At its most basic, a rub is a collection of herbs, spices, and seasonings. It's a simple way to enhance flavor and give food a lovely, crunchy crust. Each rub recipe is paired with a different food and suggestions are given for easy accompaniments to round out a meal.

By Wendy Kalen

Be bold -- experiment! Rubs are like condiments and sauces. A rub recipe for pork chops may also be great on poultry or fish. The pairings of rubs and entrees are just an entry point.

Southwestern Ribs with a Rub

Southwestern Ribs with a Rub

To achieve a scrumptious Southwestern kick, the pork ribs are smeared with a peppery rub and slathered with a zippy barbecue sauce. Then they're grilled over mesquite chips for a great smoke flavor.

Remember, rubs are like condiments and sauces. While a recipe may call for ribs, the rub may also be great on poultry or fish too!

Southwestern Ribs with a Rub recipe

Menu Suggestions

  • Refreshing ranch coleslaw: Combine coleslaw mix with enough ranch dressing to moisten and zest of a lemon to taste.
  • Cumin-cheddar cornbread: To an 8-1/2-ounce box of corn muffin mix add 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar and 3/4 teaspoon cumin. Bake according to package directions.
  • Watermelon

Grilled Fennel-Cumin Lamb Chops

Grilled Fennel-Cumin Lamb Chops

Lamb chops, rubbed with fennel, garlic, and aromatic coriander and cumin, bring the flavors of the Mediterranean to your table.

If you have only spice seeds, not ground spices, that's fine. Just crush spice on a hard surface with the bottom of a skillet, in a clean coffee grinder, in a mini food processor, or with a mortar and pestle.

Grilled Fennel-Cumin Lamb Chops recipe

Menu Suggestions

  • Spinach: Toss cooked spinach with some olive oil, raisins, a whisper of garlic, and toasted pine nuts.
  • Greek yogurt dip and pita: Mix yogurt with lemon zest, seeded, chopped cucumber, and minced garlic. Serve with warm pita bread.
  • Ice cream drizzled with honey and sprinkled with chopped pistachios

Coastal Bend Texas Beef Tenderloin

Coastal Bend Texas Beef Tenderloin

Rubs are often thought of for grilled foods. As this recipe shows, rubs are great for roasted foods, too. Time is the secret ingredient; as the hours pass, the spice rub imbues the meat with flavor.

Coastal Bend Texas Beef Tenderloin recipe

Menu Suggestions

  • Black bean, mango, and corn salsa
  • Garlic Texas toast: Brush slices of bread with melted butter. Grill, then rub a halved garlic clove over one side of the toast.
  • Pralines


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