Jerk Rubs: Wet and Dry

After our kitchen remodel, I committed the unforgivable sin of ignoring my grill this past winter. I was so enamoured of my dual fuel Wolf range that the five burner gas grill seemed to be a red-headed step-child.
Ah, but the weather in Kansas has been unseasonably warm and thoughts of flame and smoke dance around my head. The balancing act has begun.

Great intro, but to the point…

When it comes to grilling, I enjoy the widest range of styles and ethnicities. My grill has an insert for soaked wood chips as well as a rotisserie. Two additional options for flavor. I make three different kinds of bbq sauce. The one thing that captivated me was Jerk and the blending of sweet and hot and the atmosphere of the Caribbean. After all, I AM the Tikiman.

Years ago, I developed my own wet rub/marinade. I won’t belabor the differences; suffice it to say I determine what worked well for chicken (usually cut up fryers) or pork tenderloins.

2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 bunches of scallions
4 habaneros, chopped
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bay leaf, crumbled

Blend all in a food processor.

So, after that, you’re putting your chicken in a Ziploc bag or placing your pork tenderloin in a container and pouring the marinade over all. Let it sit for 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Grill on medium heat.

I was quite satisfied with my efforts. But since that time, I have turned more and more toward dry rubs, creating my own blends and having on hand the kind of flavoring required for a desired grilled dinner. This is where I turned it into a challenge: creating a dry jerk rub.


1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 Tbs. cayenne pepper

As you can tell, the first three ingredients are the same as in the wet rub. But we use garlic powder in place of the cloves, lemon pepper as a substitute for the citrusy taste of the lime juice, and a heaping amount of cayenne to replace the habanero.

I have used this twice, one time to make Pan-Fried Jerk Chicken Bites and Pan-Fried Salmon. The flavor was definitely there. It is not Jerk in the traditional sense but the essence of it is in this rub. And since a rub can last a bit longer than a wet rub, this is a worthwhile alternative.


Slow Roasted BBQ Pork

The majority of BBQ purists will vehemently disagree with this post.

Last week I made a slow roasted bbq pork roast without a grill or a smoker.

I used a crockpot.

I started with a Boston butt (highly ideal for bbq-ing and on sale, of course), poured on a sufficient quantity of Liquid Smoke, and then covered it all over with the All-Purpose Spice Rub which clung to the pork because of the Liquid Smoke. This was done on Thursday evening. On Friday morning, I started the crockpot on low at 6am and it was ready by 6pm.

I will admit that the Liquid Smoke only adds a hickory or mesquite component that real wood would have enhanced. However, the spice rub held in the juices of the Boston butt and added a remarkable flavor to it. I served it with a side of baked beans and baby dill pickles. The store-bought bbq sauce remained untouched.

I am an avid griller and at our lake house in Oklahoma we love to smoke meats as well. Despite all that, this meal turned out so well as to be an alternative for winter cooking when the weather will not accommodate.

The All-Purpose Spice Rub

I have long been into barbecuing and grilling and making my own bbq sauces. An extra effort but well worth it, I assure you.
However, ever since my wife and I were on vacation several years ago in Austin and San Antonio, I’ve come to realize a greater and more enhanced method of cooking on the grill: the spice rub.
It was at Artz Rib House that I realized that spice rubs were more beneficial than sauces when it came to grilling. If your sauce had honey or molasses or brown sugar, you were going to be inclined to burn the meat by causing it to carbonize.
A spice rub, on the other hand, seeps into the pores of the meat (chicken, pork, what have you) and sears to a crispness while securing the natural juices inside.
It took a while to develop but my spice rub seems easiest to concoct, stores well in a glass jar in your pantry, and is useful for a wide variety of dishes, grilled and otherwise. There is no need to buy any specialty brand of spices for this seasoning mix. The generic will do.
One jar each of: paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano.
To use as a spice rub, sprinkle on both sides of the meat you plan to grill and press into the flesh (as opposed to massaging it). Let it stand for at least ten minutes before grilling. It can also be sprinkled on salads or soups or used in stews.
I gave my brother-in-law a jar of it for his Basement Warming Party and he used it for a family dinner involving pan fried pork chops. He is completely sold on it.
There is no need for the fancy name brands out in the marketplace when you can do it for yourself, with less expense and more pride.

BBQ Sauce

It’s summer and from a cooking standpoint that means one thing to me: grilling.  This is my recipe for BBQ sauce which is called “BBQ 3” (based on the number of attempts I made to get it right.)

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  “BBQ sauce?  A recipe?  Like, I’ve got to make it myself?  I can BUY a bottle for 88 cents.”  And my response is that an 88 cent bottle of bbq sauce that everyone else is buying will make your food taste like…everynoe else.  Don’t fire up the grill to pretend to be macho.  Grill because it is truly a culinary art form.

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 small can tomato sauce

1 small can tomato paste

2 capfuls of liquid smoke

¼ cup cider vinegar

¼ tsp Tabasco

1 Tbs. brown sugar

2 Tbs. Worcestershire

Sauté the garlic in a non-stick saucepan without oil for approximately 10 to 15 seconds.  Add the tomato sauce and the tomato paste until well blended.  Add each ingredient one at a time and stir until well blended.  Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 30 minutes.

There is a variety of flavor here to accommodate meats, chicken, and pork dishes.  It is closer to a more traditional Kansas City style with the vinegar and brown sugar.  You can substitute garlic flavored tomato sauce and garlic flavored tomato paste.  But the real thing is much more fragrant.

The preservative factor comes from the canned tomato products.  Beyond that this will store well in a glass jar in the refrigerator for about two weeks.