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Grill Everything with Rubs!

There's no need to turn on the oven. Be it Summer or anytime of the year, you can always find an excuse to turn on the grill. It's simple to prepare sides, like vegetables, fruit and even baked goods, right alonstide your meats or main dish. You can add some color to your place with red onions, zucchini, asparagus, red and yellow bell peppers, pineapple, and even corn on the cob.

However, the real focus here is on rubs. They are the best-kept secret for juicy, flavorful, grilled meat. Versatile, brightly colored rubs add layers of flavor to everyting you put on the grill, be it steak, pork, chicken, fish or even vegetables. Homemade spice blends used as rubs are easy to make and they're perfect for grilling. They take their name from the way they are applied: massaging them into the meat to create a crust.

Traditionally, rubs are made with a variety of different speiced mixed together in unique combinations. However, they can be made from fresh herbs, as well. You would be surprised what a couple sprigs of rosemary, sage and thyme chopped and mixed in olive oil can do for chicken. (Note: with fresh herbs, make sure you're using the freshest stuff, your never know what unintended flavors might be adding by accident if you let your fresh herbs age. Leave the "seasoning" to the salt and pepper.)

Depending on the recipe, you might marinate the meat in the rub overnight or even apply it right before grilling. There are hundreds of kinds of rubs, but the three included here are limited to rubs with herbs, sugar and toasted spices.


Less liquid than a marinade, yet wetter than a dry spice blend, fresh-herb rubs have a paste-like consistency and are ideal for fish and chicken. (Remember the previous note about fresh herbs and olive oil?) They usually feature a mix of fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil and citrus. Orange and rosemary work well together, as do lime and cilantro, basil and lemon, or oregano and lemon (if you're looking to go a bit more Greek).


Brown sugar tames the heat of spicy rubs and creates a charred, carmelized coating. Use these rubs with pork or steak, anything that is a bit heartier flavor on its own.

Toasted Spices

Toasted-spice rubs work well on beef, particularly since beef can stand up to prominent flavors. Toasting the seeds before grinding them creates a deeper, more complex flavor. Grind the spices before combining them with salt.

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     noun. Slang.  A person who has an ardent or refined interest in food; a gourmet.