Product Review: Carolina Dry Rub and Eastern Carolina BBQ Sauce from Carolina Brewery

Monk: Carolina Brewery was founded in 1995 by UNC Chapel Hill alum Robert Poitras, who was originally from eastern North Carolina. The original brewpub, which still remains open to this day, is on Franklin St. heading towards Carrboro and they later opened a second brewpub in Pittsboro in nearby Chatham County.

This summer, after twenty-six years Carolina Brewery recently relaunched their brand “to promote the best of the Carolinas’ outdoor lifestyle and coastal conservation.” They also recently invited the Barbecue Bros to join their family. I told them we were in and before long both Speedy and I had some of the rubs and sauces in our hands to take advantage of some beautiful fall days in Charlotte and Nashville, respectively for some grilling and product testing.

Carolina Dry Rub

Speedy: And for ole Speedy, the timing couldn’t be better. After living in Nashville for four years, I finally put down some roots and purchased a home. My first accessory was a Big Green Egg that I re-homed from a friend that was not giving the old girl enough attention. Don’t worry – she’ll be well used from now on. 

I had tried a couple pork butts and gotten the temperature control pretty figured out, so on a lazy Sunday afternoon it was time to try some baby back ribs. Normally I like to make my own rubs, but the Carolina brewery rub ingredient list seemed perfect, so I sprinkled some on and got to smokin. Overall, I was really pleased. The rub imparted great flavor, and had a bit of kick. In a pork rub, I usually like a little more sugar to caramelize, but for ribs, this was spot on. Highly recommended for this use case. 

Monk:: The label said it was good for beef as well, so I tried the rub on some chuck roast I wanted to smoke for tacos a few weeks back. The 2 lb prime chuck roast took well to the rub and made for some tasty tacos. The rub has a generous amount of chile powder in it, so as Speedy mentioned it had a nice kick. Not too bad for me but be careful with folks who don’t like spice or young kids.

Eastern Carolina BBQ Sauce

Monk: In terms of the eastern NC barbecue sauce, when I glanced at the ingredients, I saw a true eastern NC vinegar-based barbecue sauce. Which makes sense, considering founder Poitras’ eastern NC roots. The one thing I did not see at first was that it already had hot sauce in it, so after topping a pork sandwich with the sauce I added some Texas Pete Hotter Hot Sauce on top of it and WOW, that sando had a kick. Great flavor, but man what spice. Next time around I’ll be smarter, but the sauce is a great option to add to your chopped pork.

Speedy: I used this sauce on some leftover pork butt, as I had run out of my own homemade dip. Monk is right – it is true to eastern NC and did pack a punch (Monk warned me about the hot sauce). While I still prefer making my own dip (favoring Lexington style), this is a perfect substitute for when I don’t want to spend the time making my own. Will use again. 

Costero Lager and Copperline Amber

Monk: As for Carolina Brewery’s beer, I was provided two six-packs since they could ship within North Carolina. I found that the Costero Lager – a Mexican-influenced cerveza – was a great beer for smoking on a sunny, warm day and the Copperline Amber paired perfectly with the smoky meats.

All in all, a successful introduction to the Carolina Brewery family. They’ve got a nice rebrand going, and I look forward to checking out more of their sauces and beers next time I spot them in the grocery.

If you like the sounds of this and are in, you can check out Carolina Brewery’s beer finder here and learn more about their sauces and rubs here.

Friday Find: The Carolina Foodie at BBQ King

Monk: In case you missed it, The Carolina Foodie recently made a stop at Barbecue Bros favorite BBQ King in Lincolnton and sat down with friend of the blog Jordan Smith to taste pretty much the entire menu. Not just the barbecue but the burgers and the dogs and the onion rings (fun fact: they go through almost 2000 lbs of onions each week). As he puts it: “Great Food! Great People!” and I couldn’t agree more.

Linkdown: 11/24/21

Native News

The history behind hush puppies, which I will never refer to “red horse bread”

Not so fast, my friend: After announcing that its Lake Norman location was going to close, Mac’s Speed Shop announced plans for the restaurant to stay open as a smaller location after an outpouring of love from the community

John Tanner’s Barbecue Blog expands his list of good local places off I-95 from Virginia to Key West

In total copycat fashion, Eater comes out with their own list

Non-Native News

The Smoke Sheet checks out the DFW barbecue scene in person

John Tanner checks out Meat BBQ in Lansing, Michigan while crossing that state off his list

Franklin Barbecue finally reopened for in-person dining yesterday

Austin barbecue food truck Distant Relatives is one of the 11 best new restaurants in the country, according to Eater

Grilling szn is here, writes J.C. Reid

The Troubadour Festival looked pretty sweet

So did Holy Smokes…

Friday Find: BBQ With Franklin’s Thanksgiving Parts 1-3

Monk: To get you prepared for Thankgiving next week, here’s the three BBQ with Franklin videos on Thanksgiving from 2012. Aaron leads you through the brine, rub, and smoking in part 1 before his wife Stacy helps with some great sides in part 2 before Aaron brings it on home in finishing up the turkey and making a gravy.

Description: Part 1: Learn how to brine and smoke a turkey with Aaron

Part 2: Stacy Franklin shares a couple recipes that go perfectly with a smoked turkey. Learn how to make smoked garlic mashed potatoes and a grilled green bean shishito pepper side dish. Aaron also explains how to tell when the turkey is getting done and what to do in the last hour of smoking.

Part 3: How to tell when your turkey is finished plus make a beautiful gravy with smoked butter.