If you have been following Grizzly BBQ over the years, you know that one of the mainstays in the rubs and seasonings that I’m frequently using in recipes is oftentimes one from Caribeque.
I will always be a man of my word and only promote products that I fully believe in and personally use. If there is something that I dislike, I won’t use it again, nor will I promote it, simply put.
The first time I heard about Caribeque was back in 2016, when a friend of mine — Brad Woods from Ohio, a top notch home chef who could hit big on Instagram if he posted more often — started avidly posting on social media about using Caribeque Honey Heat on smoked pork. I was intrigued, because not only did I trust his opinion in the realm of culinary dealings, but I thought the name of the product to be catchy (excellent marketing from the first step).
When I barbecued for the first time ever in December 2016, I tried Honey Heat for the first time ever, and I was hooked. Rubbed on a small pork butt, I smoked it in my old vertical offset Brinkmann Trailmaster stick burner, and the results were overwhelmingly fantastic. Keep in mind that this was before I became a regular poster on the grilling and barbecue community on Instagram, so I had no idea who was behind the Caribeque name or anything about the small company itself. I just knew that I loved at least one product from the line of rubs and seasonings.
Fast-forward to July 2017, when I bought a bottle of the (then) new rub, ‘AP’ (All Purpose), along with two bottles of Smack Sauce (incredible on burgers, pulled pork tacos, French fries, as a chicken dip, etc.), I posted the photo above to Instagram. I believe that was my first time officially posting about Caribeque. I didn’t have many followers at the time — under 100, I believe — and yet Kurt Halls, the man behind the idea of Caribeque, not only reposted the photo to the Caribeque Instagram, but he reached out to me in a message to thank me for the support and to get to know me.
In the near-four years since then, only one or two other small BBQ-related companies have reached out to me in any kind of capacity like that (shout out to Mitch & Louise Swank from Hutch’s BBQ Sauce and The Killer Cook). Kurt spoke to me like a long-time friend and treated me like an equal in the culinary world, when at the time I knew nothing about how to take a halfway decent food photo, and I had zero pull or influence in the community. I have used products from at least one hundred different companies in the last half decade, and nobody else has made that kind of effort to engage with their loyal followers the same way.
Even if Kurt had never reached out, I would still be using the Caribeque line today, just because I genuinely believe in how fantastic of a collective group of products they all are for tossing on grub. In December 2017, I bought a couple bottles of the Big & Bold beef rub, and I was hooked from the get-go when I tried it on smoked’n’shredded chuck roast. Nowadays, I almost exclusively only use Big & Bold on burgers, because it has such a phenomenal flavor that compliments beef.
Over the last two and a half years, I can’t speak enough about how good of a person that Kurt from Caribeque is. When my mother had a stroke in November 2018, he reached out to me and asked me if I needed any help. When I disappeared from social media for most of 2019 while placing my energy into someone over any other life endeavor, Kurt reached out and asked if I was alright given the sudden absence. When I experienced perhaps the worst ongoing bout of extreme depression of my life starting on March 30, 2020, he and I commiserated over the pain of life circumstances as he shared with me the difficult times he has been through the last few years.
What other folks behind the labels of BBQ-based companies do that? While I love the products from Meat Church, Reload Rub and Grill Your Ass Off, they certainly never have despite the repeated support I’ve also shown them.
I never expected to be an official member of Team Caribeque. I would still be using Caribeque in the food that I sling weekly even if I had never been asked, but about a week ago, Kurt called and asked me to officially be a member. Hey, I was technically unofficially a member of Team Caribeque for the last four years, but now it is official.
I don’t have one set up yet, but I will soon post a discount code that anybody can use that will give you guys 15% off of any purchase from Caribeque.com — I will update this post as soon as that happens with the discount code.