How to make dry rub base; recipe for three ethnic spice rubs

by on June 5, 2013

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We are fortunate in Sonoma wine country to be able to fire up the terrace grill almost year-round, but summer is still the season when we grill the most–and stock up on my favorite, ethnic dry rub blends to get us through the season.

In this video, I demonstrate how to make the Jordan house dry rub base recipe, which can last all summer and into fall, and most importantly, be quickly and easily adapted into an Asian, Mediterranean or Indian dry rub. It’s like having four different recipes with one simple base. I prefer pairing each ethnic spice rub with a meat typical of that culture, such as pork shoulder or duck for the Asian spice rub, lamb for the Mediterranean and chicken for the Indian spices, but there are no rules. Experimenting with different meats, as well as baking–not just grilling, will help you create an array of delicious main courses from the same dry rubs, each highlighting different flavors. Dry rubs don’t need to be relegated to backyard grills. They’re great for meats slow roasted in the oven during winter months, too.

When selecting a dry rub recipe for a meat you’ll be serving with Cabernet Sauvignon, I recommend staying away from hot curries and using a sweet curry spice, as the heat will over-accentuate the alcohol in the wine. This topic is covered in the above video, but feel free to ask any questions about wine pairings below.

I always recommend using whole spices and grinding them in a spice grinder, as the flavors will be fresh and bright. Here’s a great blog post about how to grind your own spices. That said, Penzeys, my favorite spice purveyor, is an excellent source for whole and pre-ground spices. When using pre-ground spices, you can simply skip the grinding step noted in all four recipes below.

To learn how to prepare a pork shoulder for this dry rub recipe, watch my recent demonstration video.

Recipe: Jordan Dry Rub Base

Summary: A staple in the Jordan kitchen, this dry rub base can be used on its own or as a base for my favorite ethnic spice rubs.

Ingredients ~

  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup demerara sugar
  • ½ cup black peppercorns
  • 3 T ground garlic
  • 3 T Colman’s mustard
  • 4 T dried onion

Instructions ~

  1. Grind whole spices together with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle (if using whole spices vs. ground).
  2. Mix with a whisk in a non-reactive bowl.
  3. Store in a mason jar in a cool, dark place. Allow flavors to meld for 48 hours before use.
  4. Will keep for 2-3 months.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Yield: 5 cups (80 servings; enough for 40 pounds of meat)

 

Recipe: Asian Dry Rub

Ingredients ~

  • 1 T fermented black beans
  • 1 T tangerine peel
  • 1 T Chinese 5 spice powder *
  • ½ T Sichuan peppercorn
  • ½ T ground ginger (galangal may be substituted)
  • 2 chile piquins
  • 1 ¼ cup base rub

*Note: If you can’t find all of the above Asian ingredients, simply substitute 4 T of Chinese 5 spice powder and mix it with 1 ¼ cup base rub.

Instructions ~

  1. Finely chop fermented black beans.
  2. Grind all whole spices, including the chopped fermented black beans, together with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle (if using whole spices vs. ground).
  3. Add freshly ground spices into non-reactive bowl with 1 ¼ cup base rub and fermented black beans. Mix with a whisk.
  4. Store in a mason jar in a cool, dark place. Allow flavors to meld for 48 hours before use.
  5. Will keep for 2-3 months.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Yield: 1 ¾ cups (16 servings; enough for 8 pounds of meat)

Recipe: Mediterranean Dry Rub

Ingredients ~

  • 1 T oregano
  • ½ T marjoram
  • ½ T cumin
  • ½ T sumac berry
  • ½ T dried lemon peel
  • ½ T Aleppo pepper
  • 1 T smoked Spanish paprika
  • +1 ¼ cup base rub

Instructions ~

  1. Grind whole spices together with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle (if using whole spices vs. ground).
  2. Mix with a whisk in a non-reactive bowl with 1 ¼ cup base rub.
  3. Store in a mason jar in a cool, dark place. Allow flavors to meld for 48 hours before use.
  4. Will keep for 2-3 months.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Yield: 1 ¾ cups (16 servings; enough for 8 pounds of meat)

 

Recipe: Indian Spice Rub

Ingredients ~ *

  • 3 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. coriander
  • 2 tsp. fennel pollen
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 ¼ cup base rub

*Note: If you can’t find all of the above ingredients, simply substitute 4 T of Maharajah curry powder and mix it with 1 ¼ cup base rub.

Instructions ~

  1. Grind whole spices together with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle (if using whole spices vs. ground).
  2. Mix with a whisk in a non-reactive bowl with 1 ¼ cup base rub.
  3. Store in a mason jar in a cool, dark place. Allow flavors to meld for 48 hours before use.
  4. Will keep for 2-3 months.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Yield: 1 ¾ cups (16 servings; enough for 8 pounds of meat)

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