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Everyday Food, July/August 2004

Using seasoning blends is a quick, easy way to boost the flavors of meat, poultry, and fish, especially when cooking on the grill.

The Right Rub
Which rub to use depends on the food you're preparing. The heartier the food, the stronger the rub should be. A piquant rub made with paprika and other spices is a good match for rich-tasting salmon. Chicken breasts, on the other hand, go better with a milder herb mix.

Making Rubs
Almost any herbs or spices that are frequently combined, such as those in Italian seasonings or curry mixtures, can be made into a rub. Just add some salt (and sometimes sugar) to heighten the flavor.

How to Use
Rubs should coat foods lightly. Use your fingers to rub the mixture on the meat, using about one teaspoon for every three-quarters of a pound. Unlike marinades, which often require soaking overnight, rubs can be applied just before cooking or up to several hours ahead.

How to Store
A jar with a tight-fitting lid is good for mixing and storing. Dry rubs will keep for up to six months in a cool, dark place, so you can double or triple the recipes if you like. Wet rubs, such as Lemon-Herb Rub, should be refrigerated and will keep up to a week. Make sure to label and date the containers.

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