Spice Cabinet Makeover

A spice cabinet makeover.

Today I’m sharing a few very simple change-ups for your spice toolbelt to make your meals “pop”.

I love to try new recipes the ones I appreciate most give me ideas to implement in my other cooking adventures. They’re small tweaks with big impact. These are the kinds of tips I’m sharing today.

And because I believe in keeping life as simple as possible, these are super easy to incorporate into your cooking routine. At the end, I’ve got one of my favorite new chicken and pork rub recipes that includes many of the spices recommended here. So here we go…

The good kind of smoke

Almost every meat rub recipe you’ll find includes paprika in the ingredient list. I never used to be a big fan of this particular spice UNTIL I discovered smoked paprika. This was a revelation.

Now I fly through bottles of the stuff. I’ve actually looked into growing and smoking our own paprika (nerd alert), and learned it’s actually a variety of pepper. The smoked version of this seasoning brings a noticeable punch of grilled, smoky heaven that we relish.

Try Smoked Paprika

Make mine pink

The nutritional benefits of pink Himalayan salt are worth mentioning, offering trace minerals missing from the average American diet. It actually contains the 84 natural minerals and elements found in the human body and is the purest form of salt you can buy (source).

But the taste is what keeps us hooked. When compared to standard iodized salt or even sea salt, the flavor enhancement from pink Himalayan sea salt is bold and memorable. I actually don’t use any other kind of salt in my cooking.

Try Pink Himalayan Salt

The whole leaf difference

I grew up selecting standard ground versions of many popular spices like thyme and sage. But then I ran across a recipe that called for rubbed sage and decided to try it out. I was surprised at how much more pronounced the flavor of the sage came through versus the ground variety.

While I still use ground spices in certain recipes, I typically opt for the whole leaf version whenever possible. Not only does it add complexity of flavor, but the presentation factor gets a nice boost as well. Bonus.

Try Rubbed Sage Thyme Leaves

Crack it open

It doesn’t seem like such a common spice as cracked pepper should be included in a list like this. All of us use black pepper in our cooking, but not all of us crack whole peppercorns over our pots and pans. Is there really a big difference?

It’s not big it’s small. A small tweak that makes a big impact. Ground black pepper gets diluted in the small particles that get spread around your plate. Biting into a larger kernel of black pepper brings not just the “hot” but a “spiced hot” that makes you appreciate the complexity of this most common seasoning. Try it.

Try Black Peppercorns


Sweet Rub Recipe

Now put all of these tips together. This sweet rub can be used on pork or chicken, and it’s one that I included in one of this fall’s monthly meat CSA bundles.

Pork Chops

I used the sweet rub recipe most recently on grilled pork chops and LOVED it.

Pastured Chicken

We also have our seasonal pastured chicken available in our online store, while supplies last.

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