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Spice & Tea Merchants Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 130
Saugatuck, MI 49453

Blog Categories: General

Marinades vs. Rubs

Posted 05/20/2016


Grilling season is almost here! And at Spice & Tea Merchants we’re frequently asked about using marinades and rubs when grilling. Often there’s uncertainty as to when to use one over the other, so here’s a quick overview on the basics.

When considering using a marinade, the key is to determine if what you’re grilling requires tenderizing. In general, marinades work best on tougher cuts like chuck, flank, and round steaks. The plan with a marinade is to use an acidic liquid as the base, such as beer, citrus, pineapple juice, vinegar, wine, or even yogurt. This breaks down the tougher tissues which tenderizes the meat.

In preparing the marinade, be sure to make enough – usually 1/4 cup marinade to 1 pound of meat. As a tip, put the meat and marinade in a zip-lock bag. Then place the bag into a bowl (in case of leaks), and store in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours or overnight. Obviously, the larger the cut of meat, the longer it needs to marinate.

Marinades don’t have to be used just for tenderizing, they can be used simply for flavor as well. When marinating something requiring little tenderizing, such as fish or veggies, a marinating time of 2-3 hours is sufficient to allow the flavors to infuse.

Blends great to season marinades:
Citrus Pork & Poultry
Greek Seasoning with Feta
Jamaican Jerk
Mushroom Pepper Steak


A rub’s primary function is flavor, rather than tenderizing like marinades. To use a rub, be sure to pat the meat dry beforehand (helps the spices stick), then liberally coat each side. At this point the meat may be cooked immediately, or chilled in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight for a full robust flavor to develop. In either case, allow the meat to come up to room temperature before grilling (helps the meat cook evenly).

When grilling, start by searing the meat over high-heat, this will lend a savory crispy crust. Once seared, move it to a cooler spot on the grill to finish cooking.

An interesting side note, many rubs have a fair amount of salt in them. This is intentional, as salt helps fat melt during the cooking process – keeping the meat moist.

Blends great for rubs:
Butcher’s Rub
Coffee BBQ
Korean BBQ
Raspberry Chipotle
Saugatuck Steak

In many cases, the rubs above may be used as the seasoning component in marinades.

Whatever your preference, Spice & Tea Merchants has herbs and spices for your perfect marinade or rub. Fire up those grills and see what works best for you!

Click on any of the following to view our Spice Blends, Herbs & Spices, or Sea Salts.

Filed under General | Grilling |

Everyday Herbs & Spices

Posted 03/29/2016

At Spice & Tea Merchants, customers frequently ask what herbs, spices, and blends to keep on hand for everyday use. While this is subjective depending on your cooking style, below are some basics we suggest.

~Single Herbs & Spices~

Check out our entire Herbs & Spices selection here.

~Spice Blends~
When it comes to spice blends, our wide array has you covered for nearly any meal. Click on a blend below for a full description and suggestions on how to use it.

View our Spice Blend selection here.

For everyday cooking, salts such as Pink Himalayan or Fleur de Sel will enhance any dish. However, if you want to finish with that extra pizzazz, check out the Black Truffle, Vintage Merlot, or Chardonnay Oak Smoked sea salts. You can view our entire salt collection here.

If these are items you already have on hand, do you know how old they are? Typically whole spices keep their potency for about a year, or six to eight months if they’re ground. The key is to be sure they’re properly stored, as all spices can be damaged by heat, light, moisture, and air. If you’re unsure, smell the spice before you use it. If the spice still smells strong, it’s usable. If not, toss it and come see us.

Filed under General |
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