Giving Back The Story behind Code 3 Spices and Sm…kin’ On Main

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- Everybody, this is Mike from Code 3 Spices. Cold 3 sponsors the event Smokin' on Main. So, Mike, tell us a little bit more about, you know, how did you guys get started with this event?

- Well, the funny thing is is that, when we were working out of our homes, after year two of being in business, we put on a backyard event. In Maryville, Illinois. And we really liked it. That's when we was first turning professional. And then after a few years of being in business, we ran another small one. And then, whenever we moved here to Collinsville, that's when the city approached us, because they knew that we wanted to do one to begin with. We had no idea, honestly, what the first year was gonna bring. In about another hour from now, we'll take you guys down to the stage, where you can see all the way down almost to 159 here, and it's just elbow to elbow. That's really how it got started.

- Right.

- By the city approaching us. And, the first year, we had tremendous success. From today, from looking at the people, throughout the entire day, I don't even know what the final count will be but it's tens of thousands of people, and that's honestly probably the most humbling part about this. Because Chris and I, we're just regular guys. We don't get a thing out of this, all the money goes back to our charities. We do it because we love our community. I was born and raised here in Collinsville, Illinois. My dad literally grew up about 300 yards behind us. So this is my hometown.

- [Man] Right!

- And then, on the other side of it, I mean we have so much support from the teams. You know, 47 pro teams did this weekend.

- [Man] Wow.

- 30 steak teams, 30 backyard, I don't even know how many pork steak entries. But, well over 100 entries.

- [Man] Yup.

- For a weekend event, so we're really thrilled with that. Obviously, our dear friends Sweet Baby Ray and Malcolm Reed came in town. They do it, because they love it. They don't do it for the bottom dollar. That's really why all of us do it. You know, we do it 'cause we love it. I mean, how many people get to say they get to go to work and cook? Barbecue.

- [Man] Making a livin' out of livin'!

- [Mike] Right?

- Yeah.

- So, Chris, my business partner, always says it if we have to talk barbecue every day, you know, life's not too bad.

- [Man] Not too bad at all.

- You know, we don't have a lot of stress per se, you know? Outside of running and growing a business, that's different. But, this is so busy of an event for us, I mean, this takes eight months for us to plan

- [Man] Yup.

- And we've been running around all day. I took my Fitbit off earlier, but I was already at, like, 3,500 steps today. And that's a lot for a six foot four, you know, handsome 300 pound man like myself. But, it's a very humbling experience to go up onstage and see thousands of people in the crowd. I get a little emotional thinking about it, because, we do pour our heart and soul into it. You know, and like I said it comes back to this pour, when you see all these people enjoying barbecue with their families, you know, they're walking their dogs, they're talking to people they haven't met before, meeting up with neighbors. That's community, and that's barbecue.

- [Man] Absolutely.

- Right?

- When you first started getting into cooking and barbecue, tell me about a cut of meat that you just messed up that took you a long time to kinda figure it out.

- [Chris] Doing brisket, hands down.

- [Man] Okay. Alright.

- [Chris] Brisket hands down.

- When you're at home and you're gonna fire up that grill for yourself to make food for you or your family, what's kind of your go-to dish or protein where you say, "I know I can knock this outta the park, "I'm gonna get rave reviews on this," and you personally love it.

- Man, that's a loaded question, because I literally cook almost daily. To be honest with you, we cook a lotta steak. You know, we can get one big, fat ribeye, and me and the kids can eat the whole thing and we're all fat and happy.

- Hey, at Red Meat Lover we can relate to steaks.

- Right?

- Absolutely.

- And you know the other thing is too, is I cook all kind of different proteins, but what I really enjoy doing is sides and dishes on the grill. I like doing vegetables on the grill. I like baking, on the pellet grill. You know, honestly, I eat a lotta red meat. I eat a lotta red meat.

- So, just wanna talk a little bit more about Code 3 Spices. Can you tell us... You've told us how this event got started, but can you tell us a little bit about how you and Chris started Code 3, and some of the motivations behind that.

- It's really a unique story. I mean, I always cooked. I mean, I've been barbecuing since I was 18. You know, with my dad's Weber Kettle. So I was always around the grill. I did a lot of it in college. And becoming a cop, fast forward, my getaway was to come home after a 12 hour shift, light up my Kettle, and just cook and have some beers.

- [Man] Right on man.

- It was literally my getaway. And I quickly realized, this is what I love about barbecue. Every time I cook, it always comes back, and I always have that thought in my head, it is so therapeutic to me. Everything from, and this might sound silly to some, but even selecting a certain piece of protein to prepping it, to how I'm gonna cook that. That's really how that got started. Me and Chris would hit up the local watering hole, and watch a lotta Blues and Cardinal games. He loved barbecue, he's crazier than I am when it comes to barbecue. So, Chris and I decided to start competing on the amateur level. And, I mean we won the whole thing the first time, and we just had sort of a natural taking to it. Chris and I came out with our first couple rubs, and it was very well-received in our community. So, we said, "Okay, we're gonna bottle this up, "put some labels on it, and make sure it's right." We don't rush any of our products to market, and we take a lotta pride in that. And we wanted to create something you could buy on a grocery store shelf, and take it straight to a competition field and win with it. And that's what we did. That led into turning professional. And, we were hooked, just like most these guys are. Once you get that bug, it's sorta hard to release it.

- Right.

- You know, and now we do it 24/7. We came out with our first line, our 5-0, our Backdraft, and our Rescue Rub, and those were our true, traditional barbecue rubs, if you will. We just went all in, we really did. He left his job, I left my job, and we just decided to go full force. You know, Chris' dad was in the private sector of law enforcement, his sister, brother-in-law, in law enforcement. Both him and I agreed that we were gonna donate portions of every sale to first responder military charities.

- Was that like an automatic when you guys started this company, or was that kind of a little bit of a hand reading decision to pass truce with the proceeds to these first responders?

- No, I mean, that was from day one. We weren't even gonna do this if we didn't. You know, I would like to say that our purpose in life, outside of the business, is more than just barbecue.

- Uh, absolutely man.

- We live it and we preach it and, at the end of the day, Chris and I can go to bed at night knowing that we're literally helping save people's lives.

- Yeah.

- This doesn't seem like a job to me. There's not a single day that I woke up in the last seven years where I was like, "Oh man, I really don't wanna go into the office today. "I don't wanna go to the shop. "I don't wanna go to the warehouse." Whatever it might be. I enjoy this!

- I know you're super busy today, we have thousands of people out there, a ton of vendors, waiting for your attention. Before we wrap up, can you just tell our audience how they can find or buy Code 3 products online.

- Absolutely, so, you can order online at www... Was that too many w's?

- [Man] No, that's about three, yeah.

- Let's do this. Code3Spices.com. And we're in several states now, I believe we're in over 40 states. You can request our products to be brought into ACE Hardware. We're in their national warehouses. If you're in the St. Louis area, we're all over the St. Louis area: Schnucks, Dierbergs, Whole Foods, Supplement Super Store, Straub's.

- Wow.

- Jewel-Osco in Chicago, H-E-B in Texas. So, we're getting to a point now where it's starting to be really fun, because we can just say, "Hey, go to ACE, or if you're in Texas, go here." So, that's where you can get our products.

- Awesome man. Well hey, I really appreciate you allowing us to come in and document some of this event, and more than anything, I just really wanna wish you and Chris continued success and growth in the business as well.

- Thank you, and we're glad you're here.

- Yeah, my pleasure man.

- Absolutely.

- Yeah. Thanks a lot.

- [Chris] Thank you.
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