A Simple Spice Rub

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I like spice rubs, but I tend not to buy ones in the store since they are mostly salt and very expensive and you can actually make the same thing at home for a fraction of the price. I have a default spice rub that I use for chicken, fish or pork when I am not really sure what I am in the mood for. It is quick and easy to make a spice rub with the spices you have on hand and they will keep in an airtight container for 6 months (which is as long as you should be keeping spices around anyway), but I usually just make them on the fly since they take less than a minute to put together. For this recipe, I will give the ratios in parts and you can use whatever measuring device you want.

The Software
2 parts smoked paprika
2 parts powdered garlic
2 parts cumin
2 parts dried oregano
1 part ground adobe
1 part ground black pepper
1 part salt

The Recipe
Take all of the ingredients and add them to a container with a lid. Close the lid tight and shake until well combined. Spread on your protein or veggies of choice. Cook and you are done.

If the rub is not salty enough for you, add more salt. It is easier to add more than it is to remove it after you have put everything together. The ratios are really just suggestions, add and subtract whatever you would like and feel free to substitute sweet paprika for smoked and to take anything out. This recipe was developed with what I had on hand, you can pretty much make your own by combining spices and herbs and trying them out.

5 comments to A Simple Spice Rub

  • I like to keep ALL salt out of my spice mixtures. I like the 2 parts cumin, though. Love me some cumin.

  • Iron Chef Leftovers

    Salt is important in a rub for a couple of reasons – the salt will actually help the rub penatrate into the meat (you should apply the rub at least 30 minutes before cooking) and it will help the rub that stays on the surface to stick better because it will draw water out of the meat.

    Unlike commercial rubs where the salt content is usually 25-35%, this one is less than 10% by the ratio I used.

    With the cumin, paprika and adobe, this rub works really well in place of wood chips – it has a great smokey flavor to it. I love it on salmon especially when you add some lemon zest to it.

  • A.J. Coltrane

    I love me some cumin too. It’s almost a secret weapon sometimes.

  • Iron Chef Leftovers

    I think I need to write a post about the benefits of cumin!

  • My preferred technique is to salt the meat first, separately, and then apply the rub. That way I can go heavier (or lighter )on the spices as desired without adding salt. I’m not anti-salt, but I do prefer it on the light side, while my wife prefers a heavier hand.

    As with chili heat, the tongue can become accustomed to salt, requiring more to chieve the same taste over time.

    Also, I’m not a fan of drawing _any_ moisture out of the meat unnecessarily.

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