The Unorthodox Epicure — Barbecued Spiced Fish

Store-bought barbecue rubs are a lot like the jars of salsa that sit across the aisle. They’re a dime a dozen. Sure, most of them deliver on their promise, but there are very few varieties out there that are truly special.

Lucky me, I found one. It’s from a very small company called Rubbin’ Right. Not able to leave well enough alone, I had to get to know the folks who concocted it. They’re really nice people.

Now, before you go thinking this is a paid advertisement for a mom & pop start-up company, let me just tell you that it’s not. Consider it a review with a little inside information thrown in.

A balanced spice blend

Up until a few weeks ago, the only spice blends I used on a regular basis were Old Bay and Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning. I like them both because of the flavor and all-natural ingredients. When it came to barbecue-style rubs, I’ve always tended to make my own. Enter the All-Purpose Barbecue Rub from Rubbin’ Right. Oh, it works just fine as a rub for grilled/smoked chicken, beef and pork (plenty of competitive cooks us it — and win), but it’s so well balanced — if a little sweet — that it also deserves a spot at the dinner table … alongside the salt and pepper.

Rubbin’ Right is a co-venture of ‘Chuckwagon’ Sally, a spice aficionado, and ‘Big’ Jim, a perennial BBQ cook-off champ. These two seasoning mix-masters operate from a small outlet in Cameron, Texas, not far from Texas A&M University. When I met them, it was as if we were long lost friends. But as friendly as they are, I couldn’t get them to divulge the mixture of spices in the All-Purpose mix — beyond salt, a tad of sugar and garlic. They did reassure me that all ingredients are natural, and I didn’t have to worry about gluten, MSG and other stuff commonly found in big-time mixes.

That’s good enough for me … and hopefully my 19 loyal readers.

My verdict

Most barbecue rubs are intended for beef, chicken or pork. And Rubbin’ Right’s All-Purpose works well for those. (I sprinkled it on a hamburger while it was grilling — superb.) I also found that the slight sweetness is wonderful on fish (see the recipe below) and shrimp. I’ve not tried it on oysters yet, but I’ll bet the sharpness of the bivalve and the smoky sweet of the spice mix are an outstanding combination.

Rubbin’ Right is not yet available in my local H.E.B., and it’s probably not in the major stores where you are. I’ll be asking my grocery manager to stock it, but in the meantime, the folks at Rubbin’ Right will ship directly from their Texas headquarters.

Looks like I’ll be checking my mailbox more often.


One would think that, living in Texas, I’d be eating enough beef to have my photo on a wall somewhere. Truth is, I’ve eaten a pasture’s worth, but just off the coast of the Lone Star State is a massive shoal of deliciousness. And, guess what? Fish on the grill tastes marvelous when seasoned with the stuff meant for its pasture-raised brethren. Try it for yourself. Serve with a lemon wedge, or two … or even a few drops of Louisiana-style hot sauce.

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Barbecued Spiced Fish

Barbecued Spiced Fish wiith lemon wedges and spice rub jar

Barbecued Spiced Fish — Big (healthy) Texas taste in mere minutes

5.0 from 1 reviews
Barbecued Spiced Fish
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Barbecued Spiced Fish — Big (healthy) Texas taste in mere minutes
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Seafood
Serves: 4
  1. Preheat grill or grill pan over high heat.
  2. Over each fish fillet, sprinkle 1 tsp of barbecue rub.
  3. Coat both sides (of each fillet) with olive oil.
  4. Grill on one side, without flipping, until almost cooked through — about 6 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat; set aside for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve with lemon wedges.
*- Depending on your locale, fresh fish availability can vary. I prefer Gulf Red Snapper along the Texas coast, but cod, haddock, sea bass and halibut are also mild enough to benefit from a sprinkle of barbecue rub.



  1. I love start-up stories like this. We certainly do NOT eat enough fish but ironically enough are planning on grilling salmon tonight. I’ll look for this blend the next time we travel to TX.

    • adamjholland says:

      I also love these start-up stories, Debra. I’ve been a part of a couple and I recall eating, sleeping, and dreaming about nothing but those businesses.

  2. Gorgeous fish Adam, and love the review!

  3. Adam, your rubbed fish looks delish! I’m an Old Bay junkie (but not Tony’s — his blend sounds great — but there are too many allergens left to chance.) Thanks for taking your “19 readers” into consideration — I’m certain the number is MUCH higher due to your excellent cooking, writing, and photos! Unfortunately I’m amongst the “chosen few” (aka seemingly cursed) affected by food allergies. I despise that. (!!!) But, I suffer from distinct, lingering physiological reactions every time I fall off the chuck wagon and/or “ready made” mixtures. (Or take out… DRAT!) However, this sounds like a good thing and I’ll be on the lookout for it (in the store or online) and encouraging TMOFW to catch some fresh fish soon.

    • adamjholland says:

      Sorry about the allergies, Kim. I would strongly consider — if I were you — contacting the folks at Rubbin’ Right and letting them know of your afflictions. Hopefully you aren’t allergic to deliciousness. 😉

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