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Dry rubs for year-round flavor

Summertime is BBQ time and when we think BBQ we often think about dry rubs. Dry rubs are those wonderful concoctions of herbs and spices that add complementary and contrasting flavors to our foods. When you're in the spice aisle of your local grocery store you will see dozens of pre-mixed dry rubs.

All grocery stores have a wide selection of spices.  So many choices that it gets confusing for the home cook to understand what works well with different foods.  This confusion then drives the shopper to buy one of the pre-mix spice jars and therefore let someone else decide how our food will taste.

Some of these pre-mix seasonings are very good, however many of them are overloaded with salt, MSG, gluten and/or other chemical flavorings or additives that do justice to the manufacturers bottom line, but are not much help to you in your kitchen.

One thing I always write about is high quality ingredients, and fresh ingredients.  If you start making your own spice rubs you will go through all those spices in your pantry and therefore keep them fresher by using them quicker.  It is also less expensive to mix your own spice rubs and then you have complete control of your flavor and ingredients.

Here are three recipes to get you started.

Caribbean Seasoning

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tbl dried thyme, crushed between your palms (mmm, now smell your hands)

2 tbl ground allspice

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tbl fresh ground black pepper

1 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 tsp ground cloves

Add a tsp of salt if you want, you’ll need some later anyway

Combine all ingredients

Makes about 3/4 cup, enough for one large chicken

Rub the outside of your bird lightly with vegetable oil and then sprinkle liberally with this spice rub.  Bake or grill and enjoy.

BBQ All Purpose Rub

2 Tbl dry mustard

2 Tbl garlic powder

2 Tbl onion powder

3 Tbl file powder

3 Tbl dried basil, (crushed between your palms)

4 Tbl kosher salt

3 Tbl fresh ground black pepper

2 Tbl oregano

2 Tbl thyme

1 Tbl cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients. Store in an air tight container.

Pork Rub

2 tbl paprika

1 tbl chili powder

2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients

This good for all cuts of pork, rub a little oil over the pork and sprinkle with rub.

All of these can be used on chicken beef or pork, yes one of them is named “Pork Rub” but it can be used elsewhere.  Feel free to adjust these seasonings to your own tastes.  Such as, in my house we wouldn’t use so much cayenne pepper as the BBQ Rub calls for.

Once you’ve seasoned your food allow it to sit for up to an hour so the flavors can penetrate.  You can allow it to sit for longer, just pop it back in the refrigerator.  Sometimes I’ll season some meat then freeze it, so when I thaw it for use it is all ready to go.

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