This Subscription Box Features Sauces, Rubs and Swag From Texas’s Best BBQ Joints

Started by pitmaster Joe Zavala, the subscription also includes recipes and video Q&As

July 11, 2023 6:05 am
A grid of boxes being filled with sauce and other merchandise for subscription services.
A Texas subscription service sending rubs, sauces and seasonings? Say less.
BBQ DIstro

Driving around to sample all the best barbecue joints in Texas is a worthwhile endeavor — one that might be taxing on your car and your cholesterol, but otherwise rewarding. And any thorough examination of the state’s barbecue scene should lead to Zavala’s Barbecue in Grand Prairie. Joe Zavala has quickly made a name for himself over the past few years, first taking orders over social media for his backyard barbecue, then hosting pop-ups before opening his restaurant. Zavala’s is recognized as one of Texas Monthly’s Top 50 BBQ Joints, and its brisket taco was featured on season three of the Netflix show Taco Chronicles.

Now, Zavala wants to shine a light on his friends and peers in the industry with the Backyard BBQ Box, a subscription service that’s sending rubs, sauces, seasonings and other barbecue essentials straight to your door.

The idea was born earlier this year, when Zavala drove all over Texas, collecting the best products from other Top 50 restaurants and stocking them — plus shirts, hats and barbecue gear — at his newly launched Speakeasy store in the back of Mas Coffee Co. in downtown Grand Prairie. From there, he and business partner Kyle Moreland brainstormed how to share all those products with more people. And BBQ Distro was born.

“We were looking for a way to spotlight these amazing barbecue joints and pitmasters in a unique way,” says Moreland, the CEO of BBQ Distro, which oversees the subscription boxes, Speakeasy store and online shop. “There are so many barbecue fans across the nation and globe that can’t easily get to these amazing joints. We thought the next best thing was to bring a piece of this experience to their backyard.”

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In addition to sauces, rubs and seasonings, each box also includes recipes, video content and members-only Q&As with the month’s featured pitmaster, plus some Lone Star merch. To help launch the company, Zavala has partnered with Lone Star beer. The pitmaster and beer company already had a good relationship, as Zavala has been giving away free Lone Star to customers for years.

The first month’s box features sauce and a beef rub from Blood Bros. BBQ, the beloved Houston-area strip-mall joint serving Central Texas barbecue with Asian accents. There’s also a beer koozie and tumbleweed fire starters, plus recipes (for a steak sandwich and bulgogi steak salad) and access to a live Q&A on July 17 with Joe Zavala and the Blood Bros. team. Members will have the chance to ask questions ahead of time and during the event, and anyone who can’t make the live talk will be able to watch the recorded version online.

If monthly boxes are too much, you can also select quarterly or annual shipments, which will be stocked with three or 12 months worth of ingredients and gear, respectively. But one unique twist is that this Zavala’s-led operation is not stocking each box with Zavala’s products. Moreland says that boxes are already planned out through the end of this year and into 2024, and all will feature a different Texas barbecue spot. That’s because they view these other restaurants as friends, not competitors. 

“They are close friends and stewards of Texas barbecue, and our goal is to highlight these pitmasters that put in the hard work day in and day out, producing the best barbecue in the world,” says Moreland. For the customer, that means a wide variety of products, recipes and pitmaster access, and a holistic view of the local barbecue scene. 

“If we can empower them and help spread the word, then we’re helping grow the brand that is Texas barbecue,” adds Moreland. “We all benefit from that, including the backyard pitmaster.”


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