With the barbeque and grilling season now upon us, I have already been using the backyard grill and barbeque smoker quite a bit. One of my backyard summer cooking essentials is this versatile dry rub spice and seasoning mix which I have tweaked over the last couple of years to suit my preference. You can, of course adjust any of the ingredients to get your own personally balanced version but I think all of the players in this mix bring something to the flavor party.
The dry rubbed ribs above are very slowly open baked in the oven and the smoked version of the exact same ribs is pictured below.
I use this has a dry rub for slowly barbequed or smoked ribs, pork loin or beef. It also makes a delicious seasoning for grilled pork chops or steak and it is now my go to-seasoning for grilled hamburgers. I sprinkle it liberally on both sides of the burger patty before grilling for what I think is one of the best seasoned burgers you can find.
This flavorful seasoning mix can also be liberally rubbed all over the outside of pork loin, tenderloin or beef roasts and then slowly barbequed or smoked under indirect heat at about 225-250 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees F for pork and about 130-135 degrees F for beef roast. I sometimes smoke a pork loin roast, as pictured, or an eye of round roast just to serve them as cold cuts during the week. Thinly sliced, they both make phenomenal sandwiches! If you are using your gas grill to barbeque, place the meat on one side of the grill and use the burner or burners on the opposite side so that it is not directly over heat. Regulate the gas to keep the temperature at about 250 for slow barbequed flavor. The same technique can also be used with a charcoal grill, just keep the charcoal on one side and the meat on the opposite side.
You can add smoke flavor by soaking hardwood chips like mesquite, apple, cherry or hickory in warm water for about a half hour. A couple of handfuls will do. Wrap the soaked wood chips in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil and poke only two holes in the foil, one at either end to allow the smoke to escape. I place the foil packets in a vegetable grill pan so that the packet is not sitting directly on the gas burner. You can add more soaked wood chip packets as they burn out, it all depends on how much smoke favor you wish to add.
Some of the lightly smoked pork loin pictured above provided the inspiration for one fantastic brunch dish too. Warmed and thinly sliced, the pork sits on some buttered and pan fried artisan bread and is topped with an over easy egg and my favorite, quick-cooked, spicy tomato compote. Find that recipe below.
Spicy Tomato Compote
6 tbsp olive oil
8 large ripe tomatoes diced
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed chili sauce or ¼ tsp chili flakes
salt and pepper to season
Sauté the garlic in the oil over medium heat for just a minute before adding the tomatoes, brown sugar, chili sauce, salt, pepper. Continue to cook until the tomatoes soften and the compote reduces to a jam-like consistency. Add the balsamic vinegar in the final minute or two of cooking before serving.