When enjoying the outdoors, I love those moments when the enticing smell of what is cooking, on the neighbors’ grill, or better yet, when my husband fires up our grill, the air is filled with wonderful aromas of delicious food. My point is, when grilled food is paired with a good spice rub, even though I have no idea what is cooking on the neighbors’ grill, or on our very own grill; my taste buds tend to automatically go into overdrive.

Think about when you venture out in town or are frolicking at the beach and you smell the exhaust of flavor remnants from nearby restaurants and you find yourself gravitating towards their business doors to satisfy the wonderful smell you perceive? You sometimes wonder, “What spice is complementing that food that smells wonderful?”

There is a wealth of choices when it comes to spices, but I have found a local eastern N.C. gentleman by the name of Justin Aiken, who has created his own spice rubs for steak, chicken, pork and seafood that are out of this world. Not to mention the spices also compliment a good vegetable such as cauliflower steak or portabella mushroom.

Justin’s creation purely originated from his own kitchen along with his test tasters, “aka children,” by trying different rubs and spices to narrow down a palette preference. He named his new business, “The J2 Kitchen”. In the beginning, in order to get constructive feedback, he shared samples of his invention to his family and friends, transforming it into a popular “must have spice rub” for grill masters. Of his spice creations, Justin has mastered a spice rub geared toward steaks called “Giddy UP!” and a “Sweet Fancy Moses” spice rub for chicken and pork lovers; noting that both also pair nicely with seafood.

The following is an edited podcast I had with Justin earlier in the year when it all began:

Since the last time I spoke with Justin, his spices that merry well with any choice of meat, seafood and vegetables, have gained popularity and have generated requests to purchase the spices for local mom and pop restaurant owners. In the beginning, he started small and then sold his tasty invention through local markets, specialty food retailers and small local restaurants. Local cooks have used his spices to gain award-winning accolades at local grilling competitions resulting in positive publicity for their restaurants.

I have to say, Justin’s business endeavor has been on a successful road. By starting small and slowly gaining momentum by word of mouth on his signature spice rub, he has managed to make the locals want more. Not to mention, “The J2 Kitchen” spices are also great gifts! On a personal note, my husband and I are big fans of “The J2 Kitchen” spice rubs.

Business is good so far but coming soon, Justin will be building his website to display his spice rubs for all. This is in addition to his website rating local beers called https://www.thej2beerquest.com/. In the meantime, if you visit the Swansboro, Jacksonville and Topsail Island area, ask any local about where to enjoy “The J2 Kitchen” spice rubs. You will more than likely be directed to local restaurants that cook menu filled options with the spice rubs in addition to the ability to purchase the spices at local markets.

5 oz. “Giddy UP!” $10.00
14 oz. “Sweet Fancy Moses” $10.00