Here’s the rub—a simple spice blend for summer

May 26, 2016

Cajun-Inspired Spice Rub / JillHough.com

If you know me, you know that I’m not so much in love with cooking as I’m in love with eating. Ergo, I’m into anything that’ll make it quick and easy to enjoy delicious food.

Like a rub.

Having one at the ready, in a jar, bowl, or bag, is always a good thing. But it’s especially so during grilling season, when simple, flavorful food is what I crave.

And rubs are easy. In about five minutes you can make enough to last all summer.

To get started, try my Smoky Cajun-Inspired Rub (pictured). Use it on grilled chicken, fish, steak, pork, vegetables—pretty much anything. I adore it on salmon.

From there, create your own.

Cajun-Inspired Spice Rub / JillHough.com

Do you want it spicy? Earthy? Herbal? Sweet? Although a rub is far from an exact science, here are a few tips.

1. Spicy or warming ingredients like chili powder and cayenne pepper are nicely balanced by sweet or sweet-seeming ones, like brown sugar, cinnamon, and Chinese five-spice.

2. Dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, and oregano go well with earthy spices like cumin and coriander.

3. Definitely include salt in your rub—because it’s such a great all-around flavor enhancer but also because it’ll effectively turn your rub into a dry brine (if you apply it in advance of cooking), helping to make your meats juicy and flavorful through and through.

4. It almost never hurts to add granulated onion and granulated garlic.

Cajun-Inspired Spice Rub / JillHough.com

5. Consider sugar. Besides adding sweetness, it’ll make for a nicely browned crust on whatever you’re cooking. But sugar burns easily. So sugary rubs should only be used on foods that cook quickly, that cook over moderate heat, or that cook via indirect heat.

6. A rub is only as good as the spices that go into it. So avoid tired thyme, old oregano, and past-its-prime paprika. In fact, if your spices are older than about a year, they’re compost. Treat yourself to new ones, buying in small quantities and storing them away from light and heat. (I put a date on the label of my spice jars, so I know when they’ve lost their luster.)

With those ideas in mind, blend away—or use my recipe.

But here’s the rub—make plenty. There’s a deliciously long summer ahead.

Cajun-Inspired Spice Rub / JillHough.com


14 thoughts on “Here’s the rub—a simple spice blend for summer

  1. Jill Post author

    Thanks for stopping by to say so, Marye. A bourbon peach tea toast in your direction! (Recipe on her site, y’all!)

  2. Marlynn @ UrbanBlissLife

    I love rubs but so rarely think ahead to make my own but it makes so much sense to have some on hand, especially throughout the summer! Love your tips for blending just the right rub to match each person’s tastes, too!

  3. Jill Post author

    Thanks for saying so, Marlynn! I almost always make more than I need–it’s a lot easier to make a double batch today than to make some today and some next week–so I always have stuff on hand, squirreled away in drawers, cupboards, and the freezer. Of course, I then have to remember to use it!

  4. Jill Post author

    Amen to saving time, Becca, right? While I’m all for homemade food, I’m also for anything that’ll get me to the best part–eating!–sooner!

  5. Jill Post author

    Thanks for saying so, Nutmeg Nanny! LOVE your recent post featuring Raspberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream!!!

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