Shropshire Star

'You don’t need to wait for the sun to come out to get barbecuing'

If you think barbecues are just for the summer season, think again!

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Come rain or shine, Russell Gill can be found grilling a wide variety of vegetables and meats in his outdoor kitchen.

“There’s a saying ‘BBQ 365’. We barbecue all year round. We put turkeys on the barbecue at Christmas. You don’t need to wait for the sun to come out to get barbecuing,” he says.

Russell and his wife Steph, who live in Shrewsbury, make rubs and seasonings inspired by their favourite cuisines from around the world.

“The business was a bit of an accident,” he explains. “I had always enjoyed entertaining family and friends and had always enjoyed cooking outside.

“I used to experiment with flavours for barbecues and friends would ask to take home a bit of the spice mix.”

His guests were so impressed with his creations that they encouraged him to try selling them.

The Rusty BBQ Company was founded in 2015 and has won multiple one and two gold star Great Taste awards.

Their products have earned Great Taste awards

And in 2023 it became the first British BBQ rub and seasonings producer to win the coveted three-star award.

At the moment, they have 20 different products in their range including Cherry Cola Sweet Wing and Rib Dust, Herby Garlic Butter and Chile Verde.

Many of the rubs have been influenced by their travels such as Korean Gochujang, Sri Lankan Roasted Curry Rub & Seasoning and South African Braai Rub & Seasoning. Every product is made by hand by Russell and Steph who are passionate about creating rubs and seasonings that are full of delicate but complex flavours.

Where possible, they source ingredients from local and British producers. Their herbs such as rosemary, oregano and wild garlic are grown in Scotland.

The rubs work equally well with meat, fish or vegetables

For more exotic ingredients such as the chillies that they use in their blends, they work with a small network of independent cooperatives overseas while their paprikas are bought directly from small farmers and producers nestled in the hills of Hungary.

Russell enjoys experimenting with different ingredients to create a product that evokes memories of a favourite dish – or drink.

“I always do it in reverse and start with the end result of what I’m trying to achieve,” he explains. It’s important to consider how the flavours will change as the meat cooks under heat,” he adds.

The 42-year-old is particularly proud of his fresh and zingy IPA BBQ rub, which includes fresh British Admiral Hops because it required a lot of trial and error to balance the flavours correctly. “It took a year and half to develop and get it right. It was a labour of love,” he says.

The couple have a strong focus on sustainability and all of their products are packaged in either recyclable, recycled or biodegradable packaging.

The Rusty BBQ Company is supporting mental health charities

The Rusty BBQ Company’s products, which work equally well with meat, fish or vegetables, are stocked in shops, butchers, and farm shops across the UK.

The couple also work with some leading British BBQ brands to create their own white-label rubs. During the summer months, they can also be found at shows and events such as Shrewsbury Food Festival.

As well as promoting barbecues all year round, Russell also likes to encourage people to experiment with their cooking.

“Don’t be afraid to fail,” he says. “The key is not to be afraid to get out there. Experiment with flavours, experiment with meats and vegetables.

“There is no reason why you can’t put the things you would normally put in the oven on the barbecue. I’ve baked bread and Yorkshire puddings before,” says Russell.

Russell loves experimenting on his barbecue

He says his ideal family meal would involve spatchcocking a chicken on the barbecue along with grilled vegetables such as Tenderstem broccoli and cauliflower. “A good balance of meat and veggies,” he says.

In support of Mental Health awareness, Russell and Steph donate 10 per cent of all profits to mental health charities

“We want to ensure that anyone who may be struggling with mental wellbeing knows there is a community there to support them,” says Russell.

“We believe getting outside, cooking with family and friends, having that experience is really positive for mental health.”

For more information, visit therustybbqco.com or follow facebook.com/TheRustyBBQco or therustybbqco on Instagram.

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