006 Tony Gimellaro – BBQ Rubs and Sauces

006 Tony Gimellaro -
BBQ Rubs

In Episode Six of the Comp Ready series of The Smoking Hot Confessions Podcast, I chat with Tony Gimellaro from The Beard and the BBQ. Please be sure to Subscribe to the Podcast and leave a Review to spread the love.

Tony’s team is currently in the Top Ten in the country, he’s a caterer, and now a sauce producer with his signature line of sauces available nation-wide in the chain of Barbeques Galore stores. In this podcast Tony shares everything he knows about BBQ Rubs and Sauces.

Thanks and appreciation go to Coastline Barbeques and Heating for sponsoring the first series of the Smoking Hot Confessions podcast. Check out their website for more!



  • Calls American BBQ ‘BBQ BBQ’
  • First had BBQ in Carolina, USA while on holiday in 2006
  • He is really driven by the desire to achieve perfection
  • Tony’s progression moved along when he was either bored with what he was doing or learned what the next thing was and wanted to have a go
  • A friend suggested he get into blogging, which he did. Jess Pryles coached him on his blog as he was getting tired of blogging and wanted to move on. He got tired of cooking something and not being able to eat it for thirty minutes while photographing it
  • The advice from Jess involved asking Tony where did he want to go with BBQ
  • Judging has really helped Tony get a good idea of what he needed to do to be a great competitor
  • “There’s so much luck involved in competition BBQ… you could hand in the best brisket you’ve ever done… and it could land on the worst table ever.”
  • Has spent time working on recipes that suit his own taste buds but is now developing more universal flavours
  • He competed in 7 competitions in 2016
  • Got 3rd place lamb at Brisbane BBQ Festival. Flew up from Sydney and borrowed gear from friends
  • Came 3rd at Meatstock Port Macquarie in his 3rd ever competition
  • To keep himself organised to get to so many comps, he uses numerous lists. Everything is on a list
  • Tony’s team is a one-man team in order to maintain control of organisation
  • “When BBQ consumes you as much as it has me, you don’t have much else going on in your life”
  • Has a pit, meat and fuel sponsor
  • Everyone has to get something out of the sponsorship deals – Tony has made arrangements with his sponsors where he will do things and they will do things
  • Tony is planning on doing two events per month
  • A rub is a combination of seasoning that you put on the meat and depending on the ingredients can form a bark around the outside of the meat
  • Tony doesn’t use mustard to hold a rub onto the meat – he hasn’t noticed a difference in final result. He uses oil when he remembers, otherwise he uses nothing
  • He uses peanut oil, or olive oil if he can’t get peanut oil. Peanut oil has a high smoke point
  • When matching rubs with meats, Tony doesn’t like using sugar-based rubs on beef. Sugars work really well in rubs for white meats. His rule is sweet for white meat and savoury for red
  • His competition rub for his brisket has ten ingredients but his rub for his service brisket (catering) only has three
  • In a competition rub:
    • It needs to stand out a bit
  • For people new to competitions, Tony believes you should have a go at making your own rub to make sure you’re not handing in the same flavours as the person next to you. At minimum, blend some different store bought rubs and blend them together into something unique
  • Don’t be afraid to try something new
  • Tony is a sprinkle and pat guy rather than a dump and rub guy when it comes to applying his rubs. He keeps one hand dirty and one hand clean and sprinkles on the rub with one hand and pats it on with the other
  • He puts a lot more rub on his comp meats than his service meat
  • Rubs will not penetrate any more than 10mm into the meat at the absolute max
  • At competitions, Tony uses his own brand of sauces with a few extra ingredients mixed in
  • He prefers glaze type sauces with white meats so you can still see the meat
  • Sauces need to work complimentarily with the rubs – Tony’s rubs are often quite salty, so his sauces are quite sweet
  • Sauces need to stand out, but not stand out too much. Try to go further than just something sweet with a bit of heat
  • If someone were to DIY their competition sauces
    • Make sauces at home before the comps
    • Simplify your sauce range: Tony uses ONE sauce for his red meats and ONE sauce for his white meats
    • Simplify everything: he used to have 5 rubs, 4 sauces and 4 injections, but now he has simplified everything right down
  • Tony dips his chicken in the sauce, rather than put the sauce ON the chicken. As such, he doesn’t want a particularly strong flavoured sauce as it will overpower his chicken
  • Tony prefers a brush to a mop. You can be precise with a brush and a brush will make less mess. It’s also too easy to knock the rub off the meat with a mop
  • Choose what’s important to you: glazing is for when presentation is more important, and saucing is for when flavour is more important
  • Tony’s manufacturing of sauces started from doing demonstrations with his sponsor and the public started asking about buying the sauce
    • He had to go through a food scientist to get the labelling done
    • His kitchen had to be approved by council as a commercial kitchen
    • Barbecues Galore approached him out of the blue and put in an order for 2000 bottles
    • He then had to outsource the manufacturing to a professional kitchen
  • The biggest hurdle he had to overcome was scaling the operation from kitchen to commercial
    • Letting it go was probably the hardest part
  • Tony likes to use a lot of native ingredients in his product lines
    • Herbs and spices particularly
  • When he’s out on the pit, Tony prefers to just drink water rather than any kind of alcohol
    • He doesn’t want the alcohol to interfere with the flavour of the food he’s eating
  • He likes to eat with his hands coz he thinks it tastes better
  • Tony’s basic white meat rub
    • Equal parts salt, sugar & pepper
    • ½ part onion and garlic
  • For beef, just salt and pepper
  • There’s a brand of rub called Sucklebusters which is a generic flavour, designed for people to add to it
  • Tony’s three tips
    • Don’t be too afraid to compete and don’t be shy – ask questions
    • Plan everything out really well to make sure you have everything you need
    • Make sure you get some sleep



Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
Share on email



One thought on “006 Tony Gimellaro – BBQ Rubs and Sauces

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *