The spice rub. Do you know a great steak rub? How about a great grill rub mix? Montreal steak? Montreal chicken? McCormicks? By default I love anything that makes food taste great in a healthy and natural way (adding salt and butter to a steak will make it taste great, but may also shorten your life by a few years). And therefore I love dry rubs, even the store – bough ready to use ones.
I think sometimes the simpler rubs are the best. My ALL TIME favorite has only two ingredients:
Buy them whole, toast them in a dry skillet, and grind into a powder (by the way, the ratio is 1/1). There you go, magic on food. Of course, you will need salt, right before cooking, but the rub is excellent. Try it sometime.
That being said, let’s talk a little more about the more interesting rubs. Old Bay, Emeril’s Essence, Montreal Chicken- they are so successful due in part to the right balance of flavors, and excellent marketing. Balance, there it is again. When you have 10 spices in your rub, balancing them in the right ratio can be tricky. So why not buy something pre-made, it works just as well. Right? Yes, in many instances. Most of the pre-made rubs are heavy on the Tex-mex, or ‘popular’ flavors. Bold Grilling. Louisiana Heat. Maryland Crab Boil. Variety calls for something a little more customized.
And that’s where I can help.
Once again, think about those ancient and lovely trade routes. Camel caravans slowing working their way through north Africa. Marco Polo rummaging through India and Persia into China. We now have all kinds of wonderful cuisine based on the herbs and spices picked up along those routes. Take a look at, for example ‘the spices of Egypt’. Or ‘the spices of southern Greece’. Let those little tidbits of information serve as your guide for spice mixes. You’ll do a lot better than buying McCormick’s grill mate
Moroccan Spice Blend
Makes about 1 cup
Prep time: 5 minutes
1/4 tbsp ground ginger
1/4 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
3/4 tbsp ground turmeric
1/4 tbsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground caraway
1/4 tbsp ground fennel seed
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried cilantro
Combine all ingredients and seal tightly.
Note: dry spices can be expensive, and this is a long list. If you’re going to make this, I would suggest scaling the recipe up and making a large amount. Remember, the fresher the spices, the more flavor they will have.
Try this on chicken, steak, pork, lamb, veal, mix vegetables for grilling, in rice dishes, Israeli couscous, or just about anything that would benefit from a whole lot of great flavor.