For those of you familiar with the BBQ scene (especially the competition scene), you will be familiar with the maker of this product. For those of you who are not, I greatly suggest that you become familiar. Today’s review is of the Competition Beef & Pork Rub by Oakridge BBQ.
Oakridge BBQ is located in Kearney, Missouri. They started in 2002 as a competition team and experienced success with numerous top ten finishes, two Grand Championships, and a perfect score in pork ribs. Oakridge BBQ started production and distribution of their products in February of 2010. In the first year of production, teams that used the Oakridge BBQ line of seasonings experienced success, including 3 reserve grand champions, 6 grand champions, and 216 top ten awards! Even more impressive is their philanthropic ways – a minimum of 10% of all business profits are donated to organizations that assist with domestic/global homelessness and orphan outreach.
Oakridge BBQ prides itself in the quality of its products. All of their rubs are handmade with 100% ingredients – this means no MSG, fillers, preservatives, artificial ingredients, or anti-caking agents. All ingredients in their products are source-verified and must pass strict quality control standards before use. Their rubs are blended by hand in small batches down to the nearest gram to ensure quality of product from batch to batch.
Having said all that… let’s take a look!
One of the things that I like to do when reviewing a rub is to get a close-up picture of the rub itself. If you look at the ingredient list in the picture above, you see the various spices that are listed out and not concealed by the all-encompassing “other spices” misnomer. As you look at the close-up picture below, note that the granules in the various spices are all similarly sized. This allows for even distribution of flavors from the various ingredients.
A taste test reveals a true balance of flavors. When first tasting the rub, I taste the sweetness from the raw cane sugar. Then comes the saltiness from the sea salt, some heat from the various chiles, a touch of smokiness from the chipotles, and then finally the remainder of the complementary flavor profiles from the other spices. So now that we’ve looked at the rub by itself, let’s see how it works on food…
To the Meat of the Matter
So I decided to try this rub out in a couple of different ways. The first way was to try it out on hamburgers. Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures of how the rub looked on the burgers, but trust me when I say that it turned out quite well. It added a nice touch of flavors to the burgers.
The next test was a bit out of left field, but I decided to go for it anyway – stuffed mushrooms. I picked up some homemade ground sausage when I went to Historic Brattonsville for Hog Butchering Day. The sausage goes into an iron skillet and is liberally seasoned with the competition beef and pork rub. While cooking the sausage, I diced some onion as well as some mushroom stems. After the sausage was browned, I sautéed the onions and stems in the same iron skillet.
The sausage and sautéed goodies were combined with some sour cream and a little bit more of the seasoning and then stuffed into mushrooms and cooked at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. The rub added a nice smoky blend to the earthy flavor of the mushrooms and savory flavors of the sausage.
My next test was something more traditional – ribs. I started out with a rack of spare ribs that were trimmed down to a St. Louis style cut. The ribs got a light coat of vegetable oil and were then very liberally seasoned with the rub.
The ribs were then put in the smoker where they cooked at between 250 and 275 degrees using a combination of oak and peach wood (the peach wood was courtesy of Fruita Wood Chunks – it’s excellent wood)! After three hours, the ribs were foiled and then placed back into the smoker for 2 more hours.
The ribs were done after the 2 hours cooked in the foil. So I cut the rack in half and gave each half a glaze of Cajun Sweet Applewood Jalapeno BBQ Sauce (review can be found here) and let them rest for about 30 minutes.
I found the ribs to be very flavorful and tender, as did my wife. We both noted that they were a touch salty, but I attribute that to how much rub I used on the ribs and not the rub itself. As you can see, the ribs have a gorgeous dark red color and, quite frankly, tasted as good as they looked. My wife normally does not prefer spare ribs (she’s a baby back rib fan), but she commented to me that these were the best ribs that I’ve cooked. So two thumbs up from both of us!
You can find Oakridge BBQ on the web at http://www.oakridgebbq.com where you can order their entire line of rubs and seasonings. They can also be found on Twitter and Facebook. Let ‘em know that Big Wayner sent you!