It’s likely that when you hear the word “spice”, a flavor comes to mind. Maybe it’s your favorite spice, a spice you dislike, or even the combination of spices that was used in a meal you ate recently. It’s undeniable that spices play an important role in creating a flavor profile that transforms a meal from bland to memorable. With that said, there’s no combination of spices that can cover up low quality ingredients. Here at Elsmere, we take great pride in the caliber of ingredients we use, and make sure to never overpower their natural flavors with spice rubs that are too strong. When expertly blended and used in moderation, spice rubs are a fun way to make any dish more flavorful. Here are some of our favorites!

The Classic Spice Rub
The most basic of all spice rubs has a history of popularity that dates back to ancient times, and in the culinary world it’s simply referred to as “seasoning”. Just two simple yet flavorful components come together to create a savory blend that pairs with just about anything! Equal parts salt and ground black pepper are all that are needed, to prepare a classic seasoning, but not just any salt will do! Many salts have anti-caking agents, or other additives that not only affect flavor, but quality. At Elsmere we use only Diamond Kosher salt which is 100% pure salt! It has large even flakes and contains no iodine or non caking ingredients. Sea salt can have interesting flavors but is inconsistent and may contain impurities depending on where it is sourced. Iodized salt can be used but contains the flavor of iodine and usually contains non binding ingredients such as calcium silicate. When making the classic salt and pepper spice rub at home, it’s fine to use iodized table salt, but you will want to start by cutting the amount of kosher salt in a recipe in half if you are using it. No matter what you’re preparing, this simple and classic seasoning is the ideal blend for bringing out the natural flavors in any ingredient.

Sweeten it Up!
You’ve heard the expression “sugar and spice and everything nice”, and there’s a reason why these two ingredients are mentioned together. Sugar accents certain spices in order to bring out key flavors in a wide range of recipes. For recipes that need a little sweetness, natural sugar can be added to the spice rub. Other sweeteners have recognizable flavors that have a tendency to overpower and distract from the ingredients being seasoned. At Elsmere we use turbinado sugar as it is light in intensity and has a hint of molasses. Originally an unfinished form of refined sugar, most conventional brown sugar is just regular white refined sugar with varying amounts of molasses added. If you’re looking for a deeper flavor, or one that pairs well with a smoky spice, choose a darker sugar.

Spice Up Your Life
The general rule about spice rubs is start with the basics, then work up to more complicated combinations. If you are feeling daring and want to add a little more flavor to your next recipe, try one of these spice rubs, inspired by the award-winning flavors that you’ll find at Elsmere.

Basic Rub

¼ cup kosher salt

¼ cup turbinado sugar

3 tbs ground pepper

1 tbs granulated onion

1 tbs granulated garlic


Want a little more zip and heat? -Start by adding a tsp of any of the following

ground coriander-zip

ground cumin-zip

dried orange peel-zip

ground dried chipotle-heat

ground cayenne-heat

more ancho powder-heat


Mocha Mole Rub

Prepare Basic Rub then add

½ cup powdered ground espresso beans

1 tbs coco powder and 2 tbs ancho powder


Basic Poultry Seasoning

2 tbs ground dried marjoram

2 bay leaves

2 tbs dried thyme

2 tbs dried rosemary

2 tbs ground sage

Place all ingredients in a spice grinder and grind well.


Classic Thanksgiving Rub

Prepare Basic Rub then add ½ cup poultry seasoning


Holiday Rub

Prepare Thanksgiving Rub then add a tsp of one or all of the following

ground cloves

ground nutmeg

ground/dried ginger

ground coriander


Basic Curry Powder

1 tbs ground turmeric

1 tbs ground coriander

1 tbs ground mustard

2 tbs ground cumin

½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground/dried  ginger

1 tsp ground cardamom

for heat begin with a ½ tsp of ground cayenne and adjust to taste.


Curry Rub

Prepare basic rub then dd 1/3 cup of your favorite curry powder or garam masala


South Western BBQ Rub

This rub tastes good on anything anytime of year!

1 tbs kosher salt

1 tbs sugar

1 tbs brown sugar

1 tbs cumin

1 tbs chili powder

1 ½ tsp groung chipotle

1 ½ tsp ground mustard

2 tbs paprika


Basic Chili Powder

2 tbs paprika

2 tbs ancho powder

1 tsp ground chipotle

2 tbs ground cumin

2 tbs granulated garlic

1 tbs Mexican or regular oregano