I am breaking myself — slowly — of the habit of making sauces, pickles, syrups, bitters, and the like...then not recording the steps and ingredients. Until this year, I was particularly lax labeling the jars and bottles in our cabinets. “This pork rub is excellent,” I once thought to myself. “There’s no way I’d forget how to make this.” Pfft. Best pork rub I ever made sits unlabeled in one of the spice cabinets, its contents a mystery. Oh, I know 90% of what’s in it between memory and taste...but that last 10% is what makes it so good.
|Never mind the handwriting; |
rub this on your ribs and smoke 'em
Until then, this is the working recipe for a rub I make for pork ribs and shoulders destined for the smoker. The result is toothsome and tender with a crackling “bark” helped along by the brown sugar in the spice mix.
The powdered lemon peel is a California twist. It's not a common flavor in the Kansas City barbecue of my youth, but its sharp/musty zing plays well with the chiles and garlic here. Make your own either by drying and pulverizing pith-free lemon peel or grab a jar from Penzey's. Or simply omit it if the idea is too frou frou for you.
Basic Pork Rub
¼ cup each: paprika and ground black pepper
3 Tbl each: light brown sugar and garlic powder
2 Tbl kosher salt
1 Tbl each: mustard powder, onion powder, and ancho chile powder
1½ tsp cayenne chile
1 tsp dried, powdered lemon peel
Mix together in a jar, seal, shake until thoroughly mixed. Keep in a cool, dark, dry place.Goes well with:
To use the rub, scatter it generously over the surfaces of ribs or shoulder (trimmed, brined, cleaned, or however else you like to prepare them), then smoke as you usually would.
- Recipes for chef's salt from Hungarian chef Louis Szathmary and for Donnie's Spice Mix, a blend from Louisiana Chef Donald Link — which we use so often, I've simply labeled the jar "Kitchen Spice" (as opposed to, I don't know, yard spice or car spice).