Ari's Top 5, Cooking, Deli

Staff Barbecue Spice

22 herbs and spices in a superb not-at-all secret blend

While the name “Staff Barbecue Spice” may sound a bit innocuous don’t be fooled—this stuff has 22 different herbs and spices. Check the list—cayenne, chile flakes, New Mexico chile flakes, chipotle, paprika, black cardamom, red Sichuan pepper, black pepper, white pepper, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, savory, oregano, basil, onion, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika, and then the two kickers that take it to an otherworldly level of excellence—ground dried tangerine peel and lavender! Seriously, it sounds more like the recipe for a medieval liqueur. As you’d imagine, the complexity and character it imparts is something special.

As with most of the Épices de Cru spices, the Barbecue spice needs to be ground or pounded with mortar and pestle. It takes only a minute or two of extra effort—it’s worth it! It releases the essential oils right before you use it. As per its name, you can, of course, use it on anything you’re going to grill. Fish, chicken, beef, pork, vegetables. Amazing on shrimp. You can also sprinkle onto salads and it makes an incredible pot of chile. If you’re curing your own bacon, this would be a terrific seasoning to spread on the raw pork!! Excellent sprinkled onto fried eggs, or into omelets. Add it to vinaigrettes. Really good on rice! Toss it on new potatoes along with some olive oil or pork fat before roasting. Sprinkle some on a pizza. The Creamery has some killer cheeses for toppings—their fresh, made-daily, mozzarella and fresh goat cheese are both fantastic ways to top your “pie.” The Staff Barbecue spice is about as easy a way as I can come up with to make your next meal into something special.