BBQ Spice Rub

Everyone should have a decent barbecue spice rub in their arsenal. This one’s mine! It’s based loosely on this best odds pulled pork rub recipe but I’ve ramped up the heat with some excellent chipotle powder from the Cool Chile Company and bashed in some garlic powder for a bit more flavour. You can use it as a dry rub on anything you want to BBQ; pulled pork, ribs, chicken, whatever. You can also mix it with cider vinegar and water to make a simple (but great) BBQ sauce. As I live in a flat with no outdoor space, my outdoor cooking opportunities are severely limited. If you’re able to hot smoke food outdoors then you won’t need to add the hickory smoke powder, you can simply cook over wood instead. The smoke powder is a pretty good good substitute though, just be careful not to add too much as it can overpower things very quickly.

 

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Jon’s BBQ Spice Rub

3 tbsp light brown sugar
3 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp celery salt
1tbsp ground black pepper
1tsp cayenne
1tsp mustard powder
1/2 tsp chipotle chilli powder
1/4 tsp hickory smoke powder
1 1/2tsp garlic powder

 

Measure out your ingredients and mix thoroughly, that’s it. Dead simple. Done.

Make plenty, store it in a jar. Use it on all the meats, or as a seasoning on chips, wedges, tequila glasses, etc. I’ve been using it in and on everything recently from fancying up baked beans to rubbing into a spatchcocked chicken for that Nandos vibe. I’ll try and post some recipes using it soon.

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Sel Aromatise

Aromatics

This classic French seasoning salt is an essential ingredient in curing traditional French Petit Sale as it imparts the meat with a beautiful slightly spiced flavour without overwhelming its basic porkiness, My girlfriend described the smell of it as ‘like old men’ but even she had to agree that it makes a fabulous pork seasoning. I think it might also work quite well sprinkled over grapefruit or another acidic fruit as a snack but I’m yet to try that.

Either way, it’s literally five minutes work to put together and costs nothing so you might as well give it a go and see what uses you can find for it.

The recipe below is adapted from a recipe in the excellent book by Lindsay Wildsmith: Cured: Slow techniques for flavouring meat, fish and vegetables.

Jon’s Sel Aromatise

200g salt
3 star anise
1 tsp ground allspice
1/2 ground cloves
3 large bay leaves, crumbled.

Take your star anise and grind them to a coarse powder in a mortar and pestle. Combine with salt and all the other ingredients in a clean dry jar. Shake until thoroughly mixed and use as needed.

Finished Sel Aromatise

Nuoc Cham

Nuoc Cham is the basic Vietnamese dipping sauce found in every home, cafe or restaurant in Vietnam. Its salty sweet taste complements everything from grilled meat and fish to tofu and vegetables. It’s also great with plain boiled rice or used as a salad dressing and makes a perfect accompaniment to the pork recipe I will be posting tomorrow.

Nuoc Cham keeps well in the fridge so you might as well make more than you need and have some on hand for whenever you need to give something a Vietnamese twist

Vietnamese Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce

Lemongrass pork with nuoc cham dipping sauce.

Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp light brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsps fish sauce.
125 ml water
2 -3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1-2 small fiery red chillis, sliced.

Combine all the ingredients in a clean jar.Shake to mix and refrigerate until you need it. It’s that simple. Serve with grilled meat, fish, dumplings, etc.

Celery Salt

Celery and salt. The principal ingredients for...er...celery salt.

I know this blog is called adventures with the pig. I know that and yet here I am about to type a few words about something decidedly non-porcine. The reason? The reason is that man cannot live by pork alone. Well, not unseasoned pork anyway. This is the first of a series of occasional posts on seasonings, condiments and food accessories that go well with, or can be used to make piggy treats.

Celery salt is a seasoning usually made by grinding celery seeds together with salt resulting in a dirty brown powder that you can use to season just about anything. However, my local market seems to sell the world’s largest heads of celery complete with leaves and I figured that these would make a much more appealing looking and tasting salt. Celery salt adds a pleasing herbal, slightly bitter note that complements sweet and fatty tasting foods like belly pork and scrambled eggs. It’s a bit like having a powdered mirepoix to sprinkle on at will.

Fortunately, it worked! So far I’ve just used this on finished dishes, but I hope to use it to cure some meat in the very near future.

The ‘recipe’ follows.

Jon’s Celery Salt

1 head of celery – leaves trimmed and set aside
Salt

Preheat your oven to the lowest setting you can. In the meantime take your celery leaves and any small bits of stem and roughly chop them before placing on a baking tray or two. You can put the stalks aside for use another time.

Celery leaves waiting to be dried.

Place your baking sheet(s) into a warm oven and leave the celery tops to dry completely. You may need to swap them around a bit to ensure that they dry evenly. When the leaves are completely dry (this lot took me about 3 hours) tip them into a food processor and blitz until powdered.

Grinding dried celery leaves and salt

Keep mixing, adding salt until the quantites are roughly 50/50 and there we have it, celery salt! You can store it pretty much indefinetly in a sealed container and use it in place of regular salt with anything that needs that savory hit. It’s particularly good with bacon and eggs and its vital in a decent Bloody Mary. I’m also planning to use it as curing salt  at some point soon.

Finished celery salt.

Poached egg, onion bagel, celery salt.