17 September, 2009

Seasonings Part Four: Pork Salt

We all have our little kitchen "secrets" - little things we do or seasonings we use that make our dishes unique. My mom's beef stew is a great example of that. I could never get my beef stew to taste as good as my mom's, no matter what I did. So one day, I asked her how she made her stew gravy so damn delicious.

"Stir in a couple of tablespoons of ketchup after you thicken it," she told me. "Nothing improves gravy like a hint of tomato."

She's right. Tomato is indeed a key component of awesome gravy. I nearly always include a tomato or two in with the "aromatics" when I make a non-poultry broth, stew, soup, or pot roast. If I'm in a hurry, though, I'll use canned tomatoes, ketchup, or a dab of tomato paste. If you've never tried it you should.

My own little secret is for pork. I keep a shaker of what my family calls "Pork Salt" by the stove, and use it as kind of a universal pigmeat seasoning. Roast, chops, ribs, whatever - it's a "base seasoning" for me that seems to bring out the best flavors of the meat, even if I'm later going to use the pork for chili verde, in a spaghetti sauce, or with barbecue sauce. I always use some Pork Salt for at least the initial browning.

Pork Salt
Makes about 1¼ cups.

1 cup salt
2 tablespoons Bell's Seasoning*
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon powdered sage
1 tablespoon powdered thyme
1 teaspoon ground coriander

Mix all ingredients together in a jar or spice bottle with a shaker lid.

If the different spices and salt separate into layers because of non-uniform grain sizes, you can pulse them in a spice grinder or work them over with a mortar and pestle before putting them into the shaker.

Experiment with the blend to achieve your own favorite taste. Adding a bit of allspice and some powdered habanero pepper gives it a "jerk" taste. Or you could try adding cumin, chipotle powder and some powdered dried ancho peppers to give your seasoning a southwest flavor.


*Bell's Seasoning is a New England-made poultry seasoning; they've been around since 1867, and as long as I can remember my family's kitchens have had a box of Bell's in the cupboard ready for use. If you can't find it near you, there are links on Bell's website that will let you mail order it (or you can use your own favorite poultry seasoning blend. But I bet Bell's is better. LOL, alliteration.)



Unknown said...

Dave- thank you for the recipe. I've been experimenting with various seasonings and spice rubs- some of the premade ones are so $$$ and not very good. Putz and Grunter love "pork" items so this should go nicely!


Anonymous said...

I like Stephanie’s Seasonings it tastes good and is all natural with no sugar, additives or MSG. Here is the website:
Try it out!