I’m not one to crowd the spice drawer. Too many spices mean too many rancid bottles, which means too much money tossed in the trash.

But I make an exception when it comes to this rub.

Yes, it calls for spices that don’t usually crowd my drawer:

  • Brown mustard seeds
  • Cardamom pods
  • Coriander seeds

But the initial investment in those bottles yields awesome returns. I mix up copious amounts of this rub, then slather it on beef (its intended target), pork, whole chickens and fatty fish; I toss it with cubed potatoes, roasted cauliflower and whole eggplant. The spices — all assertive on their own — mellow in the oven and create a deep, satisfying, “what-is-that-flavor” punch.

pork 2

So now my spice drawer is a little overcrowded. But with a rub this great, those bottles will disappear in no time.

Best-Ever Spice Rub

This rub appeared in one of the last issues of “Gourmet” magazine, in a recipe for beef tenderloin. Mix it with a little olive oil, and slather it on meat or vegetables right before you roast them. Or coat your protein with the mixture and sear it over high heat. The spices cook up into a delicious crust. The recipe doubles and triples with ease.

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • Seeds from 4 green cardamom pods (use only the seeds; discard the pods)
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into small pieces
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

Place all spices in a coffee or spice grinder. Whir until processed into a powder. Store in an airtight container on your kitchen counter.