We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Barbeque Spice Rub

by Michelle

   Many years ago, I made double-batches upon double-batches of this spice rub as Christmas gifts for family, friends, neighbors and my daughter's teachers. Since then, I have continually received great feedback on the rub combined with requests along the lines of, "If you'd like to make more, feel free to pass some along to me." No need to wait any longer on me... you can now whip up a batch for you (and your friends - if they are lucky)!
   This recipe is from my favorite cookbook of 2000: Douglas Rodriguez's Latin Flavors On The Grill by Douglas Rodriguez and Andrew DiCataldo (Ten Speed Press). In the book, Douglas writes, "When applied to meat, fish, or chicken the night before, the salt and sugar content draws out moisture while infusing flavor - essentially curing the food."
   I especially love this rub on Tri-Tip, and  it is the secret to my shredded beef tacos (the subject of next week's post). For chicken, I have often paired the rub with a final flourish of barbeque sauce for great depth of flavor. Douglas also uses the rub as a coating on potato chips. I haven't tried that yet, but it sounds tasty.

Barbeque Spice Rub

   For years I prepared dried whole chiles for this recipe. Typically I would need to soften the chiles by dry roasting in a cast iron skillet until pliable, then I would tear or chop the chiles into smaller pieces (discarding the seeds), and in a food processor, process the pieces into flakes. Finally, in batches, I would grind the smaller flakes until finely ground in an electric coffee mill. Not much fun, but necessary. And I would find that more often than not, the fumes from the chiles would irritate my throat.
   One day I stumbled across finely ground ancho and chipotle chiles at 17th Street Market in downtown Tucson. I leapt for joy putting to good use all the ballet classes of my youth. Now the spice rub is a snap to prepare. Perhaps you'll get lucky, like I did, and find the ground chiles in the spice isle of a specialty market where you live.
    A quick comment about Spanish paprika. It is available in ranging heat from mild to hot. Some Spanish paprika is dried by smoking which gives the peppers a pleasing smokey flavor. I like to combine both mild and smoked Spanish paprika in this spice rub.

1 cup Spanish paprika
1/2 cup ground ancho chile (2-ounces dried whole chiles)
1/2 cup Diamond™ kosher salt
1/4 cup ground chipotle chile (1-ounce dried whole chile)
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup granulated onion
1/4 cup ground black pepper
2 Tbsps ground cumin

1. Thoroughly mix the ingredients together in a bowl and then transfer to an airtight jar, preferably made of glass. Store at room temperature, out of sunlight.

Note: This recipe makes about 3-1/2 cups, enough to keep some for yourself and to pass some along as a gift. Although Douglas indicates that the spice rub keeps well for 6 months, I have found that it lasts much longer.


  1. Hmm. Good reminder and it isn't too early to start looking for fancy little containers/jars and getting a few dozen made up for the holidays. I always say I am going to make liqueur and never do, but this is economical and everyone will appreciate it.

  2. I've now used all of this that I made. It's delicious!


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