Dry Rubs, Marinades and More!
Now that we’re in the middle of grilling season, let’s take a moment to consider the preparation process for different types of meat and veggies. Having dry seasonings, marinades and dressings prepped and ready can give different flavor profiles to your food.
Dry seasonings and rubs can be kept in airtight containers for at least three months, sometimes longer. Completely coating a piece of steak or pork in a dry rub will ensure that the meat stays moist. Believe it or not, steak is delectable when grilled with a salt coating. Pat it dry and coat both sides with an even mixture of sea salt and pepper, making sure to rub into the meat. This tenderizes the meat as it cooks. Place steak on a grill set on high, and then immediately reduce heat to medium. Cook approximately 10 minutes on one side, turning only once, then cook 5 minutes on the other side. Cooking times can be adjusted depending on how you like your steak. Preheating the grill to high will help your steak sear on the outside without overcooking.
Seasoned salts are easy to make and taste great on all types of meat. For instance, to make chili salt, combine ¼ cup of sea salt with 1 teaspoon of chili or chipotle powder. Like mushroom salt? Use a food processor to combine dried mushrooms with sea salt in a 1:2 ratio. Turn on high just long enough to grind mushrooms and combine with the salt. Seasoned salts can be made or purchased and are a great condiment to keep on hand. Use it as a rub on steak, sprinkle on cooked corn or squash, and even use it mixed with olive oil to marinate chicken before cooking.
To create a successful dry rub, you’ll need at least four components: sugar, salt, heat and flavoring. As strange as it sounds, sugar is a must-have for rubs, especially for pieces of pork (ribs, roast, etc). As it heats, the sugar melts and forms a crust around the outside. The sweetness of the sugar is very subtle, especially when balanced with salt, heat and flavoring, such as chili lime, garlic, or even rosemary.
It makes the perfect glaze on ham when baking, grilling or smoking. Mix ½ cup of molasses with ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar (or citrus juice – orange or pineapple only) and ¼ cup of Dijon mustard. If the combination is not sweet enough for you, add brown sugar to taste. Mix well and brush over ham or pork while cooking. Save a little to use as a dipping sauce when the meat is done.
You can use it to season cooked meat, pasta or veggies. Try mixing it with additional olive oil and baste your chicken, shrimp or pork with it while cooking. Pesto makes a great salad dressing or even a dip, if you combine it with ranch dressing and a little Greek yogurt.
Traditional salad dressings are great for marinating veggies and meat. Italian dressing can be used to baste steaks during cooking, and gives pasta salad a great flavor. Want a creamy dressing instead? Try mixing sour cream or Greek yogurt into the dressing, or use ranch.
Fruit and Cheese
Flavoring for food does not necessarily need to come from a spice or even a vinaigrette. Sometimes the food itself is the flavoring. Mix crushed pineapple with molasses, a little apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon or two of Dijon mustard for a delicious ham glaze. Pieces of pineapple (fresh or canned) can be cooked with a little melted butter to top sandwiches, fish tacos, or mix with your favorite
Pimiento cheese isn’t usually considered a condiment but can definitely enhance the flavor of other foods. Try serving it on biscuits, hamburgers, hot dogs, and even on chicken sandwiches! It also makes a great grilled cheese. Pimiento cheese can be used in most recipes that call for cheddar cheese (sausage balls, omelets, etc).
If you stock your pantry with lots of ready-made rubs, dressings and other condiments, you’ll be ready to wow your guests this summer. So, dust off that apron and barbeque tongs, and prepare to show off your grilling skills. Happy cooking everyone!
– Tiffany Hughes, an Acworth resident and works for the Booth Western Art Museum. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hughes Rib Rub
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground red pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons lime zest
3 tablespoons onion powder
2 cups brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk seasonings together in a medium bowl, then add the brown sugar, a little at a time. Sprinkle salt and pepper last (no more than 2 teaspoons each). Store seasoning in an airtight glass jar. Makes approximately 3 cups (enough to cover 1 rack of ribs).
Note: The flavor of the ingredients will strengthen the longer it sits, so taste before adding to meat.
Pesto Broccoli Pasta
16 ounce-can chicken broth
6 cups water
12 ounces pasta
8-12 ounces broccoli
4-6 tablespoons pesto
Salt to taste
Combine chicken broth and water to equal 8 cups. Bring to a boil, then add pasta and broccoli. Cook until pasta is al dente and broccoli is warm. Drain, then stir in pesto. Taste to determine if additional pesto or salt is needed. Serve with fresh parmesan.
Grilled Pineapple Chicken Sandwiches
4 slices fresh pineapple (or 4 canned pineapple rings)
4 chicken breasts
4 tablespoons butter, divided
Balsamic vinegar for drizzling
In a large frying pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and place pineapple in pan. Cook approximately 2 minutes over medium high heat, then turn pineapple once. If it is not caramelized when you start to turn it, wait an additional 30 seconds as you want to flip it only once. When caramelized on both sides, remove from pan, and lay in one half of a hamburger bun.
Melt an additional 2 tablespoons butter in the same pan and add chicken breasts. Cook approximately 5 minutes on one side, then flip. The renderings from the pineapple will coat the chicken as it cooks. Once the chicken is done on both sides, drizzle with balsamic vinegar then place on the other half of a hamburger bun. If adding lettuce, place on chicken before pineapple.
Note: If desired, the hamburger buns can be cooked in the pan renderings after removing the chicken. If cooking on a grill, place a piece of aluminum foil on the grill grates if you are using pineapple spears and not rings.
Creamy Pimiento Cheese
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces pimientos, chopped
½ teaspoon seasoned salt (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Using a hand mixer, combine all three cheeses and blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients, tasting to see if more salt is needed. Store in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
Baked Pimiento Cheese Bacon Hot Dogs
8 hot dogs
8 hot dogs buns
½ cup cooked bacon bits
Condiments of choice
1 cup pimiento cheese, or more if desired
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place buns in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. Spread buns with desired condiments. Cut hot dogs in half lengthwise and lay in buns. Sprinkle each hot dog with bacon bits. Bake for 15 minutes, or until hot dogs are done. Then spread hot dogs with pimiento cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Note: Jalapenos are really good sprinkled on top of the pimiento cheese!