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MAN OF THE YEAR  BIOGRAPHY

Quote: "responsible makes a man."- Derrick McCray  

Derrick's favorite quote: "the journey of a 1000 mile begins with a single step."

 

 

Derrick McCray, owner of McCray's Backyard BBQ is the oldest son of the late Reverence Herman and Lillian McCray, founder of the original McCray’s Barbecue which opened in 1977. As a teenager Derrick helped his dad with the business. He chopped meat; he cooked, washed dishes and took out the garbage. Derrick did not like the business chores and vowed that he would never have a barbecue business, which is why he went to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.

He graduated from Palm Beach Gardens High School where he was an honor roll student and excelled in football. After graduating high school he went to Florida A&M University where he played football. He was smaller than the other guys in the position on the team, but he was fast, zipping past some the big guys, avoiding tackles and earned the nickname “Flea.” He caught the attention of a scout for a professional football franchise in Dallas, Texas, where he stayed briefly. 

After leaving Dallas, Texas, Derrick went to Los Angeles and worked professionally in the entertainment industry. He produced a successful television show, which was a format for teenagers and young adults to discuss current issues in a group setting. The show was a hit and networks copied the show format and similar shows could be seen on BET and MTV. During Derrick’s tenure in Los Angeles he worked with Dick Clark, Suzanne DePasse, Boyz II Men, The American Music Awards, Berry Gordy and others in the entertainment industry. 

Derrick left Los Angeles and returned to Riviera Beach and began working with teenagers and young adults through the City of Riviera Beach Recreation Department and Boys and Girls Club.  On weekends he set up a grill outside of a nightclub and sold ribs. With permission from his father he used the same original McCray’s Barbecue secret recipe for the world famous ribs. He was so successful with his weekend gig he was able to save enough money to open a business. On July 4, 2006, McCray’s Backyard BBQ was officially born. He started McCray’s Backyard BBQ with one grill and a loan of $100 from his mother. Today the business has 8 custom made grills in addition to a custom made semi-trailer equipped with custom grills. 

Derrick has made numerous accomplishments personally and through his business. In 2010 Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame Larry Little agreed to become McCray’s Backyard BBQ official spokesperson and invited Derrick McCray to participate in the annual Larry Little Celebrity Golf Tournament.  McCray’s Backyard BBQ set up on the 9th hole and provided fresh sandwiches, chips and drinks to the golfers.

By far, the biggest event that Derrick has participated in is the Super Bowl Tailgate Party and other official NFL Super Bowl events. McCray’s BBQ recruited the largest number of volunteers in South Florida for Super Bowl XLI (2007) and Super Bowl XLIV (2010). 

Hard work and preparation will always pay off. In 2010 at Super Bowl XLI in Miami, McCray’s Backyard BBQ was given the opportunity to showcase barbecue spareribs topped with ‘Twist’ sauce and delicious homemade side dishes to NFL players and celebrities attending the Player Network Exhibition (PNE) during Super Bowl Week. In 2011 McCray’s Backyard BBQ was invited to take baby back ribs to Super Bowl XLV in Dallas to participate in the PNE and to Arizona at the Super Bowl XLVI in 2012.

Derrick’s business was voted the number one vendor at Super Bowl XLI (2007) and Super Bowl XLIV (2010), XLV (2011) and XLVI (2012) and every year since then. McCray’s Backyard BBQ was voted the favorite among the vendors, serving baby back ribs and beef brisket with McCray’s signature barbecue sauces including the world famous ‘Twist’ sauce.  The South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee invited McCray’s Backyard BBQ to cater to volunteers who participated in Super Bowl XLI and XLIV in Miami. McCray’s Backyard BBQ served over 14,000 volunteers during these events.

Derrick was a major sponsor for the NFL vs. NBA celebrity bowl a thon for the Abe Elam annual event Team Elam. McCray’s Backyard BBQ also participated as a vendor during the Team Elam free football clinic at the Dan Calloway complex in Riviera Beach, FL.

Most recently Derrick was cast as lead judge on the Discovery Channel television show Holy Smokers that aired in 2014.

Derrick has been recognized for numerous accomplishments some of which include:

  • Member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity

  • Featured on the FOX Business Network for his business accomplishments

  • Chamber of Commerce Palm Beach County Small Business of the Year Finalist

  • 100 Most Influential Black Business Owners in Success South Florida Magazine

  • Voted #1 Vender at Super Bowl XLI, XLIV, XLV, XLVI

  • Voted #1 at the NFL Players Networking Experience 2011, 2012, 2013

  • Established the McCray’s Backyard BBQ annual book bag and school supplies give away

  • Honored by the Palm Beach County League of Black Educators

  • Winner of the 2009 and 2010 WIRK Rib Roundup for best ribs overall 

  • Supporter of the Palm Beach Mariners Semi-Pro Football Team

  • Featured at Roger Dean Stadium for world series winners Miami Marlins vs. St. Louis Cardinals baseball game

  • Selected to showcase McCray’s Backyard BBQ world famous ribs at Sam’s Club

  • Recognized by the City of Riviera Beach for Super Bowl participation by Councilman Shelby Lowe

  • Founding member of Black Votes Matter

  • Organized non-violent protests post the Corey Jones Killing in Palm Beach Garden

Of all these very prestigious accolades, Derrick is most proud of the work he has done with Youth Recreation Association in Rivera Beach Florida. Youth Recreation Association was  in established in 1965 and continues to serve 51 years later.. Derrick has served as president for the last 3 years. Under his leadership, they have had, and continues to have the following successes: 

  • Sponsored  the FAMU Choir in 2015

  • Gives over $81,000 in scholarships to deserving youth yearly. 

  • Has given over $250,000 in his tenure as president

  • Sponsors Youth Basketball camps throughout Palm Beach County

  • Sponsors "sound mind and sound body football camp" that serves over 6,000 students each year, nationally

  • Partners with the Larry Little foundation yearly to serve students in the Tri-County area. 

  • Personally he has provided full scholarships for 6 students suffering financial hardship.