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Santa Maria BBQ Rub

Santa Maria BBQ Rub - Fine Grind

We recently wrote an article for Barbecue Mag Online that featured several Santa Maria BBQ recipes. This dry rub recipe is featured in that article.  We find that it brings out much of the natural flavors of meats and vegetables while maintaining simplicity.  This recipe can easily be made into a larger batch and stored in your pantry or spice cabinet.

Santa Maria Dry Rub:

5 Tsp. Kosher or Sea salt

2 Tsp. Black Pepper

2 Tsp. White Pepper

1 Tsp. Onion Powder

3 Tsp. Granulated Garlic

* To add more heat, add 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper or Red Pepper flakes.

Suggestions: When making a dry rub, try to keep the ingredient “grinds” similar.  They will be much easier to apply in an even manner.  One more suggestion, smaller grind will melt into the meats faster and bond better during the cook. Rub a good olive oil onto the meat surface prior to seasoning, doing this will allow the dry rub to adhere better and dissolve even more quickly.

Check out the entire article in Barbecue Mag Online: www.bbqmagonline.com

Wood BBQ Fire

Wood BBQ Fire

We know that to make Santa Maria BBQ there are very few “must haves”.  Tri-Tip, Salt, Pepper…and nicely seasoned Red Oak.  Even thought these requirements are few, true Santa Maria BBQ cannot be accomplished without these basics.

To those of us on California’s Central Coast, the Red Oak and many of it’s cousins are plentiful.  However, to my friends around the country, Oaks are either of  a less flavorful variety or nonexistent.  These Oaks of California are not “furniture grade”, they have many twists, turns, knots and kinks…not to mention bark that can approach an inch thick on older trees.  These Oaks are meant for Sublime Beauty and BBQ.  We don’t take the bark off like other BBQ cultures practice; we treat it the precious maker of fine BBQ coals – the wood and bark give a coal bed of unique texture, burn and smoke rates.

In order to find the wood – several commercial wood companies contract to “prune” in the case of the California Live Oak – and cut the Red & White Oaks…It’s illegal to cut down a California Live Oak without a permit….so ask before you buy, exactly what kind of Oak you’ll be getting.

Visiting local newspaper websites will generally provide contact for people that are selling the Oak wood by the cord – these guys typically are for the local customer, and don’t have the ability to box & ship to a customer…this will however be a great way to get lots of wood much cheaper than “by the box” retailers.

I’ve found a great website for locating Oak BBQ woods near you – many will ship directly to you in boxes or bags.

http://www.totalescape.com/active/camp/firewood/cstwood.html

This is a very complete list and incorporates the major regions of California.

After you get your Oak BBQ wood coming, try this BBQ seasoning…

The Rub Co. –  “Santa Maria Style” – purchase it at www.greenleafbbq.com – AWESOME rub for this genre of BBQ – and others – The Rub Co. and their BBQ team just won Reserve Grand Champion (2nd place) over all at the Wild West BBQ Bash…using this line of BBQ rubs!

Best of luck to you in obtaining the BBQ woods that made the Santa Maria Style, the equal of every other BBQ culture in the world.

-Tim

Carrie & I were shopping the other day – grocery shopping – our favorite pastime.  We were trying to decide what to have for dinners in the week ahead. Understanding that we are in the BBQ industry, we typically choose an assortment of meats that might either provide a learning experience, or perhaps fresh material to share.  Cornish Game Hens came up last night, and indeed – produced something to share.

Most folks LOVE BBQ Chicken, in one or more of it’s many forms. We serve lots of BBQ Chicken to clients and make many of recommendations to customers  looking  for a new way to prepare it.  One complaint we’ve heard often,” The chicken breasts are just too big” or “We cooked a whole chicken and now we have to store the leftovers – that never get eaten.”

Cornish Game Hens don’t have any of those problems.  One hen, split in Half will comfortably feed two people with no leftovers. Even better “SpatchCock” (or a hen with the back cut out and butterflied), but straight hen halves are wonderful.

Here are the Basics of what we did:

Frozen Game Hens – cut in half just like a chicken. One half per person is the appropriate portion.

  • I tossed (3) Halves in a 2 gallon Zip Lock bag & poured a “Mojo Criollo” Marinade – this is a wonderful citrus based marinade that is traditional in Cuban or Mexican cooking.
  • Let the hens soak in the marinade for (4)  hours – that’s all the time I had in order to get them cooked on time. Let them soak longer if you can.
  • Get a BBQ or Smoker set up with some BBQ Smoke Wood and plan for “Indirect” heat; adjusting  your temps to the 250 Degree range.  When the temperature stabilizes, put the hens on the BBQ.  I add a water pan to the grill if I am worried about moisture – this is just a metal bread pan filled 2/3 with water & set on the same side as the hens.  The pan will steam and add humidity to the cooking chamber.  This can be done on ANY BBQ.
  • I lay the hens on the BBQ grate –  setting the thickest (breast) side of the hen towards the fire – I don’t like burnt wing and leg tips.
  • Let the hens cook for 20 minutes – shake on a mellow BBQ rub once the skin has started to sweat a bit. I used D-Dog’s Maple Rub – very complimentary to poultry.
  • An hour later, baste on some olive or canola oil, balsamic vinegar & honey mixture that you’ve prepared in the house…this will dilute & emulsify the dry rub that was applied earlier. The color will really come out and begin to look glossy.
  • Another hour into the cook, your hens should have been on the BBQ for about 2 1/2 hours now – baste with a final BBQ sauce or glaze.  Mine was simple sugar, mint, sage & a touch of brown mustard – all mixed together nicely prior to painting the hens…you can use a bottled sauce at this point too…
  • Things should be VERY close to done – ensure now that the BBQ doesn’t get much hotter than the 250 degrees we’ve talked about – that sugar will burn if it does.
  • The hens will be done now – and can be pulled off the BBQ.  I like to put mine under a foil tent on a platter or other type of “steamer” – this allows the hens to rest while other parts of the meal are finished off.
  • Enjoy those nice Cornish Game Hens – they should be super juicy & tangy sweet.

We used a Traeger Pellet Grill for this recipe, you can easily replicate this on a Charcoal or Gas grill.  The Traeger Pellet Grill is easy & low maintenance – we recommend them.

Thanks for checking out our BBQ blog – I try to come up with stuff that anybody can try with success – We have many of the items mentioned in our online BBQ shop at: www.greenleafbbq.com

Best of luck,

Tim

Ok, so this is a dead simple post about a great BBQ Rub, but it can be used as a regular flavor boost for about everything imaginable.  This “Original Recipe” was invented by Mike Mills, and he called it “Magic Dust”.  This recipe isn’t mine, and has been relentlessly copied and modified. This is a pretty basic rendition that anyone cam make simply at home and have around.

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt, finely ground
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne

Make it this way first, but it you prefer a bit more heat, add slight amounts of both Black Pepper and perhaps the mustard powder.  Easy on the additions, as in most spices – a little either way can completely change how you mouth tastes the rub.

Enjoy!

Here at Green Leaf BBQ, we’re always looking for someone doing something extraordinary.  We’ve found that in Blue Star Seasoning as they continue to surprise with their seasoning’s unwavering versatility. Our friends Julie Bussemer and Nanette Fisher who own Blue Star, carry on the tradition that began when the recipe was created in the 1950’s.  Made in Stockton California, Julie & Nanette’s operation produces high quality and fresh seasonings, that are truly “a great replacement for salt and pepper”, as Julie says.  If salt and pepper aren’t the hallmarks for culinary versatility, I don’t know what are.

“Everyone claims that their seasoning is all purpose, that isn’t just a claim, they actually do it”,  says Mark Brunello in Rocklin Ca. “We use it on potatoes, chicken, ribs…everything”, he says. We agree, and because of this versatility, Blue Star Seasoning is one that we continually recommend to our customers.  This seasoning combines the traditional garlic, salt, pepper base with some secret ingredients. “The difference between this rub and other similar rubs, is that the Blue Star ingredients are in nice balance…not too salty.

BBQ Rub

BBQ Rub

Mark is the guy who introduced us to Blue Star several years ago.  We just had to add it to the store after tasting Mark’s rib eye steak with Blue Star.

Consider Blue Star Seasonings next time you need something different. Visit our store or website for purchasing options: greenleafbbq.com

Cooking Tips: One of our favorite pairings with Blue Star is on a Tri-tip.  We season liberally, and let stand (covered) in the refrigerator prior to cooking for at least 30 min.  We like to smoke our Tri-Tip using a Traeger Pellet Grill w/mesquite pellets at about 25o Degrees for almost 2 hours then turn up the heat to finish. When internal temps reach 145 Degrees, pull it off the grill and rest the meat prior to slicing.  We make a consious effort to slice the roast AGAINST the grain – it makes a huge difference.

Visit us: www.greenleafbbq.com

Green Leaf BBQ strives to take a fresh approach to the old ways of backyard cooking. Barbecue has brought families and friends together for years and we believe that fresh air and great food will always be some of the best things in life. We are a unique retail store that carries specialty barbecues and smokers as well as a large selection of gourmet sauces, rubs and spices that come from award winning locals all over the country. At Green Leaf BBQ, you won’t find gas grills, disposable products or lighter fluid. Instead, you can find a lineup of efficient barbecues and smokers, high quality cookware and accessories, charcoals that come from companies with sustainable practices and gourmet food products that are all natural. We offer cooking classes, first fire techniques, new product demos and private instruction. Our goal is to fuel the creative spirit of cooking outdoors by providing the tools to make anyone feel like a gourmet chef.

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