We all want flavor in our food. Unfortunately, it is very common for individuals, food manufacturers and restaurants rely on salt and fat for flavor. Instead of relying on those, look for spices, herbs and cooking methods that will add that flavor your looking for.
One way, is a dry spice rub. Dry rubs like this one can be used on any meat and in any cooking style. I've used it on the grill, in a smoker, I've braised and used the slow-cooker. It is just as good, whether on pork, beef or chicken. I'm even thinking about trying it on a tofu dish.
When you apply a rub, you'll want to liberally coat the meat and rub it into the grain. For large cuts, it is best to do it the night before to let the flavor seep into the meat. Small pieces like a chicken breast, you can rub and cook. The rub can also be added to ground meat when making dishes like burgers and tacos.
Most recently, I used this rub when I smoked an 8 pound pork shoulder over apple wood (pictured above). When smoking meat, you want to use indirect heat, instead of having the meat directly over your coals. Try and maintain a temperature of about 220 degrees. When the meat has reached a temperature of between 145 and 155 degrees, remove it from the grill and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. I smoked the shoulder for 8 hours and served it as a roast. You can almost taste the all the flavor in the dark crust the rub created.
Feel free to adjust and adapt this according to your own tastes or the meal you're preparing. For instance, if I'm braising, I might use a smoked paprika instead or ground chipotle instead of cayenne.
All-Around Spice Rub
Makes about 2 cups
3/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup fresh ground pepper blend (you can also use just black pepper)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 teaspoons cayenne
Thoroughly mix spices and store in a cool, dark pantry.
Deal of the Day: Spices like pepper, coriander and fennel seed are best when freshly ground. For small batches, I love a mortar and pestle. But for larger batches, it is so much easier to have a spice grinder.