Product Review: Matt’s Rub from Midwood Smokehouse

Monk: After interviewing pitmasters Matthew Berry and Michael Wagner from Midwood Smokehouse, I took home a bottle of the (at the time) recently-released Matt’s Rub. Nearly two years later and I have certainly put it through its paces on a variety of meats.

Most recently I used the rub for pork belly burnt ends I smoked for this year’s Super Bowl following this recipe from Hardcore Carnivore. After cubing the 9 lb. pork belly, I tossed them in the rub to evenly coat before placing on a cooking rack and placing in the smoker for two hours.

After two hours (rotating the racks in the smoker after an hour), I tossed them in a sauce mixture of Sweet Baby Ray’s, local honey, and chicken broth before putting back onto the smoker in an aluminum pan for another 2 hours total.

In total, after 4 hours I had pork pillows perfect for Super Bowl snacking. I have extolled the virtues of pork belly burnt ends before and I wasn’t let down by smoking them for the big game, both in terms of results as well as time spent. Each bite was well-balanced between spice, smoke, and sweetness.

And what about Matt’s Rub? The rub itself has a slight kick but I have found it to be a great all purpose rub. From this pork belly to pork butts, pork tenderloins, chuck roasts, chicken, and burgers, each time I was quite pleased with the results.From that conversation almost 2 years ago, here’s what Mathew and Mike each used it on, at least back then:

Is it an all-purpose rub? It can go on anything? What do you use it most on at home?
MB: At home? I use it on burgers the most. I cook a lot of burgers at home.
MW: I would use it on beef and pork. I would use it on chicken with maybe a little more black pepper, just cause that’s the way I like it. I mean anybody that knows anything about dry rubs, if they make one its going to have all of this in it.

Midwood Smokehouse has also since introduced a line of sauces, which we briefly discussed in that same conversation. Maybe next time maybe I’ll use their Matt’s Original Sauce instead of the mass-produced Sweet Baby Ray’s.

You can purchase Matt’s Rub online and at all Midwood Smokehouse locations.

Product Review: Texas Dry Rubs by Billy Twang

Billy Twang is a Texas-based dry rub and grilling tool company that was started in Houston in 1992. All of their products are proudly made in the USA and backed by a lifetime guarantee. They recently reached out to me to try out a few of their dry rubs in exchange for an honest review, and I happily obliged.

Bottom line: Based on my experience with these rubs, I would happily recommend them to any backyard griller or smoker.

Click here for ordering information

Old No. 3 Rub ($25 but currently sold out, link)

Old No. 3 Rub is a classic central Texas salt and pepper dalmatian mix with granulated garlic. Not having time for a brisket, I tried the rub on a chuck roast that I was smoking for tacos. You can tell the quality of the ingredients in the rub just by looking at it, with the coarsely ground peppercorns and salt. Slightly overcooked chuck roast notwithstanding, the crust and flavoring on the chuck roast was excellent.

I also got good results by using the rub a porterhouse steak in a cast iron on the stove. I would occasionally get an especially peppery bite, but that’s why you have the red wine to wash it down.

Plan to use on: Brisket and tri-tip, naturally

Punch Rub ($25, link)

The aptly named Punch Rub is the spiciest of the bunch, but not overpoweringly so on the pork chops I grilled. The heat is not for kids or the faint of heart *cough*Mrs.Monk*cough* but if you are a spice head there’s nothing you can’t handle here. The rub contains high quality ingredients sourced from Mexico, France, and India.

Plan to use on: My next set of baby back or spare ribs, with a sweeter sauce to counteract the heat

Big Rub ($25, link)

The Big Rub is a more savory rub that still provides a kick on the back end due to the Tellicherry, Aleppo, and Urfa peppers. Again, this rub was too spicy for my kids on pork chops (amateurs) but not so for Mrs. Monk.

Plan to use on: Pork tenderloin or chicken or mixed into burgers

Many thanks to Billy Twang for reaching out and providing these rubs for a product test. Click here for ordering information

Product Review: Low Country BBQ Rub from Fire of Coals

Fire of Coals is a Charlotte-based small batch and hand crafted barbecue rub and sauce company run by Lawrence Heath, who is active in the community barbecue scene, regularly helping out the Charlotte Rescue Mission, churches, and local boyscout troops using his NC-made BQ whole hog trailer. I’ve been following the Fire of Coals Instagram account for a few years now and as it turns out, Lawrence is actually a neighbor of mine.

I found this out when I bought a used burn barrel off a NC barbecue Facebook group and lo and behold, the seller was Lawrence and he lived not a quarter mile from me in south Charlotte. Once we got to talking barbecue it wasn’t too long that we figured out that we followed each other. Small world.

Along with the burn barrel, I also purchased a bag of his “Lowcountry BBQ Rub” which is an all natural ingredient rub made with assorted spices, brown sugar (there is a no sugar variant as well), and curiously enough, coffee grounds from Charlotte-based Enderly Coffee. The packaging states that it is gluten free and works with pork, poultry, beef, and seafood. Over the next couple of weeks I gave the rub a spin on a few different pork items – ribs, a small pork butt, and a pork tenderloin – as well as chicken wings from Joyce Farms and was generally more than pleased with the results.

The ribs were the most successful of the pork items. I’ve gotten into ribs a bit more recently and twice I used the Lowcountry BBQ rub as the base rub before finishing with a couple of different barbecue sauces (Rufus Teague Honey BBQ and Lillie’s Q Memphis). Whether it was due to a new technique, the rub, the sauces, or (more than likely) a combination of each, these were the best ribs I’ve smoked in my life. As in, not even close between these ribs and previous racks I’ve smoked that were overdone and dry.

As for a pork butt, I’ve become really accustomed to simply using salt on them a la Lexington Barbecue. This time around with the Lowcountry Rub on a 5.5 lb smaller pork butt cooking at a higher temp, the pork butt came out well but all things considered I might prefer just salt. Certainly no shots at the Fire of Coals rub, but I might just be getting stuck in my ways.

Finally, I tried the rub on a pork tenderloin cooked in a pan on the oven as well as some smoked wings on my Weber, both to great results. Based on the results of each of these meats, I can see myself continuing to reach for it on future cooks, perhaps giving it a try on some seafood or some beef.

The story behind Fire of Coals is detailed on the rub packaging, stating how Lawrence’s family is originally from “the Cape Fear River Basin area of eastern Carolina and cooked farm raised pork, chicken, beef, wild game, seafood and garden fresh produce for community gatherings on the Heath family farm.” It’s a pretty cool backstory to the company and a reminder that buying from Fire of Coals is supporting local (and in my case, hyper local).

Order the “Lowcountry BBQ Rub” online at Fire of Coals

Product Review: The White Sauce

Monk: Earlier this year, Anna from The White Sauce out of Flintstone, GA (right across the state line from Chattanooga) reached out to me about her family’s White Sauce that was created in 1978 but had just recently begun to be bottled. While I’m not normally a white sauce kind of guy (though I have dabbled in making my own), I figured something that’s stuck around for over 40 years is worth trying.

For a white sauce, chicken wings made the most sense and I just happened to buy a 2.5 lb bag of frozen chicken wings at the beginning of the “shelter at home” order here in NC. I was inspired by Sweet Lew’s in Charlotte, whose smoked chicken wings I’ve tried before are also finished with an Alabama white sauce (though that doesn’t appear to be on the normal menu, just a smoked half chicken). I sprinkled the wings with Matt’s Rub from Midwood Smokehouse and put them on the grill. Once they were nearly done, I tossed the wings in The White Sauce and finished them back on the grill.

The wings came out fantastic. The tangy white sauce was not overly sweet and perfectly counteracted the slight heat of the Matt’s Rub. It also provided a nice change of pace from a sweeter, ketchup-based sauce like Sweet Baby Ray’s or Stubb’s that I tend to use for grilling chicken. I’ve since used it on grilling bone-in chicken breasts and it only cemented how much I enjoy the sauce.

The White Sauce boasts that you can use it on “salads, dips, veggies, potatoes and more” and while I haven’t done that quite yet, I will definitely be using it on wings again. And perhaps eventually on some actual smoked chicken.

Link to The White Sauce website


Alabama is famous for its “White Sauce”. The traditional white sauce from Alabama is horseradish based and pretty tart, but our white sauce is the perfect blend of creamy and sweet. The White Sauce was first created back in 1978 by our mom as a sauce to put on smoked chicken but over the years it has been used to compliment not just meats, but also salads, dips, veggies, potatoes, and much much more! 

Our dad was a baseball coach in Chattanooga, TN, where the baseball team was responsible for running the concession stand at all home basketball games. Basketball games became synonymous with “Coach’s” smoked turkey sandwiches and white sauce. Even fans from visiting teams would come to games asking if we had the white sauce. We have never seen anyone try it and not like it! No lie!​​

We have sold The White Sauce out of our family’s restaurant in Chattanooga for years, but had not bottled it…until now! The White Sauce is now available for you to purchase and enjoy in your own home!! So order some today!