Spice Rubs for Your Holiday Roast

Whether you’re cooking prime rib, pot roast, top round or brisket, a roast is a great way to feed a holiday crowd. A roast makes for a substantial meal, pairs well with any of your favorite side dishes and offers the promise of leftovers the next day.

A roast can always be seasoned with salt and pepper, but for the holidays we like to spice things up a little. The spice aisle is full of pre-made spice blends, but you can easily personalize your holiday meal by simply opening up your spice drawer at home and mixing together a dry rub of your own.

Dry rubs can contain however many spices you want to add. They also usually contain salt, although you can leave this out and simply salt the meat to taste after it cooks. You can add equal amounts of each spice, or add more of a specific spice so its flavor dominates. How much rub to use on a piece of meat ultimately comes down to personal preference, but a good place to start is 1-2 tablespoons per pound of meat.

Many people feel that whole spices you grind yourself right before using have more flavor, but pre-ground spices are fine, too (as long as they haven’t been sitting in your cupboard for a year). Since the spices will be subjected to heat while cooking the roast, you don’t necessarily have to toast any of the spices beforehand to bring out the flavor. The rub can be applied right before cooking and like the name suggests, should be rubbed into the meat, not just sprinkled on top.

If you open your spice drawer and don’t feel inspired, it might be time to branch out and bring new flavors to your kitchen. Peruse the entire spice aisle at the grocery store or visit ethnic markets, which are great places to discover spices you’ve never used before. You can also try one of the dry rubs below, which are sure to “spice” up your holiday meal.

The following rubs cover approximately 3-6 pounds of meat…

Cardamom Orange Rub

  • 1 tablespoons cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon dried orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Cocoa Cinnamon Rub

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon allspice

Herbs and Garlic

  • 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon dried garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon

Spicy Paprika Rub

  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

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