A Review of Big Al’s Texas Rubs

Big Al's Rubs

      Stacie and I had the pleasure of meeting Big Al this past weekend at the Plano Outlaw Eggfest. Although he claimed he did not own a Big Green Egg, he and his wife were cooking up a storm and putting out some pretty tasty food. Big Al is a quite a character, a very funny guy indeed. And even though he does come from that maroon school that will soon be leaving the Big 12, we won’t hold it against him, although he did give my wife quite a bit of grief for her burnt orange shirt…..but I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, Big Al….great guy who I would love to sit down and have a cold beer with while tending a barbecue pit. I’m sure he has tons of great stories.

At the Eggfest, he had plenty of rubs for sale, along with some spices and some hot sauces. Two of them caught my eye, the Mesquite Flavor and the Hell From Texas (of course those two did, I’m from Texas after all). Big Al explained to us his philosophy of rubs and let us know that his rubs were all natural, contained no preservatives and had no sugar or MSGs. That immediately caught my attention as a lot of rubs will add those last two as filler and some will be composed mostly of those. So it sounded like these would be a good quality, high flavor packing rub. I told myself, “Self, you should get some of these rubs before you leave and try them out.” And that is exactly what I did.

Now before we go any farther, let me share with you the story he has written on his bottles of rub:

“I just want to thank you for buying my products; I put a lot of love in every bottle. All my products are made with Texas pride and my passion to create the very best rubs and sauces for you. I blend my rubs with all-natural ingredients, no MSG or preservatives so you’re not eating anything you can’t pronounce! As a certified BBQ snob with 35 years of experience, my expertise in these matters are unmatched. I hope you enjoy my products!

Here’s to Texas, here’s to you, and here’s to the best dang barbeque you can make!”

One last thing before we get started (I know, I’m taking forever, aren’t I?) I just want to let you know that I do not work for Big Al, I am not getting paid for this by Big Al, I was not handed a large sum of money in a back alley for this review (or even a small sum), I am in no way affiliated with him or his product. In fact, outside of hearing about his product before Saturday, I have never met the man in my life. Ok, that’s the end of my disclaimer., now on to the review.

Yesterday afternoon, I was rooting around in the freezer, trying to figure out what I could throw on the Egg for dinner as she was feeling a bit n-egg-lected after being ignored all weekend. I came across a package of drumsticks and decided that sounded pretty good and it would be a great way to try out some of my new rubs that I got from Big Al.  After the wifey got home, I fired up the BGE to 400 F so that we could grill up them legs. I decided to use some Ozark Oak Hardwood Lump Charcoal as it doesn’t seem to be as heavy a smoke flavor as my normal mesquite lump and I really wanted to taste the flavor of the rubs by themselves without any extra smokey flavor.

The package of the legs I found contained six legs, so three of them got rubbed down with the Mesquite Flavor and three got the Hell From Texas.  Then on to the Egg they went in my hanging chicken rack that you might remember from an earlier post.

Hanging Legs

 Sorry that pictures kinda dark. Our backyard isn’t lit up too well. Thankfully we’ll be moving soon. Now as I’ve said before, I don’t go much by time when I’m ‘cueing, but by temp and for chicken you want to go to at least 165 to be safe. On the Egg, you can go quite a bit higher and not dry out the chicken and get a nice crispy skin. These ones went to about 185-190 before I pulled them off, and man was that skin nice and crispy! (but not burnt)

Ready to be eaten

 Now we just need to whip up some sides real quick to round out the meal.


 Stacie and I each took 2 legs that had the two different seasonings so we could get a taste of both and here is what we thought.

Mesquite Flavor

Stacie – Nice mesquite flavor. Not too overpowering. It was delicious.

Me- Had a hint of mesquite flavoring, but not overbearing. Would be great for a cook on a gas grill or an oven where you just can’t get that mesquite flavor from burning chips or chunks of mesquite. I would like to use it again with some mesquite wood to see how it turns out.

Hell From Texas

Stacie – Fantastic kick, but not overpowering. Full of flavor.

Me- Loved it. Had a nice heat to it without being too powerful. Got a little burn on the lips and developed a nice heat in the back of my throat. Looking forward to using this rub more to get a better idea of the flavor. My only complaint….I didn’t cook enough chicken. I still wanted more after I was done.

Big Al make a fantastic rub. It just might replace my old stand by go to rub. I would recommend it to anybody that likes bbq and is looking for a new rub to try. In fact, I can’t wait to get my hands on some of his Original Flavor and his South of Hell Hot Sauce….maybe the Chili Mix as well. Go out and get you some and let me know what you think.

You can see his full line of rubs and other products at his website




Hanging Chicken Legs

     I remember growing up, Sunday night meals were always special to me. Whether it was spending quality time with the family, discussing the past week and the upcoming week, or because it was a special dinner cooked with love  from my Mom. Whatever it was, it brings back fond memories. Lately, we haven’t been having those “special” Sunday night dinners. In fact, it’s kind of becoming a tradition of ordering Chinese delivery because we are so tired from the weekend and just don’t feel like the hassle of cooking and then cleaning up. This Sunday, I decided I was going to cook up something nice, something that would be comforting for me.  I also wanted to use my hanging chicken racks and work on a recipe that I will probably be preparing for the http://planooutlaweggfest.com/ in November.

     I got some chicken legs at the store and brought them home and seasoned them up with a bit of John Henry’s Texas Chicken Tickler rub and some garlic powder, onion powder, a bit of Italian Seasoning, some McCormick’s Montreal Chicken and some cracked black pepper. There really was no rhyme or reason, it just sounded like it would all work together.  Next, I got the Egg set up and stabilized at 375 on the dome thermometer (which generally results in about 350 at the grate level.  Decided to go with some mesquite wood chunks to give it a bit of smokey flavor.  Then I put the hanging chicken rack on the grate and placed the legs onto the rack.

Chicken Legs on the Hanging Rack

      You might be wondering what the purpose of the rack is. The hanging chicken rack actually serves three purposes. 1.) The rack allows you to cook more chicken in a smaller area than you would be able to if you laid them down flat. That is a good thing when your grilling space is limited, like on an Egg. But I actually had these racks before I had my Egg, and they came in handy when I was doing large cooks with ribs, or brisket, or turkey and still needed just a tiny bit more room to fit all the food on. 2.) When using the rack, you no longer need to worry about when to flip the chicken, because you don’t need to flip the chicken at all. 3.)  Using the rack elevates the chicken a little bit higher than if they were laying flat which prevents burning due to flare ups while also allowing them to cook more evenly.

     If you are interested in racks, they aren’t very expensive. I found mine at World Market a few years ago for about $5 apiece. You might have trouble finding them there right now as stores tend to think the “grilling season” is over. I have also seen them at Home Depot and Lowe’s. So you might check there, but they are also cutting out their “seasonal items”, so your best bet might be to go to a dedicated bbq store or look online. (I just hopped over to amazon and found them going anywhere from $5 to $22.)

30 Minute Check

      I checked on them after 30 minutes, what I was figuring would be the halfway mark. They are starting to get a nice color and everything is looking good. You’ll notice that I’m only cooking six legs (it was just the wife and I), but if you look closely, you can see that a rack will hold up to 12 legs. I’ve got two racks, so I can easily cook 24 legs at a time. Depending on the appetite of your guests and the amount and type of sides, that will easily serve 8 to 12 people.

     Here the legs are finished. They ended up taking about 45 minutes. They have a nice reddish-brown color, and didn’t burn at all. Make sure when you are cooking chicken that you cook to a minimum of 165 to be safe (pull at 160 and let rest for 5 minutes and they will carry over to 165). I’ve found that anything over that, breasts will dry out, but dark meat, like the legs and thighs can tolerate more heat. These were pulled at 180, and were moist and juicy. We plated these up with some mashed taters and some green beans and had a salad on the side.
Plated Up

      I think everything turned out wonderful . The chicken was nice and juicy, with just a hint of smoke, the skin was crispy and had a nice bite to it. I might tweak the seasonings on the legs just a tad and maybe use some cherry wood next time, but I think I’ll be doing these at the Plano Outlaw Eggfest Nov. 5. Hope you enjoyed the pictures and don’t forget to leave a comment.