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Wins World Series of BBQ sauce title
baconfest sauce copy
Rob Ryan of Manteca-based Robs Smokin Rub holds up the trophy at the 2017 American Royal World Series of Barbecue contest in Kansas City while his wife Whitney looks on.

Rob Ryan will have a leg-up on his fellow backyard grillers the next time he has people over to taste his home cooking.
They’ll be eating the “best sauce on the planet.”
The Manteca resident recently traveled back to the American Royal World Series of Barbecue Sauce Contest in Kansas City, Missouri – the largest and most prestigious barbecue competition in the world – to find out how the trio of sauces he entered earlier this year fared up against 606 other entries coming in from 39 different states and 13 countries.
He finished first, third and ninth respectively – the first time in the history of the competition that somebody has had their sauce entries in two of the top three places – and the weighted score blew away the competition to give him his first ever world title in something that he only began tinkering with about five years ago.
“I finished in second last year and hoped that I would have a better finish this year but didn’t think I would get the kind of scores that I did,” said Ryan – an HVAC repairman who manages a Stockton office and grills on the weekends. “I’m waiting for the trophy to be delivered to me tomorrow – it was too big to take on the plane – so I can have it at my booth this weekend at Baconfest.
“I’m proud of that title, and it’s one of the biggest honors in the world of barbecue.”
While Ryan says he has always known his way around a barbecue, Ryan said that it was the cost of shipping his favorite rubs to his house from Kansas City that prompted him to start looking into coming up with own recipe – paying $20 in shipping on an $20 item. He began pouring his free time into making the best sauces and rubs that he could.
In a matter of months and with the help of internet research he had come up with six different rub mixtures and three distinct sauces that have come to comprise his Rob’s Smokin’ Rub line that is carried in 35 different independent stores throughout Northern California.
Missing out on the trophy last year by a fraction of a percent, he said, motivated him to stick with the hobby. After his recent trip down South he’s more than happy that he did.
And the offers are just rolling in.
“I definitely want to be something that I can get distribution for, and being back there at the American Royal I was able to rub elbows with lots of industry people and I have a few offers that will help me get this into more stores,” Ryan said. “I’m set to meet with a couple of distributors back East to see what we can do, and it’s exciting knowing that something you’ve invested your time and money into is being received like that.”
He also owes a tremendous amount of thanks to his wife Whitney – a kindergarten teacher at Stella Brockman Elementary School – for pushing him to create a milder version of his sauce that didn’t impact her sensitivity to pepper. That sauce, as part of the three that he entered, helped push him back some of the biggest names in the business and onto the winner’s podium.
Rob’s Frog Sauce – a vinegar based barbecue sauce – finished first in the vinegar category, and the placement of the other two entries designated Frog Sauce as “The Best Sauce on the Planet” and is prominently displayed on the American Royal website.
Ryan, who has his sauces and rubs available for purchase at Denise’s Farmers Market in Lathrop and Ripon, will have a booth this weekend at Baconfest 2017. He will once again be sharing his creations with residents of Manteca next month at the Sunrise Kiwanis Pumpkin Fair.
For more information about his products visit
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544