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Handmade Portraits: Ole Man’s Rub

Aug 29, 2012

by objecked

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Joe Threat, also known as Mister Joe Sprinkle, is no stranger to Kansas City’s legendary barbecue scene. His stepfather and brother worked at the world-famous Gates Bar-B-Q restaurant. Since Joe’s stepfather refused to reveal the Gates’ family secret, Joe set out to create his own masterful recipe. During his 26-year career in the Marine Corps, Joe never stopped working to perfect his technique. The ultimate seal of approval came from his mother. When she was 65, she told Joe his recipe had earned her respect, but it wasn’t until she was 80 that she conceded that it was as good as Kansas City’s most famous barbecue joints.

When I met Joe earlier this summer, he told me that his youngest daughter came up with the “Sprinkle DAT” slogan for his signature Ole Man’s Spice Rub & Seasoning. It captures the key difference between Joe’s rub and most Kansas City-style barbecue — instead of massaging the rub into meat, they just sprinkle it on. Joe hopes to keep the tradition alive as a family secret, eventually sharing his recipe with his daughters and, in time, with his nephew and grandchildren.

Author’s note: As a lifelong lover of barbecue, I’ll have to side with Joe’s mother and say that this is indeed some of the finest smoked meat I’ve ever tasted. Full endorsement! 

Music by Count Basie & Oscar Peterson, courtesy of Concord Music Group and Weiser Music.

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