Gray Matters: Test Driving Rod Gray’s Sauces and Rubs

In BBQ - Grilling - Smoking, Beef, Recipes by Mike StinesLeave a Comment

sampler_bundle-150x150I recently received some of Rod Gray’s line of sauces and rubs – “IPO,” a Memphis-style sauce; “The Next Best Thing,” a Kansas City-style sauce; “Zero to Hero” (a sweet rub); and “The Most Powerful Stuff,” what he calls a “purposeful rub.”

Rod is a championship barbecuer and pit master for the award-winning Pellet Envy team. He and his wife Sheri have been on the barbecue circuit since 2006 and they have accumulated more perfect scores than any other team.

After tasting his rubs and sauces you know why Pellet Envy is a championship on the BBQ circuit! I recently used the IPO sauce for macaroni and cheese stuffed smoked meatloaf. It was great!! The sauce is somewhat thick and sweet with a vinegar component that gives a pleasingly warm taste on the back of your tongue.meatloaf

Although retail distribution is limited, the complete line of rubs and sauces is available here.

Smoked Stuffed Meatloaf
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Serves: 4-6
What’s better than meatloaf? How about meatloaf stuffed with creamy macaroni and cheese then smoked and glazed with barbecue sauce? Of course you could add a layer of bacon atop the meatloaf to create pure nirvana!
  • For the macaroni & cheese:
  • 1/2 pound elbow pasta
  • 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt (for cooking the pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne chile powder
  • For the meatloaf:
  • 2 pounds meatloaf mix (80/20 ground beef, veal and pork)
  • 3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup whole milk (or buttermilk)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 scallions, finely diced (about two tablespoons)
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup “Eat Barbecue” IPO barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • BBQ rub or Cajun seasoning
  • IPO Barbecue sauce (for glazing)
  1. For the macaroni & cheese: Fill a 6 1/2-quart stock pot with four quarts of cold water.
  2. Add two tablespoons of kosher salt and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and stir.
  3. Cook the pasta, uncovered, until barely al dente, about eight minutes. Drain in a colander.
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to form a roux, about two minutes (you want a blonde roux).
  5. Add one cup of the milk and whisk to form a thick béchamel sauce. Add more milk, if necessary, to achieve a sauce that coats the back of a spoon. Remove the sauce from the stovetop and stir in the cheddar cheese.
  6. Whisk until the cheese is completely melted. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and cayenne.
  7. Combine the sauce and pasta in a large mixing bowl. Adjust the seasonings. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to a half sheet pan and refrigerate until the macaroni is thoroughly cooled.
  8. For the meatloaf: Combine the breadcrumbs with 1/3 cup milk in a mixing bowl.
  9. Stir well; adding more milk if needed to form a paste-like consistency.
  10. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and jalapeño and sweat until the scallion is softened but not browned.
  11. Add the barbecue sauce and stir. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
  12. Combine the meatloaf mix, the cooled scallion/ jalapeño, breadcrumbs, salt, cumin, paprika, pepper, parsley, granulated garlic and eggs in a large bowl.
  13. Knead the mixture together.
  14. Line a nine by five by three inch loaf pan with food film and spoon in some of the meat mixture completely covering the bottom of the pan with about 1 1/2 inches of the meatloaf mixture.
  15. Remove the macaroni from the refrigerator and layer the macaroni in the center of the meatloaf keeping about 1/2 inch space from the edges.
  16. Cover with more of the meatloaf mixture being sure the loaf is tightly compacted and the edges well sealed.
  17. Remove the stuffed loaf from the pan and wrap with the food film. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
  18. Prepare the smoker for 225 to 250 degrees F. cooking using your favorite wood (I like apple wood).
  19. Remove the meatloaf from the refrigerator and remove the food film.
  20. Liberally season the meatloaf with your favorite BBQ rub. Place the loaf on a cooling rack atop a foiled lined rimmed sheet pan so the loaf doesn’t swim in fat.
  21. Smoke the loaf for 1 1/2 hours.
  22. Glaze the loaf with barbecue sauce and continue cooking for another hour or until the loaf has an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  23. Allow the loaf to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Be careful as the filling will be hot!


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Grilling & BBQ Editor | Mike holds a “Doctorate of Barbeque Philosophy” (Ph.B.) degree from the Kansas City Barbeque Society. His book Mastering Barbecue has been called the “go-to” book for BBQ knowledge.

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