesn’t get you high, and it can be used for medicinal uses,” he said. Evans said his understanding is that selling a sauce with CBD extract would be perfectly legal in the state.

But there are Natural herbal alternatives better then marijuana.

I been taking natural herbal alternatives for over 30 years.I also follow Dr. Llaila Afrika Reverend Phil Valentine Kanya Vashon McGhee and medicinal herbalist Michael Moore .

Again Snake-Oil and Three Card Monte being sold.Wake up.

I hate this.
“I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do keep my business going,” he said
In fact Elmdog said it well.but it seems to me like everyone’s just trying to figure out a way to make a buck off the industry rather than figuring out how to make Marijuana more accessible as a medicine.

I do not smoke anything.I do not drink Alcohol,Anything you smoke l affects your lungs and airways.

Evans’ regular, marijuana-free barbecue sauce retails for about $8 for a 16-ounce bottle. His marijuana-infused sauce, which he is calling Canna-Lina, would retail for about $40 a bottle. He said he already has interest coming out of Massachusetts where the recreational use of marijuana is now legal.

How is he going to get around the FDA if he trys to sell this marijuana-infused sauce.

I follow the wisdom of Prof-I rasta.

Prof-I Rasta elder explaining why he does not smoke marijuana

https://youtu.be/3UftuJpTLLw

posted by: John Bodnar on February 19, 2018  3:52pm

3/5
Medicinal herbalist Michael Moore has time to make movies too?

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 19, 2018  4:40pm

posted by: John Bodnar on February 19, 2018 2:52pm
3/5
Medicinal herbalist Michael Moore has time to make movies too?

Not the same Michael Moore.His brother was the late Dr. John E. Moore.

http://naturalusa.com/ads/TreeofLifeArticles/Dr._Moore_Memorial_Service.html

posted by: John Bodnar on February 19, 2018  5:13pm

3/5’s
I knew that.
I thought I would put a little humor
out there.

posted by: Elmer Shady on February 20, 2018  1:54am

Bottom Line, John Bodnar—here’s the real buzz….

Weed is a crappy ingredient…. the flavor adds nothing to ‘cuisine’—go get your medicine, or go get high….I am in favor of both….

Just keep it out of my food….

posted by: John Bodnar on February 20, 2018  10:03am

Elmer Shady
I like your balanced approach.

posted by: Excit3d on February 20, 2018  7:18pm

Marijuana is safer than alcohol. We need to stop wasting police resources on prosecuting harmless pot users. Legalize it!

posted by: John Bodnar on February 20, 2018  9:58pm

Excit3d

I agree with you.Now can we get back to talking about the fantastic sauce at a GREAT BBQ place?

posted by: Elmer Shady on February 21, 2018  2:40am

Do not misconstrue any of my comments as being ‘anti-bbq’..... 
There should maybe be ‘pre-smoke’, and ‘post smoke’ just to make sure the ribs are right!