Meet Michael Stuart of Stuart & Co.! This Brooklyn-based culinary mind is all about supporting the community. Starting out as a boutique catering company and expanding into a small-batch artisanal brand, his company keeps it real while keeping it delicious. Stuart & Co. focuses on quality and sustainability, working closely with local farmers to source seasonal ingredients for their sauces and spice rubs, while always making a concerted effort to choose organic. They stay true to their social and environmental commitments by donating to the New York City Rescue Mission and packing their products in reusable Weck jars. Yippee, we love souvenirs!
Stuart & Co’s eponymous line of BBQ spices and rubs feature locally and globally-inspired flavors, ranging from Kentucky bourbon and New York cherries to smoked Turkish pepper. Ingredients are all-natural and never include MSG, artificial flavors or additives. Stuart & Co. has even produced private-label collections for West Elm and Mr. BBQ/Blue Rhino! Way cool.
Check out their mouthwatering sauce flavors:
- Bitchin’ BBQ Sauce: A b*tchin’ all-purpose bbq sauce that’s especially tasty on St. Louis ribs and smoked tofu made with chocolatey, smoky, and tobacco-flavored Turkish pepper!
- Dark & Moody BBQ Sauce: Flavors include dark beer, bourbon, molasses, coffee, and smoky pepper flakes. Perfect for those days when you feel like kicking some butt (in the kitchen).
- Cherry Bomb BBQ Sauce: The inspiration for this sauce came from a cherry lip balm Michael’s wife bought and his love of good bourbon. It just so happens the flavor combination makes a fantastic BBQ sauce!
Of course, we have to tell you more about Stuart & Co.’s claim to fame: Their RUBS! These rubs can do it all. There are several varieties of rubs – fowl, beef, pork, fish, you name it! – and they add a delicious kick to any dish. Whether you’re grilling up steaks during the summer or want to add some flavor to a roast in the winter, there’s a rub for that! You can even spice up a side, or just sprinkle it all over the place. It’s up to you to make it your own! Whatever your flavor, Stuart & Co. wants you to GET YOUR RUB ON!
Check out the Pork Rub for bringing out the sweetness of pork. With orange, rosemary, cumin, coriander and a little brown sugar, this rub is perfect for a slow smoked shoulder. We bet some grilled, well-seasoned veggies would be an AWESOME side dish to go along with a Stuart & Co. rubbed pork feast!
Other amazing rubs by Stuart & Co.:
- Fish Rub: Tarragon is a classic complement to fish, but add a dash of sumac, mustard, garlic, thyme and cardamom, and you have something special.
- Fowl Rub: With unique flavors like lemongrass, turmeric and cardamom, this blend will definitely make a grilled chicken or brined turkey like you’ve never had.
- Beef Rub: Influenced by the Middle Eastern flavors, this blends Aleppo pepper, fenugreek, smoked paprika, ginger and thyme. This rub is perfect for a slow roasted brisket.
- All Purpose Spice Rub: Featuring turmeric, smokey Turkish pepper, ginger, cumin and coriander. It’s great on roasted chicken, eggplant and lamb kebabs, or just sprinkle some on your salad for a little extra oomph!
Also a MUST try: Stuart & Co.’s Haber’s Tonic Syrup! We can’t get enough of this just-sweet-enough cocktail mixer. This all natural tonic syrup just needs some gin, bubbly and lime to get the party started!
Stuart & Co. never wants you to be caught by the grill without the necessary tools to making BBQ magic – SO GET YOUR GRILL ON! The Lockwood 4-piece BBQ Gift Set is made from 100% stainless steel wrought right out of the flames. The handles are crafted from natural Hemlock wood and slathered with a natural Chestnut stain.
Designed by the Schmidt Brothers, this good-looking set comes complete with a fork, tongs, spatula and an innovative basting brush with a silicon head you can remove and clean in the dishwasher! And it’s all served up in a handcrafted wood gift and storage box – making it the perfect gift for that grill-master in your life!
Cook up something delicious!
You can also find delicious, family BBQ-worthy recipes on Stuart & Co.s’ Blog, like this Smash and RUB Potato Salad!
- 2 pounds red bliss potatoes, scrubbed
- 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 3 TBSP Stuart & Co All-Purpose Spice Rub
- Salt & pepper
- Rinse the potatoes well under cold water and scrub with a vegetable brush. Peel if desired, but leaving them on adds color and texture to the salad!
- Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces and place in a pot of heavily salted cold water.
- Bring potatoes to a boil and simmer until completely cooked (tender). You should be able to pierce the potato with little to no resistance,
- While the potatoes boil, clean and chop the scallions.
- When the potatoes are cooked strain in a colander and let them drain any excess water for about 5 minutes, then place them in a mixing bowl in the fridge until they are cool enough to handle.
- Once they cool, add the mayo, scallions, and spice rub. The key to this is to use just enough mayo to bind everything together without it being liquify and over-mayonaised.
- Using a wooden spoon, potato masher, (or your hands!) mash and mix all the ingredients until well combined.
- Once it is all mixed, adjust the seasoning to your liking and chill until ready to serve!
Just thinking about potato salad makes us yearn for summer! Stuart & Co.’s spice rubs will be the perfect addition to our favorite carnivorous meals. We can’t wait to fire up our grills and get rubbin’!
We caught up with Michael Stuart of Stuart & Co. and asked him a few questions!
Who are the business founders and when did you launch the business?
My brother Eric and myself—Michael Stuart—with lots of help from my wife Sierra from Poppies & Posies, and my branding expert Miya Hiyabarshi from You + Me Design
What inspired you to start your business?
I started my own catering company back in 2009 and had always planned on incorporating a product line. since I love bbq and grilling and always loved experimenting with spice concoctions since I was little this seemed like a natural progression.
Where do you currently make your product and how did you find the process of finding a kitchen to be like?
We work out of a kitchen incubator at the moment which has been great for us. I am dying to get my own production space but we haven’t had the financial flexibility to make that happen yet.
Did you have a background in the food/drink industry when you started? (If not, what was your background?)
I have a degree from the French Culinary Institute and worked in restaurant kitchens for 7 years before becoming the operations manager for a large high end catering company then starting my company Michael Stuart NY
A business idea that was left on the editing room floor?
Well, where do I start? There are so many. we stated out using hang tags on all our products which was horrible. I spent countless hours sitting on the couch tiny tying tiny little knots. we are still considering a line of flavored salts, but haven’t gotten into that yet.
What are some examples of rookie mistakes you made when starting out?
Again, sooo many. I was in such a rush to get products out there I didn’t have all my paperwork in place. We have redesigned our labels a few times, changed the type of jars we package in, and had some issues with scaling recipes for large amounts. We’ve even purchased way too much spices…lots of little things that should have been figured out first, but my eagerness and impatience won out most of the time!
Your biggest business challenge to date?
Getting any sort of financing to help with expansion. We still haven’t gotten that.
How do you stay motivated in the face of competition?
It’s not easy, but I don’t feel as if we have a lot of competition since what we do is pretty unique, as far as what is out there in the market in our category. Just knowing we have an amazing product keeps me pretty motivated.
What’s the strangest customer request or feedback you’ve gotten?
We haven’t had too many, thankfully…but I did have customer from Belgium who had bought and loved one of our West Elm rubs, so I had to recreate it and send 6 jars to Brussles. That was a fun one!
Whats your main business goal for 2015?
Getting our name and product out there and recognized. Hopefully getting picked up by at least one large account that can keep us in production for an extended period of time.
Where do you see the business in 10 years?
With any luck, successful enough for me to quit catering, and enjoy spending time with my first child arriving in early 2015.
What’s your team or company motto/mantra? (Informal or formal)
Have fun and enjoy what you do; don’t be afraid to get creative.
Advice for someone with a great artisan food or drink idea?
Don’t give up on it. Get your packaging perfected before you launch…and prepare to give away lots of samples!
TRY STUART & CO. NOW!
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