Archive for category Rubs

Rub n’ Slather Ribs

BBQ RibsI’m calling these Rub n’ Slather Ribs because they are cooked in two stages. Overall, these ribs take about four hours to cook at a low temperature of 250 degrees. The first stage is to cook them for two hours after applying a rub. After the first two hours, you add barbecue sauce and cook for an additional two hours.

I really dislike store-bought barbecue sauce. It doesn’t matter what the brand is; the stuff just doesn’t taste good to me. One of the things I dislike about them is the “smoke” taste. If you, on the other hand, like that smoky flavor, you can simply add “Liquid Smoke” to the homemade barbecue sauce.

The rub calls for an ingredient called Vulcan’s Fire Salt. This indispensable little condiment can be ordered from The Spice House, and it’s one of the things I keep in my spice cabinet. If you don’t have it or don’t want to wait to try these, you can always use a Cajun spice — which can be purchased at your local supermarket. The barbecue sauce also calls for a bit of a specialty product called Slap Ya Mama. You can also replace that with a Cajun spice. However, I highly recommend that you get both of these and stock this stuff.

This recipe works with both baby back ribs and regular ribs.


3.5-4 lbs pork ribs (baby back or otherwise)

Ingredients for Pig Rub

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp white pepper

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 tsp coriander

2 tsp Vulcan’s Fire Salt

1 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

Ingredients for Pork Slather Barbecue Sauce

16 oz tomato sauce

4 tbsp tomato paste

1/3 cup ketchup

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 tbsp Slap Ya Mama Cajun spice

1 tbsp dry mustard

1 tsp turmeric

1 tbsp onion powder

3 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp soy sauce

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp fresh-ground black pepper

1.5 tsp sea salt


Mix together all the ingredients for both the rub. Be sure to mix well.

Prepare the ribs by cutting the top flap off each rack of ribs. Keep for use in another recipe, like say, a black bean soup (which I promise to get to).

Line baking dishes with aluminum foil (depending upon how many racks of ribs you’re cooking). Apply the rub liberally to both the underside and the top of the ribs. The idea here is to have absolutely none left over.

Place in the foil-lined baking dish(es) and cook for two hours, uncovered, at 250 degrees.

While the ribs are cooking, mix all of the ingredients together for the barbecue sauce. Whisk at the end to ensure that everything is incorporated.

At the end of two hours, remove the ribs from the oven and slather the top with barbecue sauce. Be sure to cover the whole area using a brush. Cover the ribs with aluminum foil and return to the oven for another two hours. After two hours, remove the aluminum foil and switch the oven to “Broil.” Leave the ribs in for an additional 5-8 minutes. Be sure to put the oven hood on and open a window. I’ve set off many a smoke detector with this kind of behavior.



, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Pulled-pork-sandwich-499x446This has been a year of cookouts for us. Ironically, one of the most popular things I make for our cookouts are made in the house: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork. There’s nothing like it. This is one of three recipes I will put on this blog in the next few days. I also have one for pulled chicken and pulled beef.

There are several trains of thought on pulled pork. One is that you need a “basting” sauce if you cook it in the oven, but all you need to do is put a “rub” on the meat if you’re making it in a slow cooker. My train of thought? Why not both? It only adds to the incredible flavor. So, that’s the recipe I’m giving you.

Forget about using an “lean” pork cut for this dish. What you need is pork butt. Yes, it has fat in it, but there’s plenty of opportunity to get rid of the excess fat once the meat is cooked and easily separated. Frankly, there isn’t much to remove once the cooking is complete.

Ingredients for the Rub

1 boneless pork butt, about 3-4 lbs

2 tbsp dark brown sugar

6 garlic cloves, cut in half

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp coriander

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp dried thyme

Directions for the Rub

First, make slices in the pork butt and insert the half garlic cloves. Then mix the rest of the ingredients together and rub all over the pork butt, top, bottom and sides. Place the pork butt in a dish, cover with plastic wrap and allow this to sit in the refrigerator overnight.

Directions for the Cooking Sauce (also known as Mop)

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp dark brown sugar

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp salt

2 tbsp red pepper flakes

Whisk all of this together the night before you put the pork in the slow cooker so that all the flavors meld together. Refrigerate overnight.

Directions for the Main Event

Remove the pork butt from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. This takes about an hour. Place the pork butt into a slow cooker, add the mop, and cook on “high” for 8 hours. The meat will be tender and will easily fall apart. Keep an eye on the pork. As it becomes tender, break it into several smaller pieces. This helps to enhance the flavor.

When done, separate the rest of the pork with two forks. This is the perfect time to remove any pieces of fat that may be present. Move to a serving dish with sides, and spoon the mop over the pulled pork to keep the meat moist. Serve with sandwich buns (not burger buns; too small) and top with a nice North Carolina barbecue sauce (recipe follows).

North Carolina Vinegar-Based Barbecue Sauce

barbecue sauce squeeze bottlesI am definitely not a fan of traditional ketchup-based barbecue sauces. I also do not like the barbecue sauces that you can purchase prepared from the store. I prefer the vinegar-based sauces that you make yourself.

Invest in some barbecue squeeze bottles. They are not difficult to find, and they are not expensive.

Here’s my recipe.


1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup white vinegar

1 tbsp Kosher or Sea salt

1 tbsp light brown sugar

1 tbsp Tabasco sauce

1 tbsp Ketchup

1 tbsp Dijon Mustard

1 tsp ground black pepper


Place all ingredients into a small, non-reactive pan and bring to a boil. Whisk until the salt and brown sugar dissolve. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, place into a barbecue squeeze bottle and refrigerate overnight before using.

Cook’s Note: By the way, my homemade baked beans make an ideal side dish for pulled pork sandwiches.





, ,

1 Comment

Good Karma’s Not-Yet-Famous Steak Rub

grilling_steak_sOf course, you can always go out and buy a steak rub. They’re often called Cowboy Rubs. I hate that name. Don’t ask me why because I can’t give you a reason. You don’t have to be a damned cowboy to love good steak. Know what I mean?

You can make this rub and keep it in an airtight container, just like the one they sell you in the store for ridiculous amounts of money. This rub is excellent with Rib-Eye, Porterhouse, and Sirloin Strip Steaks. I’m giving you two versions of this rub. Take your pick!

One calls for dark roast coffee; the other for a medium roast. I’m not talking about Dunkin’ Donuts here. We’re also not talking about Gevalia, although the guy on the commercial would like to think we are.  I’m talking about Starbucks®. It doesn’t matter that I’m a Starbucks barista. I was a Starbucks coffee drinker long before I became a barista. They are serious about their coffee, and it’s seriously good. You also do not have to worry about buying an entire pound of coffee to make this. Starbucks will happily sell you a quarter pound. If you want Starbucks to grind it, ask for it to be ground on Turkish.

Now, mix ’em up and fire up that grill (or cast iron skillet)!

Ingredients, Rub No. 1

3/4 cup Starbucks dark roast coffee (Espresso, Gold Coast Blend, Italian Roast, or Sumatra), ground on “fine” in your coffee grinder

1 cup chili powder

1/3 cup paprika

3 tbsp ground coriander

1.5 tbsp ground cumin

2 tbsp ground dry mustard

1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper

1.5 tbsp Cayenne pepper

2 tbsp onion powder

3 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp ground Kosher salt

Mix ingredients together well and store in an airtight container.

Ingredients, Rub No. 2

3/4 cup Starbucks medium roast coffee (Antigua Guatemala, Organic Yukon Blend, House Blend, or Kenya), ground on “fine” in your coffee grinder

1/2 cup chili powder

1/2 cup lemon pepper (McCormick’s makes a good one)

2 tbsp dried oregano

3 tbsp dried lemon thyme

3 tbsp dried cilantro

1 tsp fresh ground rainbow pepper (black, white, red)

1 tbsp pink Himalayan salt

2 tbsp ground dry mustard

2 tbsp garlic powder

2 tbsp onion powder

Mix ingredients together well and store in an airtight container.








, , ,

Leave a comment

Chili-Lime Pork Tenderloin

Seared Pork Tenderloin (1)I have a love-hate thing with pork tenderloin. If it’s not cooked just right, it can be pretty dry. Also, it is not as flavorful as other (cheaper) cuts of pork. Frankly, I love pork butt (also referred to as Boston Butt). It’s flavorful, although more fatty than tenderloin. I don’t have a problem with that. Why? Because it has tons more flavor. However, pork tenderloin can be delicious if cooked properly. Now, I’m not saying you can’t bake it in the oven. You definitely can, but the recipe I’m about to provide here doesn’t call for oven baking. This is a bit of a twist on that recipe.

The pan-cooking recipe calls for pork bouillion. Goya sells this product. The box will probably have the name “carnitas” on the front. That’s what you want.

I’m not going to lie to you. You can bake this in the oven. In the event that you prefer that, I’m going to provide you with an alternative cooking method that calls for oven baking. If you want to use the oven method, you’re going to want to preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and you are not going to slice your tenderloin before placing it in the oven. For the oven method, you are also going to need a reliable meat thermometer.

Remember, if you’re cooking for more than two people, you can simply double the recipe.

Ingredients for Searing Rub

4 cloves of garlic, cut in half

1-1/2 lb pork tenderloin

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/2 tsp Demerara sugar

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl, with the exception of the olive oil.

Ingredients for Cooking Sauce

1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tsp Sriracha

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tbsp lime zest

1/4 cup pork (carnitas) bouillion

1 tsp honey

Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until completely mixed.


The firs thing you want to do is peel the garlic and cut it in half. Poke holes in the tenderloin at even intervals and place the garlic pieces deep into the pork.

Mix the chili powder, lime juice, soy sauce and sugar together in a small bowl. Be sure to pat the tenderloin dry, then season with salt and pepper. Use your fingers to massage the chili-lime rub on all sides of the pork tenderloin.

Now it’s time to sear the tenderloin. Put an oven-proof skillet on high heat and add the 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Sear the rubbed tenderloin on all sides. This should take about a total of two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and slice the tenderloin into 1-inch pieces. Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the cooking sauce, and place the tenderloins in the cooking sauce. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side. That should do it.

Oven Cooking Method Directions

The reason I told you to use an oven-proof skillet is so that you do not have to transfer the pork to another pan. After searing the tenderloin, add the cooking sauce to the pan, and place the cooking thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. Place the pan into the oven and bake until the thermometer reads 160 degrees. That will take about 20-25 minutes. It is important that you baste the tenderloin at least four times during the baking process to ensure that it does not become dry.

Remove the tenderloin from the oven and loosely tent under aluminum foil for about 5 minutes before slicing.



Leave a comment

Pan-Seared Spicy Rib-Eye Steak

rib eye steakI’ll be honest with you, I don’t eat much beef. But it’s not because I don’t want to. My partner doesn’t like the texture of beef. And she definitely doesn’t like the whole “rare” thing. This is good, though, because moderation is important when eating red meat. You have to remember that pork and lamb are also considered red meats when planning your menu for the week. So, when I make this dish, I am really in the mood for it and I enjoy it thoroughly. For those who are purists and do not like the spicy aspect of this dish, I provide an alternative.

This can also be made using sirloin strip steak, but I find rib-eye more tender, so it’s my beef cut of choice. You can use either bone-in or boneless. If you want to make a pretty presentation and cut and fan the steak on a plate, use boneless. Either way, it’s absolutely delicious.

Here’s some fair warning: This recipe creates smoke which could very well set off your smoke detectors. I made it this past Friday night and did just that, even with the windows open. The dog didn’t much like the sound but, for we humans, it’s a small price to pay for such a delicious dish.

Also, the level of “marble” in the beef is important. The more “marble” the more tender after it’s cooked.

Spicy Rub

1 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp Kosher or Sea salt

1 tbsp coarse ground black pepper

1 tbsp red pepper flakes (if you don’t like heat; just leave this out)

This is a simple process. Just mix all of these ingredients together. If there is any left over after you’ve rubbed it on the steak, just store it in an airtight container.


2 rib-eye steaks, about 1-1/2 inches thick

Spicy Steak Rub (above)

Canola oil (to coat the steak)


Remove the steak from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature. Place a 12-inch cast iron skilled (or other oven-proof skillet) in the over and heat the oven to 500 degrees (hence, the smoke folks).

When the oven reaches 500 degrees, remove the skillet from the oven and place it on your stove-top range on high. Coat the steak lightly with the Canola oil and coat both sides with the spicy rub.

Place the steaks in the skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Use tongs to flip the steak and cook for another 30 seconds. Then, put the pan straight into the 500-degree oven for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, flip the steaks and cook for another 2 minutes. The steak is being cooked for “rare.” If you prefer medium rare, add 1 to 1-1/2 minutes on each side.

Remove the steak from the oven and cover with aluminum foil and allow it to sit for about 2 minutes. (While you’re waiting, wave your arms like crazy under your smoke detectors to get them to shut up.)

You can either serve the steak whole or slice thin and fan onto your plate (if you’re into presentation, of course).

Alternative to Spicy Rub

If you’re not into the whole spicy thing (which I do not understand, of course), simply sprinkle both sides of the steak before cooking with Kosher or Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If this is the way you go, I suggest serving it with a bottle of Tabasco sauce or a dipping sauce. Here’s a good one:

Dipping Sauce

2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tbsp Sriracha

1 tsp malt vinegar

Knock yourself out.

, , ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: