Seven Savory Grilling Spices for Chicken, Pork & Beef

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There are numerous spices used for BBQ and grilling, but which ones are essential for America’s favorite summer pastime? Several of the following were original travelers along the spice route centuries ago. Who are we to argue with tradition? Have these in your spice rack before you plan that menu and fire up the grill this weekend.

1. Garlic – This pungent team player makes everything taste better. Stock garlic powder as it is easy to mix with other spices in BBQ Sauces and marinades and tastes terrific plain. It even can be added to tossed salad, and breads. Plus it’s even healthy for you.

2. Chili Flakes – Chili flakes bestow fiery temperament on a diverse collection of grilled food so try it on anything that needs a little kick. Don’t be shy to sprinkle it over shih-ka-bob vegetables and even grilled French Fries.

3. Pepper – Have plenty of whole peppercorns available and grind them yourself in a coffee mill or mortar and pestle. This versatile member of the great spice route is spread across practically everything travelling across your grill. Regardless of whether it is black or a mélange, take advantage of its deep nutty flavor for everything from burgers to BBQ chicken wings.

4. Cinnamon – Cinnamon contributes its sweet disposition on the backend and blends well to temper more powerful spices like coriander, curry, or turmeric. Add this to your own specialty spice rub and that next rack of Pork or Beef ribs will be so breath-taking you can forget about sauce entirely.

5. Fennel – Fresh ground fennel can be added to ground beef or chicken for unforgettable hamburger patties that will make your guests swear its pork sausage. Its light, woody taste can also bring out the hidden flavors of oily fish like Salmon or Mackerel.

6. Paprika – The taste of nearly everything that sizzles on the grill could benefit from the flavor of paprika. Apart from its rich color and seductive aroma, paprika is excellent for seasoning lighter meats like chicken breasts or center-cut pork chops without overpowering their natural flavor. From hot Hungarian to smoked sweet, its many varieties even allow the grill master to tailor the level of heat to suit the guests.

7. Lemon Peel – Not one of the usual suspects by the grill, finely ground lemon peel can be combined with ground pepper, garlic, or other spices for a sharp BBQ rub for chicken and pork. Also, its natural citric acid can help break down tougher cuts of beef when used in a homemade marinade or injection.

The key to a well-heeled spice rack is versatility and control. Although tempting to rely on a premade sauce or spice blend, these seven savory grilling spices put the grill master firmly in the driver’s seat. Regardless of the members you choose for your spice “first string” always select the freshest and grind them yourself whenever possible. The end result will be well worth the extra effort.

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