Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

How to: Spice Rubs

posted in Spices and Seasonings by Jessica Howard

What is a Spice Rub?

Most of us are familiar with marinating as a way to infuse meat with flavour before grilling or baking. Another way to flavor meat is to rub it with a mixture of dry ingredients called a spice rub. These rubs typically contain salt or sugar and spices, but can also contain flavorings like coffee grounds, cocoa, sesame seeds and dried chili peppers.

Once you’ve got a spice rub on hand, you can use it to jazz up other dishes, like seamed vegetables or soup. Another use is in salad dressing; simply mix some of the spice mixture with oil and vinegar.

How Do I Apply a Spice Rub?

Just sprinkle the rub on the meat, then spread it around with your fingers. A spice rub will act as a seasoning if it’s used just before cooking. It can be put on the meat up to a day in advance for more flavor.

How Do I Make a Spice Rub?

Grocery stores usually sell a variety of spice rubs, but chances are you have the ingredients to make your own. Some spice rub recipes might call for you to buy the whole spice, and then grind it at home using a coffee grinder, blender or mortar and pestle. Grinding the spices yourself will intensify the flavour, but definitely isn’t necessary.

Here Are Some Recipes for Spice Rubs

  • Import some island flavour into your home with this Spice-rubbed Caribbean Chicken. It’s rubbed with sugar and an exotic spice combination, including cumin, ginger and turmeric.
  • While we’re in the Caribbean, here’s a recipe for Jamaican Jerk Spice Rub from the blog Culinary Disasters. They’ve got a bonus tip for us: mix the rub with some butter and try it on corn on the cob.
  • Cocoa Cumin Allspice Rub: What an intriguing flavour combination! Who can resist the idea of incorporating cocoa into dinner?
    Perfect Pantry also shares this exotic rub for chicken – it’s got seven spices in it, ranging from Allspice to turmeric.
  • Spice Rub Pasta Salad: This spice rub goes on cooked pasta, with some Italian dressing and whatever other ingredients you like for a zesty pasta salad.
  • This recipe for a pan-seared rib steak uses a mustard powder-based rub.
  • Shrimp are put on skewers, brushed with oil and then rubbed with spices in this Cajun Grilled Shrimp recipe.
  • Here’s a recipe for fish tacos that includes a fish spice rub. You can keep it simple and just make the spice-rubbed fish, or follow the whole recipe for making tacos.
  • Recipemom passes on a Salmon Spice Rub for jazzing up plain salmon – its flavour comes from brown sugar, paprika and thyme.
  • Hungry Cravings says she keeps a jar of this Chili Rub in the pantry at all times, and says it works wonders on vegetables, meats and fish.

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2 Comments

steven said:

very interesting

Kathy Maister said:

Make sure that your spices have not lost their vibrancy! If there is no scent when you open the jar, the spices may have been sitting in your cupboard too long. Heat can reduce the shelf life considerably of dried spice. It is best not to store spices near the oven.