We see them all the time — those recipes on the back of boxes in our pantry, or the inside of a chocolate wrapper, or an herb package label. Do you ever try them? I do, but it depends on what they are.
Like the one on the back of the Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt box I noticed after my husband said he liked rubs on his grilled meat more than marinade. It always surprises me when he takes the time to mention something like that because he’s pretty accommodating when it comes to eating whatever I feel like cooking, rarely asking for anything in particular.
We weren’t involved in any discussion about dinner plans, or watching a food related show — he just mentioned it while he was standing at the sink fiddling with his teabag before leaving for work one day. Go figure. Sure, I’d made and used rubs before, but thinking about it, knew I used marinades more frequently.
So how perfect was it that when I went to fill the salt dish that day, Bruce Aidell’s Secret Spice Rub,
(which clearly wasn’t secret if it was published on the back of the salt box), was staring right at me? I’d say pretty perfect. No leafing through cookbooks, no Googling rubs. I was done and the hunkster would be happy.
By the time I was finished putting the rub together, it wasn’t Bruce’s any longer. As usual, I didn’t have exactly all his ingredients, so made some changes. Big surprise, right? Life is never boring around here.
If you haven’t decided what’s on the menu for the Labor Day weekend, this is quick and easy.
Kelly’s Not So Secret Rub
1/3 c. kosher salt
2 T coarsely ground pepper
2 T brown sugar
3 T smoked paprika
2 T chili powder
1 T dried sage leaves
1 tsp. herbs de provence
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. fennel
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. dried tarragon
2 T dried minced garlic
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in a well-sealed jar or ziplock bag.
To use, sprinkle generously on both sides of beef and rub into meat. Wrap meat well and place in the fridge for at least an hour. The longer it sits, the more intense the flavor of the rub will be.
Grill depending on the cut of meat chosen, and thickness of that meat. I used pieces of thin cut round steak labeled as for “carne asada,” which I hadn’t seen before. And since the price was right, it ended up in my basket. It was quick to grill, only about 4 minutes on each side, if that.
Serve with a nice crunchy Grilled Corn Salad like this one…
Chunks of fresh tomatoes
Sliced red onion
Two cobs of corn
Juice of 1 lime
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches salt
Rub the corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill just until kernels begin to brown and remove to cool. When it’s cool enough to be handled, cut kernels from the cobs and set aside.
On a large platter, arrange the chopped romaine. Add the chunks of tomato, cucumber, and red onions, then grilled corn. Sprinkle over the radishes, some feta, and finish up with a bit of chopped cilantro.
For the dressing, squeeze the lime into a small jar and add 3 T of extra virgin olive oil. Stir rapidly with a fork, add a couple pinches of salt, taste to correct flavor and pour over salad.
To serve, grill some sandwich rolls, place a large piece of steak over the entire roll, then pile on the salad.
Now, chew your way to happiness.
Notes: This is about as loosey goosey as I get with recipes. I had the meat in the freezer and knew it would work just fine for the rub. Just a hint of sweetness, the chili not overpowering, the taragon surprisingly pleasant since I’m not a fan. Plus, the recipe makes a ton, so you can experiment with ribs, shrimp, or chicken. It would be terrific on a slow grilled pork roast, too.
I didn’t set out to make sandwiches of this, but it just seemed right. The crunchy cool flavors of the salad were perfect for the spiciness of the meat and everything stayed loaded on the bun, believe it or not. All in all, a satisfying meal.
And for what it’s worth…
We have salad with nearly every meal we eat, so you’d think my fridge would be full of salad dressing. With the exception of a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch my son requests because he likes to dip his chips in it, there is no bottled dressing. I stopped buying it years ago because the over seasoned flavor dominated anything it was poured over. Plus, the ingredient list left quite a bit to be desired: high fructose corn syrup on my salad? No thanks!
When I make salad dressing, it’s basically either lemon or lime and olive oil, just as I’ve written above. From there, I alter it depending on what kind of salad we’re having, or what the salad will be served with. I’ve added honey, mustard, a bit of balsamic vinegar, basil oil, roasted pepper oil, grapeseed oil, garlic, herbs…the list is endless. It takes so little time and is so worth it because it tastes better, and is more healthy.
One more thing…
I honestly didn’t realize who Bruce Aidell was. Even though I’ve purchased his brand of sausage many, many times, I never put two and two together. Now I know. Last again, I’m sure.