Summertime in the South means one thing: it’s grilling season. Jim Ensinia, local pitmaster and owner of Los Primanos BBQ Rubs, understands this better than anyone.
Whether it was a day spent in his uncle’s backyard or a weekend spent hosting family and friends at home, Ensinia grew up surrounded by BBQ. Nearly every weekend, close relatives and distant friends alike would gather together to enjoy good company and better BBQ. With his father, Jesse Ensinia, and his uncle, Frank Hernandez, most often manning the grill, there was never a tastebud left unsatisfied. And still, amidst all the smoke and laughter, nobody ever lost sight of what truly made these gatherings so special.
“Looking back on it now, trying to figure out what barbeque means to me, it was always family,” Ensinia said. “That’s really the backbone of our company, ‘BBQ Means Family’ [in Spanish: Porque Barbacoa Significa Familia].”
During his 32 years in charge of the grill, Ensinia has had time to develop and perfect his own BBQ rub recipes. Although he first had the idea for a BBQ rub business over 10 years ago, it wasn’t until two years ago that God told him it was time to share his recipes with the world.
“God pretty much put it back on my heart that now was the time,” Ensinia said.
And so, Los Primanos was born.
Currently, Ensinia has three rubs for sale: the Crazy Cluckin’ Chicken Rub, the Hog Wild Honey Rub, and the No Bull Beef Rub. Each is extremely versatile and can be used to season everything from poultry and seafood to popcorn and pizza.
In addition to the three rubs currently available for purchase, Ensinia has nine rubs in the works. His goal is to push out a group of three new rubs by the end of the summer.
The rubs are produced locally in Arlington, Texas, and, along with Los Primanos merchandise, can be purchased in person at the Waxahachie Farmers Market or online through the Los Primanos website.
“To receive the positive feedback that we’ve been receiving from total strangers makes me feel like this is the right thing to do at the right time,” Ensinia said. “This is for real, this is happening.”
As a deeply religious and philanthropic person, a large part of Ensinia’s business model and personal philosophy focuses on giving back to the community and to those in need. It is for this reason that a portion of the proceeds from each bottle sold will be donated to various local non-profit organizations each quarter.
Additionally, in their free time, Ensinia and his wife, Tina, shoot and produce videos to promote locally owned businesses, non-profits, and special events. These services are completely free, and over the last three years the Ensinias have shot and produced over 400 videos, all of which can be viewed here.
“We want people to be able to find the local mom-and-pop restaurants and businesses, something besides commercial stuff,” Ensinia said. “We’ve met a lot of cool people over the last three years, and it’s been really fun to get out and meet people in the community.”
Ensinia says he has two main long-term goals for Los Primanos: create a legacy to leave behind, and earn enough money to create a ‘giving checkbook.’ He describes a ‘giving checkbook’ as a separate bank account that his family could use to support those in need without having to worry about how it may affect their own finances.
“It’s a really good feeling to be able to give,” Ensinia said. “If we can get to that point, where we have a ‘giving checkbook’ and can do that, I would consider that we’ve made it.”
As a realtor, an insurance agent, a business owner, a father to eight, a husband, and a devout Christian, Jim Ensinia has a lot on his plate. Rest assured, though; his rubs will spice up the flavor of what’s on yours.
-Austin Hedgcoth is a student at the University of North Texas and a writer for Ellis DownHome. He enjoys exercising, drawing, and spending quality time with family and friends. Austin lives by a few simple words; be kind and love deeply.