You may have heard it said “Watch and learn.” It’s usually said in jest. But for truck driver Craig Grubb, barbecue is an entirely different matter—one where watching and learning is serious business.
“I watch the Pitmasters shows on TV. That’s where I learned to blend my own spices,” says Grubb, who also scours recipes online routinely.
If the truth be told, Grubb, a company driver for Smith Transport out of Roaring Springs, Pa., is a talented pitmaster in his own right. He makes his own barbecue sauces, experiments with sauces he finds at mom-and-pop shops and even has his own secret dry rub blend. The recipe is so secret, in fact, he won’t share it with anyone.
Grubb does however confess he often coats his meats with yellow mustard before adding a layer of his dry rub to them. The vinegar base in the mustard helps tenderize the meat, explains Grubb, who knows a thing or two about barbecue.
Firing up the Barbie
And he should. After all, he’s been at it for more than 20 years. An aficionado of smoking everything from pork ribs and brisket to game birds and pork shoulder, Grubb immerses himself in recipes and research and prides himself on his technique.
“Everyone barbecued when I was growing up, so I started doing it myself,” recalls Grubb, who has had a CDL trucking job for 30 years and was born into the business.
“Barbecuing is a big hobby,” Grubb adds.
At the Grubb household, big hobbies call for big gatherings. Whether it’s a full-on pig roast or not, Grubb fires up the smoker, invites friends and family over to share in the feast, and a party ensues. Any leftovers Grubb brings on the road with him.
Grubb is full of advice about smoking meats, too. To keep your meats from drying out, continually fill up your water pan, he says. Always smoke your meats “low and slow” at about 220 degrees. Have patience. And perhaps most importantly, “have friends who are willing to try what you cook,” Grubb advises.
“Having friends is definitely part of it,” he says. There is a sense of community that comes together around barbecue.”
Grubb recalls fondly the time last year he smoked two pork shoulders and built a big bonfire for friends and family in attendance.
“If you come to one of my barbecues and you go away hungry, it’s your own fault,” he says.
With Memorial Day right around the corner, we want to know what type of cooking gets you fired up, drivers. Connect with us here and share your specialty with us for a chance to be featured on Drive My Way.