When I was asked to “guest post” here at the BBQ Beat website, I was honored to be asked, but also humble to be able to tell more and more Q’ers that we exist. Allow me to tell you a bit about me, and my 1 year old company Above the Coals BBQ/Grill Seasonings.
Where it all started
My BBQ experience dates back to when I was a kid. We’d smoke ribs and chicken, grill lots of food and have the summer cookouts like most families do. I had one advantage over many…My family was in the restaurant business. For over 25 years I was around recipes, food, some of the finest cuts of meat, and of course, a kitchen to work in. I’d experiment with all kinds of food over the years, and listen to the hunters that would come in and talk about there take over a few cups of coffee. It was a gift that was free and I was glad to take it all in. Let’s fast forward to the present day…or close to it…
When hosting a party in 2012 a friend asked me if I would be interested in making some You Tube videos for all the folks out there that don’t know how to grill, or for that matter…start up some charcoal without dousing it with fluid (a huge no-no). I took that question and ran with it. It made me think that if I was to do some videos, that I should have a product. The birth of the company was taking place….right now!
Starting from scratch
I started with a lot of research, mixing a lot of product, and throwing a lot of the Alpha tests out in the trash. My desire was to have 1 rub that would be different from all the rest in the stores, but better than what you would throw together at home. Over the course of 2-3 months, day in and day out, it was a goal to perfect this “go to rub” going into the Spring of 2013. From September to December of 2012 I developed what is now our Signature Classic Seasoning and our #1 seller. I thought, at this point I was having so much fun that I wanted to do more. I wanted spicy and some heat.
I started in late November with a seasoning that was meant for pork and brisket. To me, it was over the top delicious and brought that texture that I was looking for when I was thinking of bark. But, it wasn’t what I was looking for. So, I started a seasoning that brought the kitchen sink for flavor, and used fresh dehydrated veggies in it. I was destine to make a seasoning that was spicy, with tons of flavor and the taste of fresh dehydrated green bell peppers. I shelved the delicious brisket recipe and honed the recipe for what is now our 2 Alarm Seasoning. Now it was time to test them and see what people thought.
Testing 1, 2, 3…
In Feb of 2013, Beth (my other half) and I decided to hold a taste test here at the house for the seasonings that were developed. With so many people interested in attending, we ran 2 taste tests in February 2013. The first test was about 10 people and we served chicken and pork and the Classic seasoning was a hit. Right out of the gate, this was a winner!
The feedback on the 2 Alarm was awesome and we took all that info into consideration and made some minor changes. So, before the tasting was over, I brought out the seasoning that I was working on for brisket and pork…and one that wasn’t on any meat at the testing…they said…”What is is?” My response was “this is what I am calling my version of “a Carolina Heat Wave.” It was tested, and I saw one participant keep going back for more…then the chips came out and he was dipping chips in it and couldn’t get enough! He asked “are you going to make this?” Stunned, I said “It wasn’t on the list of something I was looking to add, but I will look for more feedback in the next tasting.”
Granted to say, the next tasting had close to 2 dozen people at my home and the response to the Classic, 2 Alarm, and the new “Carolina Heat Wave” was off the charts. We had some suggestions on the 2 Alarm, but the Classic ruled the day…again! Now we needed one thing….a name.
What’s your name?
Coming up with a name in a category (BBQ Seaonings/Spices/Sauces) is a daunting task. You don’t want to take anyone else’s name or be remotely close to it. You also wanted to have an identity that will stick with you for years to come. After listing close to 20 names, I consulted with a friend in Dallas and also with Beth. The important thing here is that the word was out on a majority of our social spaces that the seasoning tastings were completed and we were close to being ready to sell our product. We were holding off because of the name and we continued to get messages, texts, and even some calls from friends from the net that wanted to know…”When can I order some?” The pressure was on…
From Massachusetts, to California, to Florida to Washington State…desire for our product forced our hand in making a decision on the name and we were ready. My tagline was “Above the Coals, where everything tastes better” was the key to my love for Above the Coals, the name. For what started as a thought of doing some videos and wanting a product in those videos, has turned into a product that has been shipped globally as far as New Zealand, Japan, the U.K, Canada and here in the majority of the states in the US.
It’s important to know that I wanted my fellow Grillmasters and Back Yard BBQ’ers to the hardcore BBQ community to know that our seasonings aren’t like anything you will find on the shelves in the local butcher shop or markets. I have developed a handcrafted seasoning using techniques that set us apart from everyone else. Above the Coals isn’t crunchy, fully dehydrated, or made more than a month ago. (sometimes the day you order me make it!) We pride ourselves on taste, pride that goes into our process, and freshness. I tell people all the time, try us because you don’t know how long your store bought product as been in a warehouse or sitting in a stockroom.
Before giving you all the links to everyplace we are located, it’s important to note that the feedback we get is worth its weight in gold from our customers. This feedback is from someone that I have never met before, who wanted others to know how she felt about Above the Coals:
“I have ordered several times from Chris. I can testify that his product is amazing. I get so many compliments on the flavor of the meats. I’ve tried all of his seasonings and they are all amazing. Chris is also great to deal with and shipping is fast. I have given his seasonings as a fathers day gift to my dad and he loved them as well. I did not know Chris before this, so I’m not promoting for him just being honest.”
For look at a product review that was done in the summer of 2013, check out this post.
Since starting this venture, we are now at 6 seasonings:
- Signature Classic
- 2 Alarm
- The 617
- Carolina Heat Wave
- El Toro
All the descriptions and our products are located at www.abovethecoals.com
We offer our products on our main site www.abovethecoals.com and also on our Square Marketplace site as well. It’s great to follow us everywhere because we do offer coupon codes via all of our social sites. You can find us on Square here.
If you want Above the Coals in your local store/supermarket, we are now offering our Signature Classic, Carolina Heat Wave, and our latest offering “El Toro” our habanero based seasoning for distribution. Tell em about us and give them our email!
As I mentioned above, we are located on the following sites:
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/abovethecoals
- Google + Above the Coals on Google +
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/
- Pinterest: http://www.
In closing, I want to thank Kevin Sandridge for allowing me to post about Above the Coals BBQ/Grill Seasonings.As I said at the top of this guest post, it’s an honor and a pleasure be here.
Above The Coals BBQ/Grill Seasonings: 15% Discount On Our Products!
As a token of my appreciation, I would like to make this coupon code good for 15% off your entire purchase at www.abovethecoals.com. Please use “bbqbeat15” at checkout for your savings! Heck, send it to your friends too! (If you are looking for our new retail bottles pictured above, check out our blog…you can find them there!
Above the Coals BBQ/Grill Seasonings