Have you ever taken a bite of something and wondered what spices were used to season it? In the world of barbecue and grilling spice combinations are called rubs because the mixture of spices is rubbed into the meat. I get several emails a year asking about making rubs and how to find combinations for different flavors. The simple answer is that rubs are whatever you want. Heck – salt and pepper is a rub! But, for developing certain flavors combinations it’s probably a good idea to do some research on the spices you like in your favorite dishes. For example, if you want an Asian inspired rub then research oriental spices and Korean barbecue. Tex-Mex rubs include spices found in South of the border cooking. The same goes for Greek and Mediterranean cooking, Italian foods etc. If you like that “flavor” learn the basic spices associated with that style of cooking and start playing with spice combinations. Or, you can cheat! More on that below. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when developing your own spice combinations – AKA, rubs! Add Before Long before Cooking The secret to using a spice rub on any meat is getting a head start. I apply my rib rub on my ribs a day before they hit the smoker. This allows the spices to dissolve as the meat soaks up the flavor. At the very least, apply your rub several minutes before cooking. Allow the rub to turn from dry to moist – you’ll see a notable difference over the course of ten to thirty minutes. If you plan on more than a few minutes, then cover and place in the fridge. But don’t go crazy with the above suggestion when it comes to delicate items like seafood. A few minutes to allow the seasoning to sink in will be perfect. Watch the Sugar and Salt! Going healthy is a great thing when you start mixing up your own batches of rubs. Don’t get me wrong – you can add a pinch of salt – just don’t go overboard. Avoid doubling up on sodium when you use salt and then another ingredient such as Garlic Salt. Suddenly you have double the salt! I include dashes of brown sugar, and even table sugar, in several of my rubs and seasoning blends. However – if you use a lot of sugar in your mix and heat things up too quickly you could end up with a bitter [...]
By Kent Whitaker Have you ever eaten a shrunken head with melted Colby and Pepper Jack cheese? Who says that Halloween is just for handing out candy and popcorn balls to neighborhood kids? It’s time to toss in some fun foodie ideas that are well suited for the kitchen or grill. And, why not make it fun, kind of gross… and yet packed with flavor? For any other article this recipe would simply be for a burger with some spicy seasoning, steamed onions, a tangy jalapeno mustard BBQ sauce and gherkin pickle wedges. For Halloween, this recipe transforms into something a bit more fun. Tell your family, or guests, you’re serving up Shrunken Head Sliders with tape worms, zombie sauce and alien fingers… with cheese! Remember, you’re having fun and getting into the Halloween spirit, pun intended, but that’s no reason to forget about making a great tasting dish. I suggest that you make a blended burger for extra flavor. I suggest combining ground beef with ground Italian sausage. Or, ground turkey and black bean burgers. If you break up the beans your ground turkey will have a creepy purple tint to them – perfect for Halloween! The “zombie sauce” mentioned above is one of my standard quick and easy “cheater junk sauces.” That’s where you have some sauce in the fridge and you add some extra “junk” to it for bonus flavor. For this I combined a mustard based barbecue sauce with a splash of honey and store bought chopped jalapenos. Use these recipe as a starting point for your creative ideas and have fun! Easy Beef & Italian Sausage Burgers 1 pound lean ground beef, 80/20 1/2 pound Italian sausage, ground Salt and pepper to taste Steak sauce Cajun seasoning Cheese Combine the beef and ground Italian sausage in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Form into equally sized meatballs about the size of a golf ball. Next, flatten each ball while pinching one side into a thinner piece forming a skeleton head type of shape. Next, season each side with a light brushing of steak sauce and a few dashes of Cajun seasoning. Grill, bake or broil as you normally would. Use tiny slices of cheese for x’s representing stitched eyes and for the mouth. I used pepper jack. Serve hot on toasted slider buns covered in cheese with zombie sauce, steamed onion slices and gherkin pickle wedges. Serve open faced. Kent “The Deck Chef” Whitaker is the former winner of the [...]
By Kent Whitaker Summer grilling is a fantastic opportunity to expand your grilling repartee beyond traditional meats, veggies, and hotdogs. Why not look towards the fruit bowl in your kitchen for some inspiration. There are a bunch of fruits suited for great grilling that can be used as a side dish, a garnish as well as an ingredient in a recipe such as grilled mango salsa or pineapple with a nice hamburger! Then there’s always the dessert consideration. Fruit is naturally sweet, so why not take that attribute and put it towards good use when you’re thinking about your after-dinner dessert? Here’s my top-three pieces of fruit that I love to grill and serve with ice cream. Consider these starting points for your next family favorite recipe. Make these starting points your own with your own flavor additions. Grilled Peaches and Cream Something about a grilled peach says summertime! Just like a grilled apple reminds me of fall! Select several nice peaches that are not too soft. You’re looking for something that will hold up well when on the grates and when turned. Rinse the peaches off, slice them in half, remove pits, brush the tops with soften butter, and grill butter side down over medium high heat. Allow them to cook for a few minutes, then turn, and continue to grill for only a few minutes more. Brush with additional butter if desired, sprinkle with brown sugar, and serve hot with cinnamon crisps from the deli if available and a scoop of ice cream. NOTE: You can use peach slices as well with a grilling basket! And, why not grill up some peaches for your next peach cobbler? Give it a try. Grilled Honey Coconut Rum Bananas Here’s an idea that’s steeped in one of my friends Cuban background. They loved using traditional plantains but turned towards the banana as the main ingredient because bananas were easier to find. This is probably one of the easiest grilling recipes around when it comes to fruit. Slice the banana lengthwise, keep them in their peals, brush with butter or use butter flavored non-stick spray. You can use a griddle, on prepared grates, in a grilling basket, and even on foil. Grill the bananas with the peel over medium high heat just long enough to add grill marks and brown the edges slightly. The banana will start to cook and pull away from the peel slightly. Drizzle with a bit of honey and a dash of coconut flavored rum. [...]
Wow, these really look good, Leave it to the pit boys to come up with a mixture of spare ribs and margaritas.