If you know anything about barbecue, specifically Southern barbecue, you know it's a method of cooking steeped in tradition, ritual and secrecy. Any barbecuer below the Mason-Dixon line preaches "low and slow" and will recite sonnets about smoke rings and brisket bark. But there is one principle that is absolutely paramount, above anything else: You do not, under threat of death, share your recipes. It doesn't matter if The King himself is offering his blue suede shoes. The recipe dies with you.
Well, I'm a Yankee and I like sharing.
Years ago, I started watching southern barbecue competitions, and I needed some. It was a mouth-watering, belly-rumbling need. But I'm up north, and I don't like baseball-sized misquitos and choking humidity. So f the Yankee can't go to the food, I was going to bring the food to the Yankee.
My dad was also experiementing with smoking and different types of wood chips and charcoals at the time, so I started thinking about seasonings. As you know, I have a severe aversion to barbecue sauce (unless it is my own), so I had to think dry, as in dry rub. It's strange to admit, but I committed to this Memphis-style rub because I was (and still am) an...enuthsiastic fan of a certain Memphis-born musician who may or may not have brought sexy back. This recipe is fantastic, and I have no idea where I got it. I've been using it for at least four years with nothing less than fabulous results.
So when you're grilling this 4th of July, whip up this rub and add a little sexy to your next barbecue!
*Who wants to look at a bowl of spices? Here is a Drunk Chicken with Kira's Not So Secret Dry Rub. Chicken was washed, dried, rubbed with 2 servings of rub. It sat for about 15 minutes. Then placed on a rack with a 2/3 full can of beer. It was grilled over high heat to lock in flavors and add color, then pushed back to over indirect heat. And turned once for even color. Expect some of the sugar in the rub to burn. Cooked for about 1 hr 35 minutes or until 180 degrees in the breast. Best. Chicken. Ever.
Kira’s Not So Secret Dry Rub
*Makes 1 slab of Baby Back Ribs
6 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder*
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper*
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mix spices together in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add to ribs, chicken or meat of your choice, and let sit until meat begins to sweat, at least 20 minutes. Sear meat over direct heat for color, then move to indirect heat.
*With the Chili and Cayenne spices, start with a teaspoon or two and add as needed. The spice does fade a bit during the cooking process, but you don't want anything to be overpowering.
Chef's Note: I make four batches of this rub and store it in an airtight container.