Much as I love the holidays, once they're over I'm ready for a change of pace. Some spices and distinctive flavors to add some zing to a meal are what I crave. An easy way to do that is to use a flavorful dry rub on meat.
Here is a recipe for a versatile dry rub that is delicious on chicken, pork or beef. It's the main seasoning in my Slow Cooker Pulled Pork. I also use it on ribs--either in the oven or on the grill.
This dry rub mix makes a big enough batch that you can keep it on hand for jazzing up your meat at the last minute. It is super easy--just mix a bunch of spices together, and you're done. This recipe combines spices with dark brown sugar. It's sweet, savory, and spicy all in one blend.
Here are the 14 spices and seasonings used in this recipe:
chili powder (mild, medium, or hot)
If you don't have all 14 of these spices, don't stress about it. An 11- or 12-spice blend will be good, too. Use the quantities of each ingredient as a guide to their importance in the mix. The seasoned salt and paprika are the largest quantities of any of the ingredients, so I don't recommending eliminating those. But the small amount of cloves and mace could be eliminated without significantly effecting the taste of the blend.
What is MACE? This is not the same mace that is in an aerosol can and used to defend yourself against muggers. That kind of mace definitely has no place in a dry rub recipe! The spice form of mace is made from the dried fleshy covering of the nutmeg seed. It is a sweet spice that is compatible with spices like cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg. You'll also find mace in my pumpkin pie spice mix recipe.
It's easy to customize this mix to please your palate.
For a spicier blend, use hot chili powder (rather than mild) and more cayenne, cumin, or black pepper.
For a sweeter blend, increase the allspice, cloves, mace, or brown sugar.
For a smokier blend, omit the sweet paprika and substitute all smoked paprika.
Here are step-by-step photos for making 14-Spice Dry Rub Mix:
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients: See the spices listed above. Plus you need dark brown sugar. You can use light brown sugar, but the dark version has a richer flavor.
Step 2. Spread out the brown sugar on a baking sheet and let it dry for 1-2 hours. This will prevent the mix from clumping.
Step 3. Combine all ingredients in a food processor for a quick and thorough way to make this mix. (Or, you can sift everything into a bowl and whisk until well combined.)
Step 4. Pulse until well mixed.
Step 5. Store in an airtight jar or container.
To use this dry rub mix, sprinkle it on all sides of the meat (chicken, beef, or pork). If you have time, wrap or cover the meat and refrigerate it for 1 hour (or as long as 12 hours) before cooking. The fridge time will enhance the flavor, but it's also good if you cook the meat right away. Cook the meat on the grill, in the oven or slow cooker, or fried in a pan, according to your preference.
For a saucier coating on your meat, brush it with barbecue sauce during the last 5-10 minutes of cooking time.
1/4 cup seasoned salt (reduce to 1/8 cup for low-sodium version)
1/4 cup paprika (sweet Hungarian)
1/4 cup smoked paprika (Spanish)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon celery salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon rubbed dried sage
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Spread brown sugar out on a baking sheet for 1-2 hours so it can dry out and avoid clumping. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well mixed. Or, sift the ingredients into a bowl and whisk them until mixed. Store in airtight container.
TO USE: Sprinkle dry rub mix on all sides of the meat (chicken, beef, or pork) and rub it in. If you have time, wrap or cover the meat and refrigerate it for 1 hour (or as long as 12 hours) before cooking. The fridge time will enhance the flavor, but it's also good if you cook the meat right away. Grill, pan fry, or bake the meat according to your preference. Also good for seasoning meat in slow cooker.
VARIATIONS: --For a spicier blend, use hot chili powder (rather than mild) and more cayenne, cumin, black pepper. --For a sweeter blend, increase the allspice, cloves, mace, and brown sugar. --For a smokier blend, omit the sweet paprika and substitute all smoked paprika.
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I use these 8-1/2 x 11 sticker sheets for printing jar labels. Download the 14-spice mix labels, print them on these sheets, cut them apart, and stick the labels on your jars for an impressive gift presentation.