Barbecue team’s spices hitting store shelvesJuly 23, 2020
By LEANN BURKE
ST. ANTHONY — It all started with the Heimatfest barbecue competition.
For St. Anthony native Jacob Lubbers and his friends — Bryce Nord, Alex Stenftenagel, Ethan Linne and Andy Thacker — that competition was a highlight of their summers growing up. Each year, they’d get up early, head over to the festival, purchase the $3 button and spend hours tasting the grilled meat flavored with an array of sauces and spices.
Fresh out of college in 2015, the friends returned to the Heimatfest’s barbecue competition to find it much smaller than they remembered. Rather than the 20 teams of the past, that year there were only three that competed. Determined not to let their beloved summer tradition die, they formed their own competition barbecue team — Full Boar BBQ — recruited other teams, and entered the 2016 competition.
In the four years since, Full Boar BBQ has carved out a name for itself among area barbecue competitions. And soon, three of the team’s spices will be available for purchase at Dubois County retailers, with three more in the works.
When Full Boar BBQ entered the Heimatfest’s barbecue competition for the first time, they never expected to win, much less have their spice rubs sell commercially a few years later.
“We came in there with very low expectations,” Lubbers said. “We just thought we couldn’t recruit others to do it if we weren’t willing to do it ourselves.”
Of the six teams that competed in 2016, Full Boar BBQ placed in the top three. After that, they were hooked. They’ve competed in several competitions since, and in 2019 won the Kentucky State BBQ Festival, which is one of the biggest barbecue competitions in the country. They’re known for showing up to competitions with a kettle grill and a smoker — a simple setup compared to the behemoths some teams use. Usually, Lubbers said, some of the other teams chuckle when they see their setup. But when Full Boar BBQ wins, the laughing stops.
“That’s kind of our thing,” Lubbers said. “We show up with one smoker and a Weber kettle grill, then we win.”
Though Full Boar BBQ travels throughout the region to compete, the Heimatfest remains their main event of the year. It’s a point of hometown pride for the Dubois County natives, and most of the team members still live in Dubois County. Lubbers, who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, is the exception, but he travels for work and makes his hometown a regular stop on his trips.
The hometown pride kicked in again when the team prepared to launch their spice line. As Lubbers looked for retailers for the spices, he focused on Dubois County, and many of the local stores were eager to stock the product. By early September, Full Boar BBQ spices will be available on the shelves of several local businesses: Southern Indiana Butcher Supply, Holiday Foods, Chocolate Bliss, Sander Processing, Ferdinand Processing, Merkley & Sons, Tom’s Lawn and Garden, The Schnitzelbank and St. Benedict’s Brew Works. St. Benedict’s also plans to feature the rubs on their menu as a flavor for their wings.
“It was cool talking to businesses here and seeing their support for a local product,” Lubbers said.
The members of Full Boar BBQ are eager to see how people use the spices once they hit the shelves. Lubbers set up an Instagram page, FullBoarBBQProducts, where the team will share photos of food customers submit. They also have two other Instagram accounts, FullBoarBBQ and ChefRobertTheBernedoodle. The latter features Lubbers’ dog as a chef.
For recipe ideas or to order spices, check out the team’s website, fullboarbbqproducts.com, or find them on Facebook.
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