Thursday, May 14, 2009

"D" is For Dry Rubs

Rubbed Barbecued Baby Back Pork Ribs Recipe Below.

I love dry rubs. Like sauces, dry rubs on grilled vegetables and protein are perfect wine partners.
When barbecuing many people like to use a rub and then finish their protein with some sort of barbecue sauce.

I tend to like dry rubs all on their own. A difference exists between a 'seasoning' agent and a 'dry rub'. A seasoning agent is used sparingly and its purpose is to add flavour. The dry rub's primary purpose is to form a tasty crust on food, to act as a barrier, allowing the protein or ingredient to retain its moisture during frying, deep frying, roasting or barbecuing - all the while adding lots of flavour.

Be careful, however, as the seasonings within a dry rub alter in flavour when cooked. So, do not judge the rub by its raw flavours alone. Its wine pairing compatibility is based on its tastes, flavours and texture “once cooked.”

Most dry rubs are made from a base ingredient that tastes either salty or sweet. Saltiness and sweetness are both building blocks in food that must be considered when hunting for the ideal wine partner.

Saltiness works well with the acidity in wine. It is experienced on the palate as a sour or zesty taste. Just as salt and vinegar potato chips harmonize together, so too does salty dry rubs and zesty wines. Salty dry rubs are complemented by wine partners, such as Sauvignon Blanc, dry Riesling, dry Vidal, Pinot Gris, and Vinho Verde. Salt tends to draw out moisture, so I would refrain from using a salt-based dry rub on fish.

Sweetness in savoury dishes cannot be ignored when you’re considering a compatible wine partner. You can pair your sweet-based dry rubs with wines offering sweetness, such as off-dry whites or off dry roses. Examples include semi sweet Riesling, semi sweet Gewurztraminer, semi sweet Vidal and sparkling wines with sweetness. Make sure the bubbly’s label says sec or demi-sec. Sweet dry rubs work nicely with fish, chicken, pork and beef.

Once you have determined the base ingredient or building block of your dry rub, and matched this with a primary building block in a wine – meaning you have chosen a particular wine style, you can then experiment and consider flavours. What wine flavours work with the flavouring agents of dry rubs?

A Texas style dry rub with a salt base, chili and garlic powders, dry mustard and pepper, partners with a white wine with good acidity to offset the salt and spice. Dry Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnays with no oak fermentation or aging are great matches.

Salt-based dry rubs with dried herbs, such as basil, thyme, marjoram and/or parsley work nicely with white wine that celebrate herbal notes, such as Sauvignon Blanc. This particular wine possesses grassy character on the nose and palate. This herbaceous character therefore harmonizes with the dried herbs in the rub.

Asian Barbecue Chicken Recipe Below

Sugar-based dry rubs with plenty of spiciness, such as cayenne or chilies, works with semi sweet white wines. The hotter the spice, the more sweetness is required in the wine. Go with semi sweet Riesling, semi sweet Gewurztraminer, semi sweet Vidal, sparkling wines with sweetness (sec or demi-sec) or a semi sweet rose.

Some dry rub recipes are based on seeds and nuts. Seeds and nuts have plenty of oil, and so pair well with a white wine that has fattiness as its primary building block -- barrel fermented and aged Chardonnay.

Cedar Planked Pine Nut Coated Tilapia Recipe Blow

A dry rub with a coffee and/or cocoa base is bitter, therefore requiring a wine with good tannin (bitterness), such as Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Meritage, etc. A bitter dry rub marries well with the heavier texture of beef and game meats and so naturally works with a big, full-bodied red wine, anyway.

Grilled Coffee Rubbed T-Bones Recipe Below

Here are a few dry rub recipes with matching wines from a new Canadian brand called "Simply" available in Wine Rack Stores throughout Ontario.

To save money, at a building supply store purchase one long cedar board and have it cut into 12-inch long planks. This is more inexpensive than purchasing pre-cut cedar planks.

Most supermarkets now have bulk sections carrying spices, dried herbs and seasonings. Bulk food stores all carry these items, which you can buy in small amounts and inexpensively.

Rubbed Barbecued Baby Back Pork Ribs
Serves Four to Six

2 tsp chile powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp turbinado sugar
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp coarse sea salt

Place all ingredients in a coffee grinder and grind to a powder. Transfer to a jar and seal tight. Store in a cool dark place.

2 racks baby back pork ribs, ask butcher to remove membrane
Olive oil as needed

Set ribs on a cookie sheet. Coat ribs in olive oil. Sprinkle a thick coat of dry rub over ribs. Let soak in about a half hour. Spray barbecue grill with non-stick cooking spray. Heat barbecue. Turn off one side of barbecue. Set other side of heat at medium low. Set ribs on the side of grill with no heat. Close lid and barbecue ribs (by indirect heat) for one hour. Watch closely to make sure the ribs do not catch on fire -- you can tell by the amount of smoke coming from the grill. Keep a spray bottle filled with water handy to put out flames if necessary.

Side Dish: Garlic, mashed potatoes

Wine Suggestion: Simply Bold + Rich, $11.95 (Available at Wine Rack shops in Ontario)
This wine offers aromas and flavours of blackberries, leather and spice. It possesses good structure, evidence of the decent tannins. The tannin in this red, bringing harmony to the palate, nicely offsets the saltiness of the dry rub.
Or choose a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon

Asian Barbecue Chicken
Serves 4

Turbinado sugar, found in bulk food stores and many local supermarkets, is not as sweet as brown sugar, making it an ideal base ingredient for dry rubs to be paired with red wine.

1 (5 lb) chicken
2 tbsp Simply Five Spice rub (recipe below)
2 tbsp olive oil

To butterfly the chicken, place breast down on a flat surface. Using
poultry sheers, cut along each side of the backbone. Remove and discard it. Flip bird over and press firmly on the center of the breastbone to break it. Put your hand between the flesh and skin and loosen the skin around the breasts, legs and wings, breaking the fat membranes inside.

In a small bowl mix together 2 tablespoons of five spice rub with 2 tablespoons of oil to make a thick paste. Massage 1 tablespoon of paste between the flesh and the skin, being sure legs, thighs and wings are covered with paste. Try not to split the skin. If you do, secure the pieces of skin together over the breasts, using a toothpick. Gently massage remaining paste over the outside of the whole chicken.

Spray grill with non-stick cooking spray. Start barbecue to preheat. Turn off one side of the grill. Place the flattened chicken on the side of the grill without heat. Close lid and grill chicken (by indirect heat) until juices run clear and the thermometer in thigh registers 175 to 180 F (79 to 82 C), about 40. If the skin starts to blacken, cover with foil. Remove from the grill and let bird rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Five Spice Rub Recipe
¼ cup coarse sea salt
¼ cup turbinado sugar
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until well mixed. Transfer to a jar and seal tight. Store in a cool, dark place.

Side Dish: grilled sweet potato

Wine Suggestion: Simply Big + Luscious, $11.95 (Available at Wine Rack Shops in Ontario) The aromas and flavours of this wine can be described as green apple and pink grapefruit. But the wine has creaminess and pleasant zest that nicely offsets the saltiness in this rub.
Or choose a California Chardonnay (barrel fermented and/or aged)

Cedar Planked Pine Nut Coated Tilapia
Serves 4

4 cedar planks (12 X 6 inches each)
½ cup milk
4 large tilapia filets

Pine Nut Dry Rub
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts*
2 tbsp season salt
2 tsp dried lemon rind
2 tsp freshly grated black pepper
2 tsp dill seed

1/2 cup flour
½ cup butter, melted
8 slices of prosciutto
4 limes

*To toast pine nuts place them in a dry fry pan over low heat and shake until golden. Watch closely so they do not burn.

Place cedar planks in the kitchen sink with enough water to cover. Use a vase filled with some water to weigh down the planks to keep them from surfacing. Soak the planks for 1 to 4 hours.

Place tilapia filets with milk in a bowl. Make sure they are all coated in milk. Cover and refrigerate until needed. The milk takes the fishy taste out of fish.

Place all rub ingredients except flour in a coffee grinder. Grind until you have created a crumble. Place crumble in a bowl and add flour. Mix until well blended.

Place melted butter in a large bowl. Place dry rub crumble in another large bowl.

Remove fish from milk. Pat dry on paper towel. Coat fish in butter and then dredge in dry rub mixture until well coated. Repeat for other 3 filets.

Place 2 prosciutto slices side by side on cedar plank. Place fish on prosciutto slices. Repeat for remaining 3 filets.

Prepare barbecue on low heat. Transfer planks with fish to barbecue grill. Close lid and grill fish for about 15 minutes until flaky and white inside. Watch closely. Lift cover if you see too much smoke. The cedar may be catching fire. Keep a water spray bottle handy in case you need to put out flames on cedar. When done, transfer cedar planks to cookie sheet. Transfer tilapia on cedar planks to serving platter or to individual platters.

Side Dish: Grilled asparagus

Wine Suggestion: Simply Crisp + Lively, $11.95 (Available at Wine Rack Stores in Ontario) Simply Crisp and Lively has wonderful tangy and bitter tones that complement the zest of lemon and offsets the saltiness of the dry rub and prosciutto.
Or choose a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Grill Coffee Rubbed T-Bones
Serves Four

2 tbsp instant coffee
2 tbsp turbinado sugar
2 tbsp sea salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice

4 steaks (favourite cut)

Let steaks warm to room temperature. Trim off excess fat. Coat steaks in oil. Season steaks with rub. Let sit for a half hour. Spray grill with non-stick cooking spray. Heat up barbecue. Place each steak on the grill for one minute. Turn and grill steaks on the second side for another minute. Rotate the steaks by 45 degrees and continue grilling. By turning the steaks you will get a nice diamond pattern on the steaks. To check for doneness, press steak with your finger.
A rare steak will feel soft. A medium steak will be firm but yielding. A well-done steak will be firm. Grill to desired doneness. Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Side Dish: Garlic mashed potatoes

Wine Suggestion: Simply Smooth + Fruity, $11.95 (Available at Wine Rack Shops in Ontario) The wine’s aromas of cranberries and apples with hints of cinnamon complements similar flavours in this rub. The pleasant bitterness from the coffee and saltiness of the rub also works with the soft tannin in this red.
Or choose an Australian Shiraz


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