August 07, 2018

 

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Scott (00:27):

Hello my way of lifers, how are you? Appreciate you checking out the podcast. Today we had the pleasure to spend some time with Croix valley foods. I would like to personally thank Damon and Lu for taking a little bit of time and telling us their story. We talked about work ethic, confidence, and the grind it takes to get where you want to be. If you like the big frig my way of life podcasts; it would be really cool if you gave us a review at iTunes. Let’s start off with your background. Where were you born and raised?

Lu (00:58):
I am born and bred here in Wisconsin. I’m a Wisconsin girl through and through

Scott (01:04):
Damon, How about yourself?

Damon (01:05):
Well, I uh, I grew up just outside of the twin cities in the, in the suburbs of Minneapolis in northern Wisconsin for a time and open up a restaurant with my parents. I kind of moved back to the area. So now I’m, I’m still living right along the banks of [inaudible 01:20] but I’m moving back in Northwood Wisconsin now.

Scott (01:24):
What is Croix Valley Foods?

Lu: (01:29)
(laughs) Croix valley foods, the all-encompassing presence in our life.

Damon (01:36):
Yes, It really is. Is more than just a company. It really is our way of life. I mean, no pun intended with the…with the Hash tag and what not. But I mean really this is a, you know, we, we started out as a, as a company, we manufacture barbecue sauces and Marinades, dry rubs and seasonings and bloody Mary products. But I’m Croix Valley is also, you know, it’s our brand and is our lifestyle. We’re, we’re competition cooks and we traveled around the country under that Croix Valley name and we compete in, in barbecue competitions, [steak competition] bulger competition, [inaudible 02:03] club, world food championships. It’s all related to cooking and being outdoors and you know, doing the, doing a lot around the grill. So that’s, you know, there’s, there’s a lot more to it than just selling a couple of sauces or, or even signing up for a [inaudible 02:24] competition. I mean this is what we do day in and day out.

Lu (01:36):
Yes no days off. [No days off] [Laughs]

Scott (02:33):
So Lou, before you jumped into Croix Valley, what did you do in your previous life? What career were you a… were you involved with?

Lu (02:43):
I Legal in my previous life, if you can believe that, which, you know, helps with the organization and everything with the business, but it just wasn’t fun and I wasn’t passionate about it and it was, it, it just didn’t make me happy and I knew I wanted to do something that made me happy and that’s Croix valley That’s why there’s no days off because this is what we, not only what our work is but what our fun is too. So yeah, it’s much better than being in paralegal.

Scott (03:11):
Damon, Did you mention that you worked in a restaurant that your parents opened? Is that what you did before?

Damon (03:17):
Yeah, back in, back in 96, I believe it was. My parents and I, we opened a steak house in northern Wisconsin and I worked with my folks there for about five years and then I moved back towards the twin cities and I was in the restaurant industry for about 15 years, managing a couple of different restaurants in Minneapolis and St Paul. And so I’ve been, you know, I’ve been in the restaurant industry for a number of years, but uh, there was a time at which I just decided that I didn’t want to do it any longer and turned my attention to this. So, I mean, it’s really, you know, there’s, there’s a heck of a story here and I’m always happy to share it. [Laughs]

Scott (03:58):
Tell us about the story.

Damon (04:00):
Okay, well, here’s, here’s the, here’s the deal. Okay. [Damon knew this because he’s really, really good [inaudible 04: 01]. What do you jump in? [Okay, my commentary] Okay. So, so Lu and I, we, we met when I was 15 and Lu was 14 and we dated when we were in high school. We were together for three or four years and just after high school we were actually engaged to be married. Um, we, we decided that, uh, you know, we’re going to go to school and we both went to different schools. We both just kind of went in different directions. And long story short there we, we[inaudible 04:37] and I got married and I had three children.

Lu (04:44):
And I got married and had three children

Damon (04:46):
And 15 or so years ago was by and we both find ourselves going through a divorce at the same time. And uh, and I reached out to, to try and find Lu and lo and behold, you know, 15 years goes by never heard from her, I had no idea where she was, didn’t know she was single or married or what have you. But I, but I had a dream actually one night that led me to find her, which was really cool. And we got together and it was just like old times and we decided that we, uh, you know, spent enough time apart learning life lessons and whatnot. And we got married and blended our families and we brought six children altogether in one house. And…

Lu (04:46):
That was super fun.

Damon (05:31):
It was three boys and three girls that was, we were the real Brady bunch and uh, it was a pretty, it was pretty intense for a while, [Laugh] not that much but now then now they’re getting older and the other half of them have flown the coop, so it’s pretty cool. Um, so, so when Lu and I first get back together, we’re sitting down to have some steak and I said, no, I can’t, I can’t eat steak without the steak sauce that I used to make and my parents, like I mentioned before, we had a steak house in northern Wisconsin and I developed the steak sauce that we used with every one of our meals. You know, what, with all the steak burgers, chicken duck pork, and people just loved it. People absolutely love this sauce. We would, uh; you know they’d always ask us if we bottle it or sell it or whatever. And I hadn’t made it personally for a long time. My parents were still running the restaurant at the time, so I called my dad and I said how do you make that steak sauce again?
So he gives me the recipe and I whip up a little batch of steaks off when I sit down to have dinner and I’m eating the sauce and I have to back up for a second here because Lu and I are newly together and we weren’t even married at that time. [No] We weren’t even married at that time. And um, but we’re, you know, we’re, we’re back together again. And in the interim, after going through a divorce, I had already left my job. I was technically unemployed, but not really because I was all, I’m also a musician and an artist and I was doing all these gigs playing music and painting and all this other sort of stuff. But I wasn’t working for anyone. I didn’t have a regular paycheck. So I’m thinking to myself, you know, I really need to kind of find my calling, I got to figure out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. And it was that moment sitting down for dinner when that steak sauce hit my lips again and I tasted it, which I hadn’t for a very long time. And I looked at Lu and I said, I mean, it was just a light bulb moment. I looked at her and I said I know what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. And she says, what’s that? I said I’m going to make steak sauce. So…

Lu (07:36):
I thought he was absolutely out of his mind.

Damon (07:38):
Yeah, Lu thinks am nut. [Out of his mind] She thinks I’m crazy. What do you mean you’re going to make steak sauce? So I, you know, relay the story of how everyone liked the stuff and I just put my nose to the grindstone and I went to… I got some certification and licensing that I needed in order to properly produce food products for the market. And about four months later Croix Valley was born and I was on the market with that original steak sauce, which is still our flagship product and also a hot and spicy and a garlic and herb version of the sauce that I brought to market. And that was, that was 9…

Lu (07:38):
2009

Damon (08:16):
2009. So nine years ago is when that happens. And uh, here we are today with a 10,000 square foot factory and 21 different products that we produce and they’re all like international award winners. So, you know, this little idea of having, bringing some steaks sauce to the market has really built this, this, a pretty substantial food company that, that we’re still growing every day.

Scott (08:39):
what are some challenges that you face, you know, going through this part that people might not expect?

Damon (08:45):
Well, I think, you know, the first thing was that when we first started out, you know, I, I, part of what I do today is in addition to producing my food products, I produce a lot of other people’s as well. I’m a co packer. You’ve got a recipe for grandma’s spaghetti sauce and you want to bring it to market I helped do that. Hundreds of people come my way every year that have this great idea and they have a food product they want to bring to market. They think it’s all going to be you know really easy and let’s go to a co packer and have this product made and all of a sudden I’ll make it. Then we can sell it all the stores and we’ll all become millionaires. Then…

Lu (08:45):
That is not how it works.

Scott (08:45):
Not at all.

Damon (09:30):
No, not at all. And we realized, you know, by trial and error, we realized, you know, by actually doing the work ourselves, what it takes to be successful in this business. And you know, when you talk about hurdles and pitfalls, I’ll tell you, I mean, it’s not easy and you have got to put all of your time and effort behind a venture like this in order to make it successful because, you know, I make them barbecue sauce and what is good and why I love the sauce is let’s face it, you know, there are hundreds, if not thousands of good barbecue sauce on the market. See, there’s got to be something that sets you apart and something that you do differently. And with Lu and I living this lifestyle [inaudible 10:14] Well this is not just a hobby, we’re not just selling at farmer’s markets.
We’re not just selling to family and friends and we live and breathe this every day of our lives. Um, and it takes that time and effort just to really be, you know, to really make something out of it. You cannot expect the the…you know the skies to open up and everyone’s going to want your product and you’re going to be successful because I see tons of people come through my doors all the time and I try and give him my best advice about putting their you know best foot forward and giving it, giving it their all. And I see a lot of them unfortunately fail because, you know, they just don’t have the wherewithal to do it. They don’t have the time, they don’t have the effort, the money that it takes, whatever it happens to be. I mean, you really have to be behind this 100 percent in order to do it can. I think that’s, you know, a lot of people don’t understand.

Lu (11:09):
When we started Croix Valley in 2009, I was working full time as a paralegal. Fortunately making enough money to support our entire family So then, well, Damon’s working Croix Valley full time, every penny was going right back into it and that was solid for the first four years of the business before the business actually became profitable enough to completely support us and I could walk away from the legal field. It was a lot of work.

Scott (11:35):
Yeah. That’s going to spin off to two other questions. Um, first one, if you could give someone a one sentence pitch of you know advice

Lu (11:35):
Work constantly.

Damon (11:47):
Honestly, if I was, if I was going to tell someone my… my best advice as to what it takes to make it in the food business. Like this is a never, I would say I would say number one, you never give up. And secondly you have got to work at day in and day out and uh, and don’t expect, don’t expect the doors to open without putting in the effort. But I can tell you, you know, I have knocked on a million doors, you know, just, I mean literally like grocery stores and meat and things like that. When I started saying, Hey, here’s who I am, that’s my story. we you give, uh, give us a chance, put put the product on the shelf, there have been so many places that, that we have gotten our products into, um, you know, that have had it for nine years because we’ve built the relationships with those, with those stores and with those customers so that they keep coming back. But there are a number of them that said, nope, not interested. You’re too small, you’re not big enough. We don’t have shelf space for you. And uh, you know, six, seven years later they come knocking on my door and say, hey, can we put your product in the store now? You know, so it just perseverance what it takes.

Scott (12:59):
No, it’s not a bad thing because you’re going to be told no a lot.

Damon (13:02):
Yeah. I, you know, I agree. And I think that’s true in any industry and especially if you want to be an entrepreneur, um, you know, or, or an artist. I mean, my Gosh, because I’ve kind of lived that life as well, you know, if you don’t believe in what you’re doing then you should probably be doing something different. I think that’s the bottom line. You’ve got to believe in what you’re doing and you know, learn, learn from mistakes and take the no and turn them into positives down the road because that’s how, that’s how you get forward. Boy, if I took every, every rejection and every no to heart, I’d be doing something completely different today [Laughs] because I wouldn’t have the stomach for it.

Scott (13:45):
How do you know when you’ve done things right

Damon (13:45):
When there’s money in the bank account,

Scott (13:50):
[Laughs] right?

Damon (13:50):
I mean, you know, that’s, that’s part of it. But I think, I think the bigger thing is, you know, I like to consider I mean we’re not, we’re not, you know, multimillionaires here with this business. This is so mom and pop operation. Lu and I,[inaudible14:01] our family is involved, you know, we’ve got other employees and whatnot, but I mean, you know, we’re not, we’re not you know ready to sell out to Kraft or general mills or something here. Meaning we’re small. We’re a small outfit, but I think that we’re extremely successful and one of those measures of success, and this is what I tell people all the time, is that we are doing what we want to do and, and I think that’s what makes us a success. And when I…when I know that I’ve done something right, you know, I can come into work and I can work Monday through Thursday and I can take off and go to, you know, [steak Competition] I could go to a steak competition…

Lu (14:47):
which is where we’re going this weekend

Damon (14:49):
or I can help do a barbecue contest. I can spend three on the road in our nice little trailer and, you know, bring [inaudible 14; 54] grills with us and hang out and meet new people, get to talk to and enjoy the ones that we already do know. And just continue to build our family in the world of food sport. And you know, I, I have the ability to do that anytime I want; I can take off any time and do that. Because, you know, fortunately we work for ourselves. So if I want, if I don’t want to come into work tomorrow, I don’t, but um, you know, I think that’s the biggest success. I look at Lu and tell people all the time, you know, we can do what we want to do. We can reason. I mean, I’m not independently wealthy. I can’t, you know, take off to the Caribbean for a month, [No] I lose my house, but within reason we keep ourselves happy. We do what we want to do and then we’re able to sustain it. So I think that’s, I think that’s our measure of success really.

Lu (15:45):
Yeah, absolutely.

Scott (15:45):
How has technology helped you personally or Croix valley

Lu (15:52):
Endlessly. Absolutely. Honestly, social media is a small business owner’s dream. Just being able to promote ourselves on Facebook to push what we’re doing, to share videos. I can’t even think of how someone would operate a small business without the internet…

Damon (16:08):
Oh yeah, I mean, if we would have done this 30 years ago, I have no idea how we would have succeeded. It really is a big thing. If, I mean technology in general is obviously in every facet of our business, but in order to promote Croix Valley and in order to open the doors that we’ve opened, build the relationships that we’ve built a, it’s all been due to social media and uh, and then we do a lot of video production for the folks that we’ve worked with and our, and our partners and you know, just being able to cross promote each other, have that visibility over the internet. I mean, my God, I cannot, I can’t imagine where we would be without it.

Scott (16:54):
what inexpensive tool do you use that makes you excel?

Lu (16:58):
That’s a neat question.

Damon (16:59):
If you want to look at an inexpensive tool that, that I think certainly helps us excel and helps a number of other people that I know. It’s not; it’s not a tangible tool. I’m telling you right now, it’s Facebook, it’s free. [Yes] That is a tool that we utilize to help us excel. We have connected with so many people, you know, ceos and executives of companies that I thought that we would never have an opportunity to you know reach. To those that we want to try to promote ourselves to, you know, we do a lot of video on TV and try and hop in front of the cameras whenever we can. I would not have, I would never be able to do any of that without Facebook. And I look at that as my biggest resource, my biggest tool for building our brand and in, in our company, I mean, you know, twitter and instagram [inaudible 17:50] the other million social media platforms that are out there, are all helpful and useful as well. But um, but Facebook has been invaluable to our business.

Lu (18:02):
I have another inexpensive tool and it’s going to sound funny, but its tortilla chips. I don’t know where we’d be without tortilla chips. We do a lot of sampling. We do a lot of demos in grocery stores and we used to cook chicken or cocktail we need and any kind of meat. We could find that it was inexpensive to sample our products out on and then people were too focused on the meat and not the sauces and about seven years ago we switched over to doing nothing but sampling with inexpensive tortilla chips.

Scott (18:35):
Not Funny, but it makes all the sense in the world once you just explained it to me.

Damon (18:39):
Yeah. It saved us a ton of money.

Scott (18:41):
What in the industry drives you nuts when you hear it?

Damon (18:45):
Lu and I try our best to try and promote competition barbecue and food sport in general, you know, we’re both members of different organizations. Lu, Lu is a member of the Minnesota Barbecue Society. She’s the treasurer and on the board of directors there. Um, so her responsibility is helping to promote competition barbecue, certainly in the state of Wisconsin, in the state of Minnesota and beyond. And I’m the president of the Wisconsin Barbecue Posse, which is a similar nonprofit organization in Wisconsin. Its aim is to promote barbecue as well. So, you know, we are, we’re really vested in making sure that the other people get to do the sort of things that we do and learn from that and enjoy.
And one of the things that I hear about competition barbecue very often is that it’s too expensive to get in to and it’s a barrier and it’s a hindrance that I think a lot of people kind of have this notion that you can’t, you can’t compete with the big boys because you need all of these really expensive meats and you need all these really expensive cookers and, and, uh, all sorts of equipment. And that kind of drives me nuts a little bit because, you know we didn’t get into competition barbecue with expensive cookers and sponsor and super expensive meats and whatnot. We dove into it really not knowing a thing about it.

Lu (20:04):
No we had no idea what we were doing.

Damon (20:07):
No idea [Laughs] and we learned from those that were already in the sport. And uh, for those that are in the industry and that’s, that’s all you need do. You need to jump into it, feet first and just kind of give it your all and I’ll tell you just as an example, we were in Lacrosse, Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago for a barbecue competition and they were almost like 50 teams or something. They’re competing and a lot of quote and unquote big boys. I mean, you know, people who do very, very well, but there was a number of there that you know might have been their their first time out or they’re just kind of a backyard team. They don’t, they don’t compete all that often. And there was one guy, his name was Aaron. I didn’t even catch his last name, but Aaron pulls off at 11:30 at night, the night before the competition. And everyone was like, where is this guy? I mean, you’re usually there in the morning, hanging out with girls who were [inaudible 20:53], the whole works. It shows up at 11:30 at night and uh, and most people there, everything is prepped and ready to go to bed. If they’re not a party and they’re ready to go to bed and focus on cooking in the morning
He had, he had a smoker that he built himself. He was a welder by trade. So he built himself a smoker. He pulled up there at 11:30. He starts this fire, he stays up all night long, never gets any sleep whatsoever. Um, he had to feed the fire the entire night and he competed against everybody else’s. First Kansas City Barbecue society is first KCBS events ever. And he wound up with three top 10 calls that morning and beat out all, all sorts of the other, you know, quote and unquote big guys that are out there. Um, first time ever with me sitting you know, bottom of the local grocery store. All he did was come out and he cooked and he did very, very well. And you see a lot of that happen. And I think that, you know, some people, I mean, is that we’re going to, we’re going to…this sport is going to live and die by the fact that we either do or we do not get new people involved in, in food sport and having attractive package for them to come in and you know want to be part of this, this community of people. And if we don’t get new teams, the sport will die. And uh, and, and that’s the one thing that I hear from a lot of people this point. We just didn’t know what we can’t. We can’t do it. I just can’t see spending that kind of money or whatever. And I’ll tell you, anyone can go to the local store and buy you know a cheaper cut of meat and make it taste like a million bucks. Just take some time, a little bit of talents and boy, anyone can get there.

Scott (22:40):
Fantastic story.uh I think people always say, I hear it a lot when I get this, I’ll be better at that example. I’m a photographer. Everybody says, Hey, when I get a better camera like you, I’m going to take better pictures. It’s not about, it’s not about the gear, and it’s about the story, the vision and knowing your tools, the tools that you do have known them. And he knew his, what he had built. He knew his smoker and he executed it.

Damon (23:04):
Absolutely. And I think that’s true with anything that you do. I mean, if you don’t give it your all, if you’re not giving it 100 percent and learning, you know, along the way and [inaudible 23:14] as much information as you can, you know, you’ll never get there. It doesn’t, it really isn’t about the tools and the equipment that you use. It’s about the passion and the drive that you have to make it work for you. And that’s Kind of how we live our lives. I mean really it is. This is what, you know, it’s kind of a motto that we live by. And one of the things that I always like to tell people is it, because they look at it, they look at us sometimes they’re like, oh my gosh, you guys are so busy. You’re always traveling.
You’re always doing so, so much stuff. How do you ever find time? And I always tell everybody that, you know, I put, I put 100 irons in the fire because you’d never know which one is going to glow red hot. And that’s a perfect way for us to live. You know, I, I rarely, we really say no to anybody. It’s always, oh, can you do this? [Laughs] Yes, yes, yes, absolutely. We’ll, we’ll do that because you never know where it will lead to. And eventually one of those irons is going to glow red hot and, and man, that’s when things really take off.

Scott (24:15):
That’s great advice. Not An easy question because you’re already living a fun life, but what do you do for fun when and cannot be work related.

Lu (24:26):
We fish. [Yeah Fishing] We love fishing. We love…We have a boat that we try to use as often as possible. I think we’ve gotten it out…

Damon (24:26):
Only once [inaudible 24:36] I’m ashamed, I’m ashamed. Very painful.

Lu (24:37):
[inaudible 24: 39] he was to blame for part, but yeah, fishing, any sort of fishing, live fishing, river fishing, shore fishing, everything.

Damon (24:47):
That’s it. If we had, if I wasn’t, if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing right now, I, I kid you not, I would be a professional fisherman. Like I would join the circuits and go ahead faster and…

Lu (24:47):
I’d be right there with you for sure.

Damon (25:04):
Yeah, that’s, that’s what we’d be doing if we weren’t doing what we’re doing right now.

Lu (25:09):
Yeah. for fishing, but…we love her. We have a beautiful backyard and we’re very into the plants and the trees. We have a big Koi pond, and stream running through our backyard, so that’s kind of our, our little unplug at night to sometimes to just go home and sit in the back yard, feed the fish and watch the birds. So you know.

Scott (25:28):
Damon. Is it true you’re a record holding fisherman?

Damon (25:31):
Yeah, I am. You know, back in the day, um, I, I had four world records to my name there. They’re all lining for world records. I don’t know if all four of them were still valid anymore or you know, they could have been beaten. I haven’t looked in quite some time, but there was a time, I mean, I, you know, again, perseverance and just putting your mind to something. And there was a time when I looked at Lu and this was back when we were just out of high school. I looked at her and said I want to hold some world records. And I went out in one summer and I, and I got four of them. So…

Lu (26:03):
Yeah. Damon has these light bulbs that go off and when we do crazy things it sort of make my life seems to operate. Hey Lu, I’ve got an idea. Oh No, [go for it [inaudible 26:04]].okay, what are we going to do?

Scott (26:15):
How do you teach that? I mean, seriously, it is a gift. Like how do you, how do you teach that?

Damon (26:20):
Well, you know, it. I think we teach by example. Is, is really what it boils down to. I don’t think that it’s that easy to teach other people how to persevere as much as, as I might, you know, or what I think you should do, uh because it’s, it’s just innate. It’s something that I just do, but I think when people see really by example, they see whoever it is, you know, just putting their best foot forward and never given up and never slowing down. And..Then you see the rewards that come from that. And, and I mean just this last weekend we’re…Croix valley is building a retail space in St Paul, we’re going to open later this summer and I’m doing a lot of the buildup myself. I’m not hiring a bunch of construction workers to do it.
I mean, I, I have the skills, I know how to do construction, so this is something that I’m doing and we were out all weekend long doing a number of things in a minute. I got home, I had gone to the garage and I started. I started working on cabinetry and things that I need for the retail place and it was just, you know, that’s, that’s what I do. I mean, I can, I could, I could have sat down and watched television or something else, but I wanted to keep busy. I want to keep active and, and do something and if you can be productive at the same time, um, boy more power to you.

Lu (27:42):
Yeah. And I agree with that too. And that’s another thing to think of too and just teaching people how to have that mindset. I think it’s… a lot of fear of failure. Failure is such a negative term for people that they try to avoid it where it, it shouldn’t be viewed that way. I mean, if you’re not failing, you’re not trying, you know, you’re going to fail, you’re going to fail, you’re going to succeed. You going to fail, you going to succeed. I mean, you’ve got to keep pushing and not be afraid to fail.

Scott (28:17):
Fantastic advice. [inaudible 28:17] let’s run through some quick ones. What’s your favorite sound?

Damon (28:21):
A steak sizzling on the grill.

Lu (28:24):
[Laughs] a fishing reel [inaudible 28:27]. That’s when you catch. I like that sound.

Damon (28:31):
Well, a better sound that would actually be as a drag in you know [inaudible 28:31] [Laughs]

Scott (28:36):
What’s your favorite smell?

Damon (28:39):
A steaks hitting the grill. No Scott I teased you there. Um, I, you know what honestly, I really love the smell of, of smokes…

Lu (28:52):
I like the smell of smoke, Barbecue smoke.[cross talk] I love the smoking flavors that goes through the air. Yeah.

Scott (28:55):
This might be another one because I don’t think you guys are bad at anything, but what are you terrible at?

Damon (28:59):
I mean, I don’t want to sound conceited or anything, [Okay] but I really don’t think I’m terrible at anything. Uh…

Lu (28:59):
Even not terrible at modesty?

Damon (29:11):
Singing, singing is not my forte. Although I do do that on occasion. I mean, I was a musician for a while. [You played nice] I sing okay. I’m not like, you know, Pavarotti or Bon Jovi, so I don’t know, I’m really. Here’s the thing, when you ask if there’s anything that I’m terrible at, I will tell you absolutely not. And, and I tell you what, that was all sincerity because of I don’t believe in my ability to do something then I won’t be all that succeed it. And I mean that with all honesty, not like conceited or whatever, but if I don’t believe that I can do something, then why would I, why would I do it or try? Um, I absolutely believed that if I can do anything and be successful at it if I put my mind to it and um, and I think that more people should think that way and more people would…might surprise themselves and find out that they can be successful in the things that you never thought that they could try in the first place.

Lu (30:05):
I am legitimately terrible at one thing though. And there’s no fixing it. I am legitimately terrible at backing up our trailers and that is a danger to anyone around. So we’re just going to let that one go. And I’m just going to give up on it.

Scott (30:21):
Fair enough. What do you want your legacy to be?

Damon (30:24):
Personally, I guess I would say, I would want…

Lu (30:29):
I would want more women to get involved in barbecue. That would just, if even if there are just a handful of women out there that say I started cooking barbecue. I’m doing this because I saw Lu was doing it means that would be to me. So cool. Because I think so many…At least when we first started, there were quite a few couples we were friends with and it was all the husband’s getting in. The wife was just kind of coming with and doing a little piddly things and we’re seeing more and more where it’s becoming true husband and wife team or just seeing, you know, the women go out and cook independently on their own and that’s just cool. I would like to be a part of that movement and that growth.

Damon (31:09):
Yeah. And I would, I would say kind of along those lines, you know, one of the things I want people to remember, both Lou and I for, you know, down the road when we’re no longer here, is that we did something to help promote barbecue and outdoor cooking and food sport in general, uh, because it’s, it’s a big passion, it’s a big, uh, you know, something that we both believe in and we try and make things, we try make cooking, especially outdoor cooking and grilling and barbecuing as accessible to people as possible. I’m trying to teach people new things and show people that it’s very easy to be able to cook, you know, utilizing a fire, a charcoal or smoke or what have you. And just knowing that we did something to kind of promote that and push it along and get more people involved in food sport and an outdoor grilling and those sorts of activities. Um, I think that’s what I’d like people to remember us for,

Scott (32:13):
For a hack like me that is not, I don’t spend a lot of time grilling, but you know, I’ll throw some meat on the grill. What is one tip?

Lu (32:18):
Easy, easy, easy one, rest your meats before you cut them. Don’t take them right off the grill and then cut right into them. You’re going to. destroy it.

Damon (32:26):
and I’ve got a… I’ve got a tip too, for grilling or smoking or anything in general also it that you should never be afraid of your, of your flame. Uh, it doesn’t matter what temperature you put it at, you can cook ribs at 200 degrees and they’ll turn out, tender and juicy. If you give them enough time, you can also cook them at 350 degrees and they will turn up tender and juicy as well. Temperature and the flame that you’ve got has nothing to do with, with, uh, how, how well your, your meats are going to turn out at all, has something to do with how you treat it while it’s there.

Lu (33:09):
This is directly related to big frig, I mean everybody thinks even as a cooler, and I’m going to keep my food cool in it. But going back to my tip about resting your meat, one good way to rest especially big meat, like if you can do a pork shoulder and it’s done. You wrap it up in a towel and throw it in your big frig cooler, obviously without ice in it and you can use that cooler and the whole box, which we’ve done quite a bit [countless times] and it’ll hold that pork like especially a pork shoulder, a brisket, bigger hunting meat like that. Those coolers to hold those meats, hot for hours. [So five, six hours or more]. Yes.

Scott (33:46):
Great tips. Where can we find you online? This is your time to give us all the information we need here.

Damon (33:52):
Sure. Well you can certainly find out more about Croix valley and all of our products at croixvalleyfoods.com. You can find us on twitter and Facebook and instagram as well at Croix Valley and we’ve got tons of recipes and tips and tricks and videos and all sorts of information on the website that will really showcase, number one, not only how to utilize our products and uh, you know, utilize some very unique sort of applications for sauces and rubs, but also some just really great advice on cooking and how to turn maybe a kind of everyday ingredients into something stunning without too much time and effort. I mean the recipes we’ve got on there, the video tips and tricks, there’s some pretty cool unique stuff on there and that’s what I tell people you know, check it out, check it out. You might find something, something interesting that you never thought of that you can cook on the grill

Music (35:02):
Thank you for listening to the big frig, my way of life podcast. [Big frig]Please subscribe to our podcast through iTunes or Google play. For more info please visit bigfrig.com


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