Hustle. Heart. And authentic hometown barbeque.

Most people will tell you it’s not a good idea to go into business with friends or family. In the case of Anthony Anderson and Cedric The Entertainer, making the decision to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams together was a no brainer. Having experienced a plethora of success as comedians and actors, Anthony and Cedric had been on the lookout for different business venture opportunities — particularly in the food industry.

At the time when discussions about AC Barbeque came about, a liquor brand approached the pair about a potential partnership. In the end, the two landed on the BBQ business as it felt more authentic to who they are and what they enjoy doing. A self-proclaimed foodie, Anthony had already been in the culinary space working on a line of hot sauces and appearing in multiple shows on the Food Network. And Cedric was a natural at doing what he does best — entertaining — at gatherings with family, friends, and of course delicious BBQ food.

In this way, their skills, knowledge and insights complement one another well. Anthony takes on more of the chef role, while Cedric’s ideas are inspired by the celebratory nature of the brand. They are both constantly collaborating and thinking of ways to bring the AC Barbeque slogan of “Rooted in culture. Fueled by community.” to life.  

“Cedric and I recognize that we are always willing to put in the work in our professional and personal lives,” said Anthony. “We’re go-getters. . And our shared commitment to creating opportunities for ourselves along with those around us, results in an undeniable synergy as we work to build and broaden the AC Barbeque brand along with our friendship.”

Anthony and Cedric have surrounded themselves with a team of dynamic individuals who are fully vested in helping them to realize the AC Barbeque visions of grandeur in order to continuously propel the brand forward. Understanding the importance of creating and fostering meaningful relationships, Anthony and Cedric aren’t afraid to pull over on the side of the road when they see people grilling and just start a conversation. It doesn’t even matter if they are interested in using the AC Barbeque products. 

At the end of the day, Anthony and Cedric do not view themselves as being in direct competition with other barbecue brands on the market. They are focused on embracing this unique culinary sector that is innately welcoming to so many styles of cooking and cultural influences. It’s about creating products that bring people together in a memorable and positive way. Providing a sense of belonging via the art of BBQ.

In fact, when they first launched the AC Barbeque brand, the actors partnered with A&E Network to document their quest to perfect the skill of the grill in an unscripted series titled “Kings of BBQ.” It was a very natural way to begin their pursuit of making genuine connections while leaving their AC Barbeque mark on prime beef, chicken, pork, fish and everything else you could possibly throw on the grill. Anthony and Cedric are extremely excited about the possibility of creating something big within this space. 

Playing a different kind of leading role.

As one might expect, the entrepreneurship experience is different from that of an actor. Before becoming business owners, Anthony and Cedric were used to promoting and being a part of productions that followed the direction of other entities. In the case of AC Barbeque, they take great pride in being the face of the brand and product, knowing they did it for themselves. From conception to completion, the responsibility has fallen squarely on the dynamic duo’s shoulders — and they wouldn’t have it any other way. 

“As entrepreneurs, every little win feels like a big win for us,” said Cedric. “When you take a chance and it ends up working out. When you see your brand on the shelves in Lowes and Walmart. When you cross paths with people who believe in you and your product. These victories as a business owner are more fulfilling to me than having someone compliment my role in a TV show.”

It’s obvious this is more than just a professional endeavor, but a passion project as well. Cedric hails from St. Louis, Missouri, while Anthony has familial ties to the southern state of Arkansas. The barbecue culture runs through their veins, making the AC Barbeque brand a true extension of their roots. So it should come as no surprise that the process of creating their current line of rubs and sauces began with personal recipes. 

Building upon the foundation of flavors they had come to know and love throughout the course of their childhood and worldly travels, Anthony and Cedric worked with culinary scientists and renowned chefs to land on a collection of final products that delivered a refined, unexpected sense of nostalgia. Utilizing the senses in a way that takes people back to a time and place of innocence is a significant part of what AC Barbeque is striving to achieve. 

It was a back and forth, detail-oriented, experimental process that allowed them to gain a better understanding of the variety of palate preferences and the complexities of ingredient interactions. In staying true to the spirit of their brand, Anthony and Cedric landed on three BBQ rubs (Midnight Smoke, The MVP, and Lemon Stepper) along with two BBQ sauces (All Day, Every Day and AC Gold AKA Caroline Wine).

In addition to enriching the BBQ culture, community and overall experience, the AC Barbeque brand was founded on the principles of Black excellence. Anthony and Cedric are always grinding it out, making a concerted effort to be the best they can be in all aspects of their lives. At the same time, they continue to be transparent about their process and the mindset for their business in a way that lets people know they care. 

“To us, Black excellence is about lifting as we climb and finding ways to reinvest into the communities from which we came,” said Anthony. “It’s about representing the Black community in a positive light — saying and doing things in a way people can look up to you as a role model and a source of inspiration for what they themselves can accomplish,” added Cedric.

Along those lines, it’s important that individuals within the Black community are able to share their unique experiences and perspectives. To Anthony and Cedric’s knowledge, the true origin story of the barbecue culture has never been told by someone within the Black community. It’s valuable to gain insight into the way it provides a sense of belonging, how it all began, and why it’s still relevant today. As far as Anthony and Cedric are concerned, AC Barbeque is the perfect narrator, sharing these stories in a way that will resonate with people.

Anthony and Cedric are excited about the steady growth they’ve experienced since the inception of AC Barbeque. Opportunities to expand in a creative and organic way continue to present themselves, making the future that much more flavorful and satisfying.

Big personalities and even bigger plans.

There’s no denying that when Anthony and Cedric are together, the fun energy and optimistic vibes are tangible. It just so happens that the concepts they have in the works for AC Barbeque in 2024 and beyond are equally as exciting. 

In addition to focusing on a seemingly obvious expansion of their current collection of rubs and sauces, AC Barbeque is in the process of curating an accessory line. These new SKUs will include items such as a caddy for conveniently storing all your BBQ necessities near the grill, aprons, burger presses, tongs, cutlery, spatulas (or “hot food flippers” as Anthony calls them), and more.

Anthony and Cedric have also developed a partnership with Sodexo and SodexoMagic to introduce AC Barbeque onsite college campus kitchens. Their first location will be at Jackson State University with the intent of having a presence on other HBCU campuses nationwide. The cafeterias and commissary at universities have significantly transformed over the years. Nowadays it is common for big brand, chain restaurants to become a part of the school’s meal program. Being the innovators that they are, Anthony and Cedric identified the untapped potential that exists in this niche space.

“Aligning ourselves with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) allows us to introduce the AC Barbeque brand to their business students who can then become a part of what we’re building on campus,” said Anthony. Allowing these individuals to get firsthand experience in the entrepreneurial world while playing a role in the advancement of AC Barbeque is a win-win.” “And this is a chance for us to build a youthful fanbase who will get to know and love the AC Barbeque brand, growing up with our food and flavors,” stated Cedric.

But wait, there’s more! Anthony and Cedric have no intention of slowing down as they draw up the plans and layout the details for a highly anticipated brick-and-mortar restaurant. This flagship location will be in Westfield Century City Mall, proudly serving up traditional BBQ dishes with an unexpected twist. Whether it’s mac n’ cheese served in the form of a muffin or a peach cobbler with an added egg roll twist — the culinary creations and atmosphere will be the perfect combination of sentimental and sensational.

There will also be a philanthropic component to the business. Anthony and Cedric are aligned in their goal of utilizing AC Barbeque for the greater good of their communities near and far. They are working on concepts that involve alleviating the issue of food deserts, providing education scholarships, implementing healthy lifestyle initiatives, and more. It’s all about cultivating wins and a sense of togetherness.

“I love the idea of integrating the ‘husky and handsome’ athlete of the week and ‘Kings and Queens of BBQ’,” said Cedric. “Things that invite people to be a part of the culture in a way that expands upon the brand without beating you over the head with marketing. That’s what’s been really unique about the success we’ve been experiencing and the unlimited potential we have in front of us.”

There’s no telling where the AC BBQ brand will go next but what is for certain is that it will be filled with authentic culinary creations and moments worth savoring.

A message of gratitude.

We’d like to thank everyone out there who continues to support the AC Barbeque brand — it means so much to us, to the BBQ community and to what we are trying to accomplish. To the Walmarts, Lowe’s and future stores — we are humbled by your belief in our products. And to all the pitmasters, chefs, and entertainers who embrace our vision — we see you using our rubs and sauces, sharing your recipes, and spreading the word about the AC Barbeque brand on your own volition. Thank you! Bringing AC Barbeque to fruition has been a lifelong dream of ours and we couldn’t have done it without our amazingly dynamic and supportive community. 

  • Anthony Anderson and Cedric The Entertainer

AC Barbeque is currently selling a limited edition holiday gift set at Lowe’s stores nationwide. This nicely packaged trio of BBQ rubs is guaranteed to please anyone who loves to cook or host gatherings with family and friends.You can view and purchase any of the AC Barbeque products here and you’ll definitely want to check out all the cool AC Barbeque merch.