August’s Meet the Chef: Russ Jaques, pitmaster, Smokey Rebel, Challock
What led you to becoming a Pitmaster?
BBQ has long been a passion of mine and is well and truly in my DNA. Some of my fondest memories growing up are when my father and I would break out the smoker and BBQ when I was just a young boy in the 90s at our family home in Kent. Back then hardly anyone was using BBQ smokers in the UK. The thrill of the process and the amazing food my father smoked had me hooked even at a young age.
Where did you train?
The early years working with my father on his cooks helped me develop my fire control skills which are crucial when operating traditional stick-burning smokers. I then used these skills to develop my cooking techniques further. Over the years I have been lucky enough to travel all over the USA, meeting different BBQ Pitmasters and eating world class BBQ as I went – I’ve picked up lots of tips, tricks and the culture along the way. The BBQ community is a great one, full of people more than willing to share their knowledge and wisdom on all things BBQ. I have combined this with trial and error over the last 20 years to make me the BBQ pitmaster I am today.
What is The Smokey Rebel Concept?
We wanted to develop the Smokey Rebel range of rubs so everyone has the ability to sprinkle on some authentic pitmaster BBQ flavour when preparing their food to help enhance their cooks whether that be using the smoker, BBQ or kitchen.
When designing each rub we start from the ground up, using only premium spices and ingredients together with the individual bespoke labels and characters for each rub which tell a story to help set your scenes on fire! People in the US travel far and wide to find quality BBQ and follow their favorite pitmasters, both for the flavor and for the story that comes with it. Our rubs are designed to blow taste buds away however you cook with them with depth, balance and the right amount of heat!
Smokey Rebel’s Mission is to bring the real deal US-style BBQ taste over the pond to the UK starting in the garden of England, Kent. We are now also authorised Yoder pellet smoker dealers and specialists. This means we have been able to import – all the way from Kansas USA – one of the world’s biggest and best competition pellet smokers: the Yoder Cimarron! You will be able to see this beast popping up at promotional events and private hire with our Smokey Rebel BBQ Club Experience coming to Kent this summer.
Who is Smokey Rebel?
Well, ‘Smokey’, our mascot, is the embodiment and characterisation of our concept and the Smokey Rebel lifestyle he represents. A swashbuckling waggish racoon who loves BBQ and shenanigans; who doesn’t right?!
What is your signature/favourite dish?
My favourite BBQ is Mexique, which is a Texas and Mexican infusion. Mesquite smoked brisket taco rubbed in our Revolution Rub topped with homemade salsa and guacamole.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Burnt ends from brisket; it’s pitmaster’s privilege – also seen as the best bit and everyone’s favourite. I always feel guilty if I don’t save any for others!
Smoky Rebels Pork Carnitas – Mexican Pulled Pork
This is crowd-pleasing family favourite for the slow cooker made using a Smoky Rebels’ special recipe smoky rub.
Pork shoulder with skin removed
1 chopped onion
1 chopped jalapeño
Few shakes of chipotle chicken rub
- Season a pork shoulder with Smokey Rebels chipotle chicken rub and place in slow cooker.
- Whack the chopped onion and chopped jalapeno straight on top of the pork in the slow cooker.
- No messing… Cut the oranges in half and hand squeeze over the pork.
- Set your slow cooker on low for 10 hours.
- Remove the pork from the slow cooker after 10 hours and shred using two forks.
- Carnitas isn’t carnitas unless it’s crispy, so grab a frying pan, add a little oil, turn to medium-high heat and once the pan is hot, fry the pork to a crispness of your liking.
- Heap the pork on small tortillas and serve topped with salsa, chopped coriander and your favourite sauce.
- Tuck into an effortless dinner that delivers on flavour and is a big hit with the family!