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

Linkdown: 7/22/20

Welcome Back, Wilber’s!

Barbecue occupies several spots on GQ’s list of 53 Things You Should Eat Before Summer is Over

The California barbecue scene is on the upswing

Smorgasburg has reopened

RIOT RIBS

Barbecue Center is closed this week due to vacation

Noble Smoke is celebrating one year open this Saturday

Charlotte Barbecue News from the Second Quarter of 2020

Monk: Despite the generally bad outlook for restaurants, there was mostly positive news for our top ranked Charlotte barbecue restaurants. Noble Smoke and Sweet Lew’s both reopened with reduced capacity and social distancing measures in place and of course there is Jon G’s Barbecue which finally opened its long-awaited doors in Peachland.

Things were not so great for Queen City Q, which when we started the blog in 2012 was our second favorite barbecue restaurant in Charlotte at the time behind Midwood Smokehouse. And things seemed to be going pretty well in the mid-2010’s, with expansion to locations in Ballantyne, Matthews, and Concord. However, those quietly closed in recent years and the original location in Uptown Charlotte was apparently hanging on by a thread before it was forced to close as a result of the state’s pandemic response. It briefly opened in May as part of North Carolina’s phase 2 but then the final nail in the coffin came when it was forced to close again due to the threat of protests.

If I’m honest, Queen City Q had fallen off quite a bit from when it first opened. Our last visits were my solo trip to the Concord store in 2016 in which a poor experience prompted a re-review of the 6th Street location by Speedy and me a few weeks later. We left that visit disheartened and convinced that the drop in quality wasn’t an isolated incident. Neither of us had not been back since, and now they have shuttered their remaining location.

RIP Queen City Q (2012-2020)

April

4/7 Hillbilly’s Barbeque & Steaks in Lowell is moving to a new building on South Main Street

4/14 Jon G’s Barbecue updates their website ahead of their forthcoming brick and mortar in Peachland

4/20 Noble Smoke begins delivery service in Charlotte

4/30 Sweet Lew’s BBQ, which had been closed but serving their smoked meats out of Dish (also owned by Lewis Donald), announces they are reopening their store for to-go orders on May 7

May

5/1 Jon G’s Barbecue announces they are officially permitted for their upcoming restaurant

5/7 Sweet Lew’s BBQ reopens

5/20 A limited edition Sweet Lew’s BBQ shirt became available and supported two local small businesses with each purchase

5/21 Bill Spoon’s BBQ decides to remain curbside only even as restaurants are allowed to open with reduced capacity in phase 2

5/22 Noble Smoke reopens with extended safety precautions

June

6/4 Queen City Q announced that they are closing their uptown location, which was the last remaining location of their Charlotte locations after numbering as many as 4 in recent years.

6/8 Jon G’s Barbecue announces their soft opening dates starting June 19

6/19 Jon G’s Barbecue officially opens

6/27 Sweet Lew’s BBQ smoked enough pork for 175 plates for the Charlotte Community Kitchen

Linkdown: 7/1/20

Soul Food Scholar Adrian Miller writes about the union between July 4th and barbecue; thankfully he is “not talking about hamburgers and hot dogs on a kettle grill. I’m talking about ‘old school’ barbecue, where a whole animal carcass was skewered with wooden poles and cooked over a trench filled with burning coals from hardwood trees.”

Brisket roulade, you say?

Midwood Smokehouse’s Roadhouse burger, made of ground chuck and brisket, makes Charlotte Agenda’s Top 23 burgers in Charlotte list

Queen City Q is one of the 14 Charlotte businesses that have permanently closed due to COVID-19 according to Charlotte Five

Old Bay Hot Sauce while supplies last

Louie Mueller back

Some good deals to be had at Hardcore Carnivore in case you are woefully late on a Father’s Day gift (or heck, even Mother’s Day)

I will be eagerly following how this story about Southern Foodways Alliance director John T. Edge unfolds