I had read about spice rubs for years before I ever tried one. I thought, “Why bother? I’ll just sprinkle on some spices as I’m cooking.” But once I tried it, it’s definitely become a pantry basic around here. Why? It simply makes things taste better. It brings them “up a notch,” to quote a famous person. And I love having it on hand, ready to go at a moment’s notice.
There are probably dozens (hundreds?) of recipes out there for basic rubs which can be customized to highlight specific regions (Southwestern, Indian, Mediterranean, etc.). The one I use most often I made by culling ingredients from a Martha Stewart recipe and a magazine clipping I have. It’s very simple:PRINT
Basic, All Purpose Spice Rub
- 1/4 c. kosher salt
- 2 T. brown sugar, palm sugar or sucanat (omit if you’d like, though the touch of sweet is really nice)*
- 2 T. paprika
- 2 T. dry mustard
- 2 T. black pepper
- 2 T. dried oregano
- 2 T. dried thyme
- 2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (optional, but I love the flavor)
- 1 tsp. to 1 Tb. cayenne pepper (adjust for personal taste)
- Combine all ingredients and stir very well to incorporate everything evenly.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
* I used to use an equal sugar-to-salt ratio, but since I’m trying to lessen the sugar we use, I cut it by half and it still gives that flavor we like. When I leave it out entirely, it’s still good, but it is different. That’s one of the reasons I like making our own pantry items so much – it’s easy to customize, so feel free to make it your own!
Here are some ways to use this rub:
- Rub on meats before baking or grilling. Add a sauce at the end, or not.
- Sprinkle on cut potatoes before roasting or grilling.
- Add to ground meat when making burgers (amazing).
- Sprinkle on vegetables before roasting or grilling.
- Sprinkle on freshly steamed vegetables.
Don’t be like I was- be open to the concept of a “dry rub” and see if you don’t find that this becomes a pantry basic for you, too!