The 5 Best (Unexpected) Spices and Rubs for the Barbecue
It’s now officially summertime and that means it’s time for grilling. Salt and pepper is great and all, but why not add some exciting flavours to your barbecue this season? We’ve got several ideas and tips to get you started, plus a couple unexpected seasoning blends for grilled meats you may have never thought of! Check out Zest & Zing's selection of premium spices for the barbecue and be sure to order them in time to make July a month filled with grilling!
Not only is barbecuing a great summer pastime and an excuse to get outside, it’s a healthy way to cook foods with tons of flavour in a simple way. We recommend our small-batch, gourmet spices for maximum quality and potency. Here are our picks for the best spice blends when it comes to barbecuing and grilling. We've even picked out a few recipes where we think Z&Z seasonings would be perfect to give you a little inspiration!
This classic Argentine blend is fresh and delicious. It’s herbaceous, bright flavour contrasts with the richness of steak perfectly. You can use our custom Zest & Zing Chimichurri as a steak rub or (mixed with a little olive oil) as a sauce for dipping your hot, grilled steaks. Either way, it complements the meat so wonderfully that you may forget all about side dishes! (We'd forgive you.)
But don’t stop at steak just because that’s what tradition says Chimichurri was made for. We love it with sausages, where it cuts through the fat nicely. Grilled chicken could always use a touch of help in the flavour department too, right? Blend it with oil to marinate your chicken in or use it as a dipping sauce after you’re done. We love the look of these chicken thighs. And it's subtle enough for fish! Did you know that the Italians use a similar green blend of herbs and spices on fish dishes? Take inspiration from them and use Chimichurri to make these fish skewers on the barbecue. Or wrap your fish in foil and grill it for easy cleanup!
Lamb is one of those quality meats that you really don’t want to mess up... but don’t let that intimidate you. We’ve taken the “What do I season it with?” question out of the equation so you can focus on barbecuing. Our Lamb Rub is a mix of classic, vibrant flavors that enhance the meat, like thyme, chile pepper, rosemary, garlic, spearmint, lemon, onion, sea salt, and black pepper, and it covers a multitude of sins! It’s also easy to use. For simple grilled lamb loin or rib chops, brush or spray your meat with oil and rub our coarse lamb seasoning all over it, letting the meat sit and absorb the flavours of the herbs and spices for a little while before grilling. Here’s some advice for using meat rubs.
It’s up to you if you want to finish with a mint sauce or gremolata or try something totally different like mustard or hummus. If you’ve never grilled lamb before, it might be worth reading a few grilling tips to make sure you get it perfect. Even if you’re not a fan of lamb, our Z&Z Lamb Rub creates an interesting combination of flavours to use on beef as well!
Oh, grilled chicken. Often considered a boring diet food, it really doesn’t get a fair shake. You can add tons of flavour to chicken without adding calories though, especially when you use the barbecue. Zest & Zing's Chicken Rub provides the perfect, all-purpose solution for breasts, thighs, drumsticks, or whole chickens that are bound for the grill. This isn’t your mother’s yellow bouillon cube-style blend! Ours has some kick. With fragrant garlic, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, chilies, parsley, lemon, basil, and oregano, your chicken will be coated in pure deliciousness.
If you’re a skin-on fan, rub this all over it for crispy, savoury skin every time. Try our rub with beer can chicken, a juicy and sumptuous option for the grill when you’ve got a whole chicken to cook (seriously, it’s foolproof). Or use it on wings - everybody loves chicken wings! These are super simple and you can add more chile powder or hot sauce after the fact if you like them spicy. Chicken thighs are often overlooked, but their dark meat is incredibly forgiving and moist.
Ever wanted to make more Middle Eastern food but just didn’t want to go out and collect all the spices you need? Perfect! We’ve done that for you! Now you have no excuse. With our Shawarma Blend, you’ll be grilling up those comforting, delectable pita wrapped meats in no time. (Or you could serve it over a cucumber salad, it’s up to you!) Now all you’ve got to do is decide on your meats!
Instead of assembling the requisite laundry list of spices included in chicken shawarma recipes, simply substitute our blend. It’s packed with turmeric, coriander, roasted cumin, garlic, cardamom, allspice, white pepper and a touch of sea salt. You can marinate your chicken in yogurt… or not. Either way, the Z&Z blend will impart the perfect color, aroma, and flavours to your dish. We’d also recommend making beef shawarmas (or lamb!) too. With our blend, all you need is the meat, pitas, and toppings like tomato and onion! Vegetarians, don't worry! You could also use these spices to make tofu or paneer shawarma!
Chinese Five Spice
Lots of people are at a loss when figuring out what to do with Chinese Five Spice Powder. Or they’re browsing the Internet for a substitute for Chinese Five Spice so they don’t have to buy it. But that’s a mistake! This nuanced, ancient blend is so unique, and it lends warmth, sweetness, and depth to all sorts of foods. Typically Chinese Five Spice is used for slow cooking, but don’t rule it out on the barbecue! While we’d recommend trying it on fattier grilled meats, like duck and pork, it can also be great with beef. It might overwhelm the lighter flavours of chicken or fish though, so stick with those three when starting out.
Prepping duck breasts for grilling is as simple as scoring the skin, rubbing them with oil, and massaging them with salt, pepper, and Chinese Five Spice. Just keep an eye on them while cooking to prevent flare-ups! Beef is, of course, great with Asian flavours, so we’d recommend trying a simple Chinese Five Spice rub on your skirt steak before grilling. As for pork, try it on barbecued pork chops or pork tenderloin. For something a little different, try your hand at pork satay using the Chinese Five Spice!