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Entries in rub (9)


Review: Char Crust Seasonings

I recently had the opportunity to sample a couple of seasonings from Char Crust.  I was unaware of the rich history of this family owned business, despite the fact that I'm a fellow Illinoisan.  It seems their line of seasonings is the result of the legacy of their father's steak house in Chicago.  Although the restaurant is no longer there, the seasonings are still available both direclty from their website or through various grocery and specialty stores.

I sampled the All American Barbecue Rub recently.  As I usually do, I sampled the rub straight from the package and then applied it to chicken breast for gilling.  The rub had a nice combination of sweet and salty, but it definitely finished with a kick when I sampled it straight from the package.  Frankly, I was a little worried that the heat might be too much for my family as they don't typically care much for that.  However, the rub really mellowed during the cooking process.  The finished product had a nice BBQ flavor that wasn't at all over powering.

Interesting note here.  The directions on the package suggest dredging the meat thoroughly and then applying a spritz of EVOO or something similar to help bind the seasoning to the meat.  I did not follow these directions primarily because I was a little worried about the kick of the seasoning when I sampled it straight from the package.  Given how much the seasoning mellowed during the cook, I would try following the directions a little more closely next time. 

Overall, I'd recommend these seasonings based on this experience.  I plan to cook with the Hickory & Molasses version next and will provide an update on that effort soon.  

In the meantime, here's how you can get your hands on Char Crust Seasonings.

Char Crust, Inc.

3017 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657
Phone: 773.528.0600 or 800.311.9884 or 773.CHARCRUST




Review: Gary's Sweet for Mama BBQ Rub


I recently had the opportunity to sample the Sweet for Mama BBQ Rub From Gary's Seasonings.  I wasn't familiar with Gary's line of seasonings until now.  So I wasn't really sure what to expect.  However, I was pleasantly surprised with the flavors in the Sweet for Mama Rub.

I have to confess, that I typically try rubs and seasonings first with just a little taste straight from the bottle.  This time was no exception.  When I tasted the rub, I immediately liked it.  In fact, I asked my wife to sample it because there was something familiar about the flavor.  I never did figure out why it seemed familiar, but I liked it.


I also like to sample BBQ rubs and seasonings applied to chicken.  Grilled chicken breasts don't overwhelm the seasonings or sauces that are applied like other meats.  So, I applied Gary's Sweet for Mama rub on some chicken breasts for dinner.  

This is a sweeter rub than I'm used to, with not nearly as much paprika in the blend.  So the rub didn't color the meat as much as a lot of others.  Additionally, the cayenne flavor really comes through.  All in a good way.  My family enjoyed the flavor as did I.  In fact, later that evening I applied some more of Gary's Sweet for Mama to a bowl of popcorn.  Something about the combination of sweet & salty in this rub made me want more and it was awesome as a popcorn seasoning!


Gary's was kind enough to include sample packets of their other seasonings.  I look forward to sampling the other products, including:


  • Gary's Original Blend
  • Hot for Mama
  • Too Hot for Mama


Each of these are available in Salt Free versions as well.  And here's a really cool option for anyone who would like to trial Gary's flavors.  Trial sizes can be had for .39 cents each with free shipping!  I haven't seen anyone else doing this, but I think it's an awesome idea and a great way to market your products.

Check out Gary's Seasonings at or check them out at a variety of west coast locations.  I think you'll like it!




Review: Tasty Licks - Black Bart's Brisket Rub


I have to confess, I've never eaten BBQ in Texas.  So when I read a "Taste of Texas" on the label on Fred Benardo's brisket rub I sort of have to take his word for it.  Now I have had other brisket rubs from Texas and I have to say that this one stacks up pretty well.

I've develped a taste for a peppery rub on brisket and beef in general.  I found Black Bart's Brisket Rub to suit my taste buds nicely.  It's a nice blend of salt, pepper, and paprika, with just a hint of cayenne.  When I'm not trying a new rub, I keep it pretty simple with just garlic salt and black pepepr for my beef.  So the simplicity of this rub really hit the mark as far as I'm concerned.  I've used it a couple of times and really enjoyed it.

If you'd like to give Tasty Licks rubs a try, head over to Tasty Licks BBQ Supply for their line of rubs and seasonings as wella s a variety of other BBQ related products.

If you happen to live in greater Shillington, PA area, tell The Smokin' Guitar Player that I sent you.



Review: Draper's BBQ Rub & Sauce

I love the "microbrew" movement in BBQ sauces and rubs.  It has created many new products and companies that share the love of good BBQ with a passion to make a great product.

Drapers BBQ  361

Shane Draper at Draper's BBQ is one of those folks who is sharing his passion and family traditions via his own "microbrew" BBQ sauce and rub.  Shane is a 3rd generation pitmaster from Western Kentucky and as the label states, there's "3 generations of pride and flavor in a bottle" that honors his family hertiage.  While I had met Shane on line awhile back, it was only recently that I actually got to chat with him a little at the Kentucky Bluegrass festival where he was sharing samples of his products.

Drapers BBQ  362

I came home with a bottle of both the A.P. Rub and the Smokin' Sauce.  I'd planned to cook with these products righ away, but a little knife accident sidelined me for a couple of weeks.  I finally had the opportunity to fire up the grill and try out Draper's rub & sauce.  I like to sample rubs and sauces with pork tenderloin or chicken.  I think flavors stand out a little more with these meats.

So, we had a couple of pork tenderloins ready to go for dinner last night.  I applied the A.P. Rub to both and grilled them on the Bubba Keg.  When they were nearly done, I gave one of them a coat of Smokin' Sauce as a finish.  Then, I sliced them and the family sat down to dinner.  

Drapers BBQ  364

Now usually, my wife and I like a finish sauce on pork tenderloin, but my kids prefer them dry.  The Smokin' Sauce definitely changed that.  Much to my surprise, the kids couldn't get enough of the sauced tenderloin.  In fact, one of my daughters said, "I can't eat any more, but can I lick the sauce off that last piece?"  Now if that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is!  

In all seriousness, Smokin' Sauce is a tomato based sauce with a slightly sweet finish and just a little kick.  Don't think "Kansas City" when I say sweet, cause that's not what I'm talking about.  This is more Memphis than KC, but I'd even hesitate to put it in the category of Memphis style sauces.  I have also tried the sauce on brisket and for me, I'd have to say that I prefered it on pork.  But it was a good compliment to both.

Drapers BBQ  366

The A.P. Rub is a really nice balance of salt, spice, and sweet.  In fact Shane was sampling the product sprinkled on popcorn in Danville, KY.  I found it just a little sweeter than the rubs I've been using most often.  That's probably what makes it more all purpose than rubs targeted at a specific meat.  For comparison, I'd definitely put it in the cateogry of a Dizzy Pig or Yardbird type of rub.  Truly, it's an all-purpose (or A.P.) rub. 

I'm very happy with the products and I'll continue to cook with them.  I'm also anxious to try the other sauces that Shane's working on.

Check out Draper's BBQ at





Rub & Sauce

For the month of June, I'm booked solid.  My BBQ commitments shape up like this:


  • June 4th - Pigapalooza, where I'll be cooking for a fund raiser to support Jacob's Ladder
  • June 11th - cooking pork butt for a graduation party.
  • June 18th - my first BBQ competition
  • June 25th - pork butt & brisket for my cousin's wedding reception


So with all that to do over the next month, I realized that I needed to lay in a few supplies and settle on a flavor profile (at least for the month of June).  Since I've been using Plowboy's Yardbird, it's become my go to rub.  Likewise, Blueshog BBQ sauce has become my go to sauce for ribs.  I'm still in search of a go to sauce to apply to sandwiches, but for now I think I'm set.


Plowboy's Yardbird Rub Blues Hog BBQ Sauce

Home to see some of you at one these fine events!



Review: Tasty Licks Original BBQ Rub

Recently, I've been cooking with the Original Smokin' Good BBQ Rub from Tasty Licks BBQ Company.  Tasty Licks is the signature brand of Fred Bernardo at Fred's Music & BBQ.   Fred is a BBQ evangelist and a purveyor of BBQ pits, accessories, rubs, and sauces.  Fred  publishes an exhaustive list of instructional videos on his website as well.  

I've used Fred's Tasty Licks Original BBQ Rub for the past month or so and I'm finding it to be a nice general purpose rub.  It goes equally well with pork and chicken and I've enjoyed it on both.  As I write this, I've got 4 pork tenderloins rubbed own with Tasty Licks and my family has really enjoyed this flavor profile. 

It's a little sweeter rub than I typically use, but that may be what my family likes about it.  It has a nice blend of spices, kosher salt, and black pepper but no one ingredient overpowers the other.  There is a distinct hint of chili powder that provides a very slight bit of heat, but again it's definitely not overpowering.

Overall, I have really enjoyed this as a general purpose rub and would highly recommend it.  You can pick up this and any of Fred's other rubs and sauces at  Or if you're in the market for a new pit or other accessories, check out Fred's online store at  If you're lucky enough to be within driving distance of Fred's location in Shilington, PA, stop by and say hello and check out first hand all that they have to offer.




Review: Smokin' Guns BBQ Rub

In the past few weeks I've ordered a number of rubs and sauces that are pretty highly thought of in the BBQ community.

One of those that I ordered was Smokin' Guns mild BBQ rub. One taste, and I can see why folks like it so much. It's got a nice balance of spice, salt, and sweetness.

I've got it on a mess of ribs as I write this. I can't wait to sample the final product but I'm feeling very good about this rub.

I'll update this post after a taste test.



Review: Michelbob's BBQ Rub

Over the past few years, my parents have officially become snowbirds. That means they spend 6 months per year in sunny Florida. Those would be the same six months that I'm battling cold temperatures and wind while trying to perfect my BBQ technique. 

Recently, they began to sing the praises of a BBQ establishment in Naples, FL, called MichelBob's. Now I've never been to the place and I can't substantiate their claims about having the best ribs in America. However, my folks did send home a bottle of their rub/seasoning so I thought I'd give it whirl.

I tried the rub on a brisket that I cooked on the Big Green Egg on Sunday. I found it to be a little saltier and have a little more garlic than my standard brisket rub. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. As the brisket finished up, it formed a nice bark and the was very tasty. In fact, I think enjoyed it even more the next day.

I hope to get to Florida to try their BBQ Ribs first hand, but until then I will definitely continue to enjoy their rub. I wouldn't mind giving their sauce the once over, but alas no one has come forward with a bottle of that!   8>)



What's the Rub?

In BBQ circles, you'll hear lots of talk about "rubs". So, I thought I'd take a minute to level set what a rub is. Simply put, it's a combination of spices applied to the outside of a piece of meat that result in the crispy outer crust that is often found on BBQ. The name is derived from the method of application.  Usually the rub is applied by vigorously rubbing into all the nooks and crannies of piece of meat you plan to BBQ.

Rubs can be as simple as salt and pepper, or very complex as found in commercially available rubs. Generally speaking, rubs are comprised of 1/3 salt, 1/3 sugar, 1/3 other seasoning to taste depending on the cut of meat that you're applying it to. If you want to try your hand at making a rub, keep these proportions in mind.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be writing reviews of some of the rubs that I've used over the past year or so. I'll also share a couple of basic rubs that I've used with success.