This Review is done by Steve Lengen. He is a fan of the show and we asked him to do a quest review. So here is it.
I love the smooth, smoky flavor and the inevitable bite of good bourbon, mind you I haven't had a drop of alcohol aside from NyQuil in twelve years, but I still love that combination. I also love barbeque, in every city I go to I pre-research the best barbecue in town and set aside at least one night to eat there, often by myself, sometimes with a colleague or friend. I always get whatever three meat platter or sandwich they have, ribs, pulled pork, and beef brisket are the usual (gotta try a little of everything!) I have stumbled upon some ridiculous creations, The Big Bad Wolf, at Big Bad Wolf's in Baltimore, the Brother Bear Burger at Brother Bear's BBQ in Hammonton, NJ. Naturally my two loves have come together in a variety of sauces, rubs, seasonings, mops, and marinades, but very few that I have tried really capture the true essence of the bourbon, oh they are delicious in their own right, but not truly bourbon flavored. If you love bourbon and barbecue I'm sure you've experienced the same, so when you discover little gems like Jim Beam barbeque sunflower seeds, or Jack Daniels Master Blend barbeque sauce, with a flavor that is all barbeque and all bourbon at the same time, it's a game changer. I found just such a game changer completely by accident October of 2013.
It was a crisp Fall day, beard and flannel weather, my wife, two kids and I went apple picking at Alstede Farms in Chester. After a wonderful day eating apples and enjoying the country air (no not all of NJ smells like the Turnpike), we took to wandering around the farm store when a little brown paper package jumped up and grabbed me by the wrist, I'm pretty sure old man Lysander taught it how. It was Lysander's Bourbon Rub, I looked at my wife and said, “Can we keep him?”
I have since used that rub on various steaks, though my favorites have been T-bones and ribeyes, I have used it on chicken and fish as well, but I like it best on steaks. For me the rub has been a grill rub, not a barbeque rub, barbeque meaning the art of cooking over low heat for long periods of time generally involving the use of smoke as a primary ingredient in the cooking process. The way I use it is pretty standard rub procedure, I take steaks out maybe an hour before grilling, sprinkle and rub to my liking, so the salt in the rub is drawing moisture to the surface while my steaks are approaching room temperature and the rest of the flavorings soak into the meat a bit. As a quick caveat for the new barbecue enthusiast, you want to get meat to about room temperature before grilling or barbequing so that you don't wind up finishing the outside while the inside is still raw, particularly with thick cuts of meat. I use a Brinkmann charcoal grill with a side offset smoker, it is not the fanciest nor the most expensive piece of grilling apparatus out there, but it has worked wonders for me and I grill and smoke a fair bit year round. I use a simple chimney starter and newspaper and Royal Oak lump hard wood charcoal. I will be trying a South American hardwood charcoal called Quebracho in the near future, but for the past few years I have used Royal Oak and love it, the 17.6lb bag is under $15 and can be found at Home Depot. For most steaks I cook over direct high heat, turning slightly during the sear to get those diamond grill marks we all covet (mine are far from perfect yet), and flip about 2/3 the way done, so that most of my cooking is done on one side, and I'm mainly just searing the second side. The rub itself has a little bit of spice to it, a smoky undertone that I sometimes aid with some hickory chips, and a definitive bite of bourbon flavor that I absolutely love. It was a sad day when that little bag ran out, but I was thankfully able to find the rub for sale on Amazon even at a bit of a discount. Lysander's Bourbon Rub has become my absolute go to rub for steaks.