AVON — Viewers of Shark Tank will learn tonight whether Al “Bubba” Baker cleaned up with his no-mess recipe for boneless baby back ribs.
The former Cleveland Brown and owner of Bubba’s Q Bar-B-Q & Catering, 820 Center Road, is a contestant on the show in which entrepreneurs compete for financial backing. The sharks are the show’s panel of judges, which includes real estate businesswoman Barbara Corcoran, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and inventor Lori Greiner.
Baker in 2006 patented a recipe for removing the bones from baby back ribs, leaving the meat intact, according to Baker’s daughter, Brittani Baker. Baker said her father was inspired by her mother, Sabrina Baker, who didn’t like eating ribs because of the mess.
“You can eat ribs with a knife and a fork and not have to worry about getting messy,” she said. “It has all the same great flavor as if the bones were in it, it’s just that you don’t have to deal with the bones.”
Baker, a defensive end and 1978 defensive rookie of the year with the Detroit Lions, was a three-time Pro Bowler. He finished his career in 1990 with the Browns and settled in the area. He opened the restaurant and catering business in 2006.
Brittani, a managing partner in the business, said they won out over 35,000 applicants for the right to compete on the show, which airs at 9 p.m. on ABC. Baker said she and her father made their presentation in Los Angeles in September. A confidentiality agreement forbids them from revealing the winner before the show airs.
Baker said the approximately two-minute pitch was nerve-wracking, and her father said he felt more pressure than when he was in the NFL.
“It’s a very intense process,” she said.
If the Bakers win, Baker said the investment will allow the recipe to be marketed around the nation and world.
“We just want to get the word out there,” she said.