Ahoy maties! I have been making BBQ rubs and spice blends for nearly two Decades. It started as blending my own rubs for my BBQ exploits and then about ten years ago turned into a craft gift at holiday season. I would get requests for refills throughout the year as well as commentary on the current vintage versus the prior years’ and so forth.
Why the Pirate theme? BBQ is a noun were I grew up in eastern NC. Pirates and BBQ go together like the Colonel and fried chicken. My alma mater’s (ECU) mascot is the Pirates. As a kid, we used to travel through Bath, NC which is thought to have been the home of Blackbeard. There was a sailboat moored on the creek which I dreamt to have been Queen Anne’s Revenge (Blackbeard’s ship). It wasn’t, of course, as ECU researchers have discovered its remains in the Atlantic and retrieved artifacts. The icing on the cake is Pirate Emanuel Wynne (my surname sake) flew the first Jolly Roger (originally along the Carolinas that included north Florida at the time). This Jolly Roger flies atop the Zest Coast brand. I currently reside on the west coast of Florida in Tampa Bay. Zest Coast is a play on west coast and meant to represent the zesty flavors of our products and our grilling buccaneer lifestyle. Now, we arrrr bringing a pirate’s life to you. Enjoy my plunder. Seize the Flavor and BarrrBQ like a Pirate.
I discovered grilling as a teenager in the mid seventies. Two blocks from my house was a propane store that had a display of grills and I talked my parents into purchasing one. I grilled a lot of steaks, chicken, and pork chops. In college, we had a community grill outside our apartment building. One after another would cook their food until the fire was done. It was not uncommon for folks to yell "hot grill" when taking their food off so the next could use it.
I began smoking foods when I had my first job and apartment in Pensacola, Florida. It was electric. I did turkeys and chickens primarily and the occasional pork butt. The relatively high heat made slow smoking difficult. I eventually got a charcoal bullet smoker when I had my first real backyard in Ft. Myers, Fl in the early nineties. I now have eight or so grills in my repertoire including a Weber Smokey Mountain, Weber Kettle, Traeger Pellet, Green Mountain Pellet, Big Green Egg, and Weber Genesis Gas.
In 2010, I considered doing BBQ contests so I became a Florida BBQ Association Certified BBQ Judge. The idea was to find out what the judges were looking for in the BBQ. I have yet to cook a contest but have great respect for the teams that do cook and especially the ones that can score well consistently.
For Christmas, I used to make mix CDs of holiday music in different themes and genres. I tried to have mixes of classics and obscure. These were made in the late Nineties and early Aughts. In 2008 or so, as streaming music began to emerge and my creative well was drying, I turned to BBQ Rub blends as my "craft" holiday gift. Ten years later, I launched Zest Coast so everyone can Seize the Flavor.
Oh, by the way, my other interests include bicycling, golf, disc golf, not fishing, listening to music (classic new wave, alternative rock, blues, and new indie rock music), and visiting craft breweries.
So the answer to the most frequent answer to any Grilling/smoking question I get is "Bet an quality instant read thermometer and use it." We recommend Thermoworks products.