I recently tried some bbq rub samples from Dixie Meat Rub, LLC and was impressed with the products. I asked Michael, the President and CEO, if he would be willing to talk with me about his company and he graciously agreed.
How long have you been barbecuing and what got you into the game?
I have been BBQ and grilling for what seems like a lifetime. Honestly, I just love to eat. My brother-in-law (meat man is his nickname) and I always loved to cook. There was a local KCBS event and we decided to go in feet first. This will be our 4th year competing competitively and we are having a blast.
What grills or smokers do you prefer using and why?
It really depends on the circumstances. For competition I use my JAMBO or my Backwoods. They are designed for the competitive BBQ’er and we have had great success with each. I own the following cooking apparatuses:
— JAMBO Pit
— Backwoods Competitor
— Ugly Drum Smoker
— XL BGE
— Weber Smokey Joe Silver
— A DCS high-temp gas grill
Each has its own special place in my heart.
What was your biggest “aha” moment on your personal barbecue learning curve? What would you tell a rookie to help them out the most?
I would say the most important thing I learned was consistency. I know there are a lot of teams out there (and I was one) that will try a new recipe, or make drastic changes to their processes in search of the Holy Grail. For me, it is about being precise and making subtle changes until you finally get something right. Once you do, don’t change, regardless of where you finish. I would also suggest to rookie teams that they go to a BBQ cooking school.
Talk a little about what awards have been won using your rubs.
Our team has always done well in brisket using my recipe. In fact, we won a number of top 5 awards in 2011 for brisket. However, last year, we on our first Grand Championship after only three years of cooking. I use my rubs on Brisket, Pork Butt, and Ribs. I use another competitor’s rub for Chicken.
What is the relationship between Dixie Meat Rub, LLC and Hawg Nation Bbq? Any concerns about selling your brisket rub to other teams?
One thing I have learned is that competition BBQ is hard. There is no easy route. In the scheme of things, I am not a great cook, but I try hard and try to be precise. HAWG Nation and Dixie Meat Rub are two separate entities and sharing my rubs doesn’t bother me at all. Another thing I learned is that the rub is only one component of the entre process. I am happy to share them with everyone.
Your Competition Pork Rub is delicious! Do you use this primarily for butts, ribs or both?
Both. In trying to make my life simple, after much testing, I decided it was applicable to both Ribs and Butts. Thank you for the compliment.
Do you use your dry rubs as a stand alone flavor profile or do you also utilize injections? If you inject, can you share any information or guidance?
I have an entire process of which one step is injecting. I would rather not share what my injection method is.
How do you use your rubs? Light or heavy coating? Single application or do you add more during the cook? Allow the rub to penetrate for a few hours or straight onto the pit?
I add the rub once about two hours prior to smoking. I will rub the meat about two hours before I smoke and let it come to room temperature.
Tell me about your Jerk Rub. How did the recipe develop, has it been used in competition and what heat level are you targeting?
The Jerk Rub was an interesting concept. It really has no place in competition BBQ other than an ancillary contest. I just really enjoy Jerk seasoning and was working on a recipe and thought it would be a good idea to have that packaged as well in order to appeal to a different demographic outside competitive BBQ.
You offer a Competition Pork Rub and a Competition Beef Rub. What about chicken?
None, and do not envision having one. There are many great chicken rubs on the market that I am comfortable using. Chicken has always been a mediocre category for me but I learned a few tricks over the winter and plan on trying them this year. To be honest, I use Yard Birds. It is a great rub and has everything I am looking for.
What is your favorite way of using your rubs that doesn’t involve barbecuing?
Well, believe it or not my wife puts the Beef Rub in Beef Stew and homemade soup.
What size containers do you sell? Do you offer bulk pricing or sponsorships for competitive bbq teams?
I have two sizes of the Beef and Pork Rubs. I offer a 5.5 oz canister and for the competitive BQB I offer a 5lb bag. I will offer bulk pricing including wholesale pricing.
Why start a dry rub company and how long has it been in development?
I have always been fascinated with business and the rub business allows me to have consistency in my product. The idea has been in development for over three years and I look at it as a potential profit center. Who knows, maybe Wal-Mart will have an interest in my brand. Until then…
How does starting and running a dry rub company compare to competing on the barbecue circuit?
It’s really different actually. For now, I would say that hard work for the rub company is finished. The product has been finalized and is being produced. I now need to get it on shelves.
Competition has nothing to do with the rub company. When competing it is all business.
Are you working with a co-packer or out of a certified kitchen? How difficult was it to find someplace to make a commercial product?
Given the strict rules, regulations and potential health hazards, I am working with a co-packer. I provided them with my recipe and they offered different type of packaging options and pricing.
Can you share some general information about your sales plan? Direct sales at competitions, retail distribution partners, online only?
I would say retail, wholesale and website only. For now anyway.
What is your approach to developing and establishing the Dixie Meat Rub brand?
I think branding is a long process. Basically, I need to win and win lots in order to develop the DMR brand.
Is there anything else folks ought to know about Dixie Meat Rub, either the products or the company, before I let you go?
The website is www.thebestmeatrub.com. There has been a lot of thought and trial and error that has gone into the making of these rubs. We tend to use higher-end ingredients such as smoked sea salt instead of traditional salt products which we think gives us a competitive edge and hopefully you too. Thank you for your time and consideration.