It’s finally Fall in Maine! Soon we’ll be raking leaves, bringing in the summer toys, and layering up with cozy sweaters, and we’re not complaining! As we settle into Fall, we find ourselves swapping the light and fresh flavors of summer for something a bit more hearty, smoky, and substantial. The chilly air might make us crave hearty food, but it doesn’t have to keep us inside. In fact, Fall is the perfect time for outdoor grilling, but grilling up something truly special all begins with spice... 

Spice is one of those magical things that has the power to transform food. The right blends of spice can highlight natural flavors, while giving a little extra “oomph” to whatever you’re grilling. Without seasonings like salt, pepper, and combinations of spices, we would be eating lots of bland food, but with too much, the natural flavors can be masked. It’s all about finding the right balance, and here at Elsmere BBQ, we take that task very seriously! Our expertly blended spice rubs are sure to make you a master of fall grilling. Here are some of our favorites!

The Classic Spice Rub
Let’s get it straight, this one is CLASSIC, not basic. You’ve almost definitely used it before, but this combination is nothing short of brilliant. Few flavors have the power to maintain popularity through time, but this one has a history that dates back to ancient times! In the culinary world it’s simply referred to as “seasoning”, with only two simple yet flavorful components forming a savory blend that pairs with just about anything. Simply combine equal parts salt and ground black pepper, 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 should cut the amount of kosher salt in a recipe in half. 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!
Fall is a good season for sweet flavors, especially when you’re pairing your meal with dark beers or hard cider. 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, bringing out key flavors in a wide range of recipes. For preparations that need a little sweetness, natural sugar can be added to a 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 teaspoon 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 add 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
2 tbs guajillo powder
1 tsp ground chipotle
2 tbs ground cumin
2 tbs granulated garlic
1 tbs Mexican or regular oregano