It’s the time of year when cable networks bombard us with grilling, chilling, travel tips for the best regional BBQ types, where to find them, festivals, cookoffs, and Pitmasters! Everyone has a special rub, a spice mixture that they say sets their fire-cooked meat apart from everyone else’s. That of course means that I too need to have my own magic dust, a BBQ spice mixture that helps stuff taste good!
First, I had to listen to all the BBQ guys and gals talk about their unique blends and figure out what they all had in common: salt, sugar, paprika, and cumin. From there, I just had to figure out what would make my spice, MINE!
I am a fan of chiles. I’m a chile-head. The fantastic thing about dried, powdered chiles is you can really get a sense of the flavor of the chile, and not just the heat level. Do they taste fruity? Sort of fresh and green? Earthy? Sweet and raisin-y? Yes! Yes!
Now, to be clear, I’m talking about CHILE powder, and not CHILI powder. Chili powder with an I, is something else I do have in my kitchen. That is a mixture of salt, cumin, and chile powder (with an E) that can be used to make chili (the dish) or also season tex-mex stuff.
CHILE powder is made up of only dried peppers, chiles, and no other flavoring. They’re getting easier and easier to find. I get mine from my local grocery, spice shops or Amazon. They really do add a depth of flavors to things you cook that goes beyond regular chili power, so I encourage you to give them a try if you don’t already.
In my pantry, I have lots of different chile powders — habanero, jalapeño, ancho, a cocoa-chile blend (that I think are ancho or pasilla), and regular Chili Powder. I like jalapeño, ancho and cocoa for my BBQ spice because the jalapeño tastes green and fresh while adding some spice, ancho powder has a deep, earthy, raisin-y flavor with a mild to medium spice, and the cocoa chile blend adds something unusual and earthy to the blend. I’m a fan of unsweetened cocoa as a rub for meats because of the flavor it can impart. My BBQ spice rub has a very mild heat level, more “peppery” than “spicy.”
Making your own spice blend couldn’t be much easier, as it is measure – dump – stir. Are those the simplest three things ever? “Marge, you look fantastic! What’s your secret?” “Measure, dump, and stir!” “Brilliant scientist, what is the key to your success?” “Measure, dump and stir!”
Nobel super food prize, here we come. The sky’s the limit!
Here’s the recipe, now measure, dump and stir yourselves to VICTORY!