American Barbecue Seasonings 

Spice up your summer cookouts with these recipes for flavoring meat. 

By Steven Raichlen
June/July 2018

Smoke may be the soul of barbecue, but the rub and sauce gives it personality. However, what you mean by “barbecue sauce” depends on where you live or grew up. In Kansas City, barbecue sauce typically means a thick, red, sweet, smoke-scented condiment typified by the commercial brand KC Masterpiece. (And variations exist even in Kansas City.) In North Carolina, barbecue sauce is a watery amalgam of vinegar, salt, pepper, and hot red pepper flakes — with nary a drop of molasses in sight. South Carolinians favor mustard-based barbecue sauces, while in Alabama, you might get a white sauce comprised of mayonnaise and vinegar that leaves you wondering whether it’s barbecue sauce or salad dressing. The truth is, while we Americans love barbecue sauce, we don’t agree on what it is.

Barbecue sauces can contain dozens of different ingredients. I’ve seen sauces flavored with everything from coffee to cranberry sauce to cough syrup. But whether you’re making a simple vinegar sauce or an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sauce, there’s one component you can’t do without: balance. The goal of the following barbecue seasonings is to meld contrasting elements — sweet, sour, salty, aromatic, hot — into a harmonious whole. Let’s start with the rub.

Basic Barbecue Rub Recipe

rub



This is the granddaddy of all barbecue rubs, but don’t let the simple formula fool you. This rub contains a heap of flavor — the molasses sweetness of the brown sugar, the heat of the pepper, the vegetal sweetness of the paprika, and the slow burn of the cayenne. Use this formula as a springboard for your creativity. You can use this or any rub in two ways — either sprinkle it on right before grilling or smoking, as you would a seasoned salt, or apply it several hours beforehand to cure the meat as well as season it. Yield: about 1 cup.




Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters