Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving, Part Three

Sometime back Red Queen sent me a small canister of Market District Espresso rub. Available at Giant Eagle Stores, it's a great product. But I'm nowhere near a Giant Eagle. Basically, if Lowe's, Food Lion, Wal-Mart or Kroger does not have it I ain't gonna to be able to just run out and get it.

I liked it so well on everything from chicken breast to hamburgers and even scrambled eggs I decided I needed to find a reliable source. Then I thought, why not just make it. It seemed simple enough. The ingredient list was very basic, no odd scientific items, just seven common kitchen spices. In order they are;
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Espresso Powder
  • Onion
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne
I poured a small amount out on a light green sheet of paper (for contrast, none of the ingredients are green) and checked it out with a powerful magnifying glass under a bright light. I could immediately tell that the sugar was integrated, being composed of a mixture of light brown and granulated, with the granulated being in the minority. So, I wrote down 2 parts light brown sugar and 1 part granulated. Next I noticed that the salt crystals slightly outnumbered the granulated sugar crystals. So next I wrote 1.5 parts salt. The coffee and the black pepper seemed to be about evenly matched, so I set them at 1 part each. Even with a powerful magnifier I could not determine the onion, cayenne, and paprika ratio, so I decide to just use my best judgment and wing it.

My first small batch was every bit the equal of Market District Espresso Rub. But I wanted better! What would happen if I took the base of sugar, salt, coffee, and black pepper and kicked it up a notch?

I began to think about what I wanted it be like. I immediately decided that a bit of garlic would certainly be a welcome addition. I also thought that since this is used primarily on roasted or broiled foods, and since ancho chiles are simply roasted jalepenos, logically I would replace the cayenne with ancho chile powder.

Well, I may be a bit prejudiced, but I think my final version is much better than Market District's already good rub. Throw together a batch yourself and see if you think I'm right.
  • 2 parts light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1.5 parts salt
  • 1 part granulated sugar
  • 1 part ground black pepper
  • 1 part espresso coffee, I used Cafe' Bustelo simply because it readily available here due to a rather large Mexican population, but something from Honduras Coffee in Stuart will be included in my next batch.
  • 1/16 part onion powder
  • 1/16 part garlic powder
  • 1/16 part ancho chile powder
(Note; if you set the size of 1 part at 1/4 cup, you will make about 1.6718 cups, enough for a whole summer of grilling. Oh, and 1/16 of 1/4 cup is 1 teaspoon, if you don't believe me check it out with this great little piece of free software, Convert. Convert is an easy to use unit conversion program that will convert the most popular units of distance, temperature, volume, time, speed, mass, power, density, pressure, energy and many others, including the ability to create custom conversions! Happy grilling!)

(Note II; To Susan and Kilo, watch your mailbox for a 1.6718 cup sample.)

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