Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How to Make 86 Rub

Now that I'm rereading the title, you could twist that the wrong way.  Screw it.  It's staying.

I posted this recipe once before.  I use it all the time.  I always have a jar around.  I've shared it with my parents, in-laws and co-workers.  More than just a barbecue rub, it's a multi-purpose seasoning.  More than just a recipe, it's a process.  Customize it.  Put your own spin on it.  Do it a little different each time.

The Eighty Six Barbecue Rub

Dried Chilies
2 parts Turbinado Sugar
1 part Salt
1 part Various Seasonings

You will also need:
Jar with a Lid

I like using a food-processor to grind everything into a fine consistency.  This way the seasonings get into the meat better.  You could make this with pre-ground chili powder or paprika, but it will be much more coarse.  You need a decent food-processor around.  It's like a power tool for the kitchen, men.

Step One:
Measure your jar. Find out how many cups it holds and divide that by five. That will be “one part”.

Step Two:
Take the stems from a handful of chilies and grind them in the food processor. I get pasillas, arbols and anchos cheap at my favorite market, so I typically use those, but use what you like. I can't say that I count or measure them.  If you want to be technical, you should weigh the chilies so you know how much you use.  Maybe I'll do that one day.

I don't know how hot you like it.  This whole thing will take some experimenting before you get it the way you like.  I have to dial mine down a little because my family doesn't have my tolerance for capsaicin.

Grind the chilies for a half-minute or so until they've broken into little bits. Take the lid off the food-processor and take a deep whiff. If you have a cold. Or just love to sneeze.

Step Three:
Add the sugar and give it another spin. The graininess of the sugar will break the chilies down further. I like the turbinado (raw) sugar because it has more flavor than white sugar without the moisture of brown sugar. If you make this with brown sugar, it will clump together.

Step Four:
Add the salt and spin it again. I use kosher salt, sea salt or both. Adjust the amount of salt to your personal taste.  I try to never over-do salt.  You can always add, but never remove.

Step Five:
Add the seasonings. Whatever you got. Whatever you like. Onion powder, garlic powder, ginger, cumin, curry, ground black pepper, dry mustard. If you're feeling funky add celery seed, coriander or a tiny bit of anise. When you use seeds, add them before the finer seasonings.  Again, the graininess of the sugar and salt will help break them down.

Often this portion is a bit larger than the salt portion because I have so many good things I want to put in there. Spin it again.

Step Six:
Take off the lid, being careful of the atomized spices, and give it a taste. It should be intense. It should grab you by the boo-boo. You should get a balance of sweet, salty, spicy and savory. Decide now if you need a little more of any flavor. When it's done, pour it into your jar and stab some holes in the lid.

Step Seven:
Put it on anything. We put this on everything but cereal in my house. Of course, I like this on things I'll barbecue, especially ribs, but that's another post. For tips on barbecue or anything food, ask my cooking guru Alton Brown.

I chose this as my first food post because we will be referencing it in the future.  As I said, I put this on everything.  I dusted some corn tortilla wedges with it and toasted them in the oven for the Super Bowl.

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