The reason for this post is that I get very frustrated about this subject and I want to help you be healthier, save money and have tastier food. Here we go…
Number one - 90% of the people I know still buy spices and dried herbs at the grocery store. Why is this so bad you might ask? Well, what you are buying in your local grocery store has probably already been sitting on the shelves for 6 months. You should throw out ground spices after 6 months, and whole spices after a year. The selling price of these seasonings are 3 times the cost of what they are worth! Then once you take them home, you have to use 3 times the amount to get the flavor you want (not to mention they use fillers and stabilizers).
Number two - Pre-mixed seasonings are, for the most part, a complete rip off. I’m talking about your “Turkey Lurkey Grillin’ Spice” or “Rub It All Over Everything Spice”. I once saw a grilling spice from a certain kitchen store (that will not be mentioned) with a price tag of 16 dollars for 4 ounces of the stuff. What was the first ingredient? Salt. Salt is 4 dollars a pound! So my future to becoming a millionaire is to come up with a spice concoction and have it sold at that very unmentioned kitchen store.
So what is the solution to my rants and raves? Buy spices and herbs from a spice dealer. Reputation is on the line for them; if the product you get is not fresh, you won’t be back. You can also buy the spices you use the most in bulk (not buying a container every time). This saves us money and is earth friendly. Your route to do this is to find either a local specialty store or buy online. I am fortunate enough to have a Penzey’s store only 2 miles up the road. Penzey’s is neat because you can walk in and “sniff around” and their prices can’t be beat. Penzey’s also has an online business too, which my Mom uses very regularly.
And as far as the pre-mixed conundrum….You know what flavors and spice mixtures you like, so why not make them yourself? Without the cost, the extra salt, the maltodextrin or silicon dioxide- need I say more? I am going to give you a recipe for my super secret bbq rub that I use for both brisket and ribs. I hope you use it to win bbq cook offs and then just go ahead and send me the check :)
In my second seasoning lesson I will discuss grinding, storing, and what kind of spices mingle together with others.
Ingredients for super secret spice rub: Makes plenty for at least 1 roast or a rack of ribs. It is easy to multiply so make extra!
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons toasted onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt (see where I’m coming from)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (buy a good mill, NOW)
1 teaspoon ground chipotle (my personal favorite)
Put it all in a canning jar and shake to mix together. If the brown sugar is making it too clumpy, stir it up with a knife or ideally, a blade type coffee grinder. Punch holes in the lid to make a giant shaker, and then stack another lid on top of that to seal it up when not in use (thank you Alton Brown). Cover ribs or brisket liberally at least 3 hours before cooking, or up to 3 days if you have the time (trust me, you want to have the time).