Cooking

Therein Lies the Rub

6 spice rubs to achieve summer grilling perfection
Photo: Tasting Table
BBQ

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Grilling season is in full swing, and while we like playing around in our spice cabinet to create a good rub, it’s also crucial to have the tried-and-true go-tos on hand for impromptu barbecuing—which is pretty much how we plan to spend this Fourth of July weekend. Here are our favorites ranging from a taste of the Near East to a coffee-infused rub that caramelizes perfectly to the best grilling salt blend we’ve found yet.

① Vivian Howard's Red Eye Coffee Rub, $10.95
A little sweetness in a grill rub goes a long way, and this one from North Carolina chef Vivian Howard has just that, plus coffee, cumin, smoked paprika and garlic. That touch of brown sugar helps caramelize the crust of meats as well. Try it on our pork ribs recipe.  

② Williams-Sonoma Spicy Mini Rub Set, $29.95
When it comes to rubs, more really is, well, more. This sampler offers tastes of Southeast Asia with a Sriracha kaffir lime rub; a bit of the Southwest with a spicy and smoky chipotle rub; an all-around great sweet heat rub that combines smoked sea salt with garlic, onion, hops, brown sugar and lots of peppers; and more. Buy the sampler, and you’re set for all of your summer grilling needs.

③ Jacobsen Salt Co. Steak Seasoning Salt, $9
The most important thing for a perfect steak dinner? A good-quality steak. The next most important thing? Salt. Lucky for you, this blend has a whole lot of it. Sea salt is mixed with minced garlic, coriander, rosemary, fennel seeds, paprika, thyme, parsley and a little hit of pepper, and the result is excellent. (Pro tip: Don’t let the label fool you; it tastes amazing with chicken, too.)

④ La Boîte’s Ararat N.35, $15
Channel the flavors of Turkey with this blend of fenugreek, smoked paprika and Urfa chile, which pairs well with fish and chicken, from expert spice blender Lior Lev Sercarz.

⑤ Charissa Hot Spice Rub, $6
This Moroccan-inspired foods company mixes cumin with Spanish paprika, garlic and sea salt for a taste of Marrakech. The bonus here? Cayenne gives any meat you rub with this one a kick in the pants (just be careful not to get the rub in your eyes).

⑥ The Salt Lick Original Dry Rub, $9
Texas barbecue legend The Salt Lick mixes its classic dry rub of black and cayenne peppers with salt and “spices.” Don’t ask what those mystery spices are; just trust us and use it on anything that belongs on the grill.

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