Monday, February 16, 2015

Product Review: Meat Church BBQ Rubs

I first heard about the Meat Church line of BBQ rubs and seasonings through the Egghead forum, where it is quite popular.  You may have seen them when Matt Pittman competed on the Texas episode of BBQ Pitmasters in Season 5.

I first "met" Matt in 2011 when he and I exchanged some e-mails about our times and process for cooking St Louis ribs on the kamado grill (Big Green Egg, Grill Dome, Primo, Kamado Joe, etc).  While Matt now lives in Texas, he used to live here in Knoxville.  Recently Matt and Tracie graciously sent me a set of their Meat Church line and I have been putting them to use.

Meat Church rubs are available in 12 ounce shakers which are huge compared to the  3.5 ounce spice shakers that you may be used to from the spice and seasoning aisle.  At $9, that is a bargain. They also sell 1 and 5 pound packages for heavy users, caterers, and competition cooks.

Meat Church Honey Hog BBQ Rub
The Honey Hog is a traditional style BBQ rub with a sweet and salty flavor profile.  

Meat Church boosts the typical sweet of brown sugar with honey powder.  Honey powder is a great addition to rubs, we bought a pound online last year and have been experimenting with it.  Honey Hog has a fine texture with visible specks of the various seasonings.  The taste is sweet, salty, with hints of some of the other flavors, like garlic and celery.  I don't think most would notice the celery but I like celery seed and celery salt so I picked it up on the back side.  

I've used it on ribs, pork shoulder, and as a finishing seasoning for things like potato salad and pulled pork sandwiches.

Chopped Pork Sandwich

Meat Church Honey Hog Hot
This one is basically Honey Hog that has been kicked up in heat for a spicier BBQ.

Notice the difference in color from the regular Honey Hot.  That's the green tint of dried jalapeno.

Where a lot of spicy BBQ rubs rely on cayenne pepper to raise the heat, Meat Church uses a more flavorful type of heat - ground dried jalapeno.  I have been drying my own chiles this year and they do add more than just heat to rubs, they add unique flavor.  To me jalapeno is an earthy, rich flavored heat. It really works well paired with the honey powder in the Hog Honey Heat.  I think this was my favorite Meat Church rub. The taste comes across as sweet, then salty, then the jalapeno kick, and finished slightly salty again. John wants to try it as the second rub application for our competition chicken.

One of the ways I used it was to lightly rub pork tenderloins with oil, a light dusting of black pepper, and then a good coating of Honey Hog Hot.  Then I grilled it for about 28 minutes at 375°F, rotating every 5 minutes or so.  

After rubbing the pork, let it sit for 30 minutes or so, just enough to "sweat" so the released moisture hydrates the seasonings and creates a nice crust of flavors.

Tip:  Sprinkle a little bit of the rub onto your cutting board. When you slice it, the juices will mix with the extra rub and act as another layer of tastiness.
Meat Church Holy Cow
As the name implies, Holy Cow is a beef rub.

Good beef doesn't need much more than salt, pepper, and garlic, so it's not surprising that salt, pepper, and garlic are the base of Holy Cow.  Matt lives in Texas and if he got too much fancier than that, he would get run out of the state, I think.  That's the catch with beef rubs in general - they are either "basically just salt, pepper, and garlic" so why would you need to buy one OR they have too many unnecessary ingredients. So honestly I don't use a lot of commercial beef rubs.  That's a personal thing for me.  That said, Holy Cow is as good as a beef rub as any that I have tried.  It has a moderately coarse texture.  Side by side in testing it was as good as the one that I make. 

I have used Holy Cow on some steaks, a brisket, and these beef short ribs.  

Meat Church Deez Nuts
This popular rub starts with the Honey Hog rub and then amps it up with pecan.

This one scared me, primarily because I am allergic to pecans and walnuts. But I wanted to try at least a taste.  I figured that there can't be that much pecan in there and when diluted down on meat,  I'd be safe.  Like Honey Hog, it has a nice sweet and salty front end. But on the back end, it has almost a caramel flavor.  I just didn't pick up the pecan flavor, neither did Alexis or our neighbor John.  Regardless of whether we tasted pecan or not, all three of us thought it was a great rub.

In fact, I did a cook with Honey Hog on one baby back rib and Deez Nuts on the other and the Deez Nuts one was the favorite rib that I have cooked in over a year.

Large BGE set up with plate setter, drip pan, tuning plate, and Craycort grates.  Lump with hickory chunks for smoke.

Meat Church BBQ
I used habanero mustard for a spicy slather and applied black pepper and rubs.  I let them sit while the Egg came to temperature. 

Big Green Egg ribs
It was a cold day, I think the high was 26°F.

BGE ribs, kamado joe ribs, primo ribs, grill dome ribs
I never sauced these ribs, I wanted them "naked", just letting the rubs shine through.

BBQ baby back ribs, no sauce ribs, loin back ribs
They were both tender and juicy but the Deez Nuts ribs were the best I have made in a long time.
Overall, the Meat Church line up of barbecue rubs is a winner.  They have a good balance of sweet and heat that is perfect for the back yard or as a flavor layer for competition meats.  They are also reasonably priced.  These rubs are available through Meat Church's website, check them out. 

[Standard FTC Disclaimer]  I received free samples from Meat Church; however, Matt didn't even ask that I review them and all opinions stated are either mine, Alexis', or our teammate, John's.