Like many teenagers, my first part-time job was at a local restaurant as it was the best available option for a high-schooler-needing-cash. But, unlike most other teenagers I stayed in the industry...working at restaurants, hotels, and later even getting a degree in food service management. I capped this off by creating, owning and operating a coffee bar for over 20 years.
When I worked in restaurants I'd always experiment with flavors, upgrading a house sauce by adding spices to improve it. I'd spice foods differently then trained and make them to my own liking. I'd create recipes for foods and make them wherever I could.
Fast forward to the early 90's and my wife Tracy and I were in the planning stages of our coffee bar. Applying the same process with coffee as I did with foods in restaurants I ordered a bunch of coffees, experimented, tasted, and then created my own blends. Jack's Blend was the house blend for our coffee bar and it gained a cult following. With a balance of flavor that appealed to many its fame spread far and wide...well, at least in our local world it did.
A number of years back I got serious with smoking and grilling in the back yard. I've always enjoyed grilling steaks, chicken, pork, veggies...whatever fire and smoke would improve, but my passion increased based on a new stage in life for me. I had completely renovated my back yard (reclaimed it from kids-now-grown, dog and neglect), created a beautiful 20 X 40 patio and and now had a space to entertain. Also, my wife and I had recently sold our business and I had lots of free time on my hands.
I used my existing equipment for a while, but wanted a new smoker. I studied and researched for 2 years before driving over 2,000 miles to pick up Black Betty (a Lang Smoker), in my opinion the best stick burner made. Lang also hosts a Q-School with classes led by BBQ Hall of Fame'r Paul Kirk, arguably one of the finest BBQ educators there is, and I signed up for it. And from that class developed the first version of Jack's Blend BBQ Rub - a fortuitous class to be sure!
Upon returning home I made and packaged batches of the rub. It didn't take long for that recipe to replace the rubs purchased from others. And as my wife and I entertained, using Jack's Blend BBQ Rub to season ribs, pork butt, brisket and more, it didn't take long for friends to start asking for a container to take home.
Only time will tell if Jack's Blend Rubs & Seasonings remains small and local or someday grows beyond that. In the mean time, I'll experiment, develop other products, and if they pass the friends and family test sell them to the public.
Learn about Jack's Blend Rubs & Seasonings, the science and art behind creating them and how to purchase.