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Saugatuck, MI 49453

Blog Categories: Grilling

Making a Better Burger

Posted 08/21/2016


The burger is an iconic American food, and we Americans eat about 50 billion annually. That’s a lot of burgers! Though, is there a way to improve this classic, so we’re eating quality ones at home? Absolutely! Here are some tips for making a better burger.

The Patty
The most critical element of any good burger is the beef patty. As such, the freshness and quality of the beef is paramount. If you have access to a quality butcher, ask if they’ll freshly grind the meat for you. Ground chuck is preferred, as it usually has a ratio of 80% meat to 20% fat – making for a juicy burger without being excessively fatty.

When forming the patty, the less you handle the meat, the tenderer it’ll be – overworking the meat just makes it tough. Another recommendation is to put an indentation in the center – roughly the size of your thumb. This causes the burger to stay flat while cooking, rather than forming a dome in the middle.

During cooking, don’t squish the patties, as this only drives out the juices. Use your spatula for flipping, not compressing. Speaking of flipping, feel free to flip as often as you’d like, the idea that you can “over-flip” a burger is just a myth.

Here’s a quick temperature guide for your burgers:
120F: Rare | 130F: Medium-Rare | 140F: Medium | 150F: Medium-Well | 160F: Well Done

The Seasoning
If you’re using quality beef, then you should be using quality seasonings to bring your burger to its full potential! Be sure to season after making the patties, and only minutes before being placed on the grill. If you season too early the salt will break down proteins, which draws out moisture and creates an undesirable texture. Below are five seasonings Spice & Tea Merchants offers for your perfect burger!

Butcher’s Rub – A traditional blend with herbal and peppery flavors
Coffee BBQ – Coffee tenderizes meat but cooks out, leaving a sweet but complex BBQ flavor
Korean BBQ – A spicy teriyaki profile, with sesame notes
Raspberry Chipotle – Slightly smoky, a bit spicy, and has a sweet raspberry twist
Saugatuck Steak – Paprika based with a peppery profile and hint of Worcheshire

The above should get you started, but is by no means an exhaustive list. You can click here to view all of our blends – check them out and experiment with something outside the box!

Filed under Grilling | Burgers |

Grilling Fruit

Posted 07/01/2016


Believe it or not, you can grill almost any fruit! The trick is to grill them just before they’re fully ripe and to leave them in their peel (if applicable). Some popular fruits for grilling include apples, apricots, bananas, figs, peaches, pears, pineapple, plantains, plums, strawberries, and watermelon.

1. Start off by cutting the fruit and removing all seeds/cores (see below for recommend cuts).
   -Apples, apricots, bananas, figs, peaches, pears, plantains, and plums: Simply cut them in half from top to bottom.
   -Pineapple: Cut horizontally into rings or vertically into long wedges.
   -Strawberries: Grilling these works best when placed on a pair of skewers.
   -Watermelon: Cut into wedges – the rind may be left on or removed.

2. Season your fruit by adding any desired spices. Some spices that pair well with fruit are allspice, cinnamon (Korintje / Indonesian or Vietnamese), clove, ginger, lavender flowers, nutmeg, star anise, and vanilla beans. Also, check out our Baker’s Blend, a cinnamon centric mix containing many of the afore mentioned spices. Adding a bit of balsamic vinegar, brandy, honey, or rum will really enhanced the flavor as well.

3. Lightly spread olive oil or melted butter over the fruit to prevent it from sticking to the grill.

4. Make sure your grill grates are clean – you don’t want to alter the flavor with leftover BBQ sauce.

5. Fruit grills best when using indirect heat, so place it on the grill after the coals being to die out or off to the side.

6. Grill for approximately 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Sugars burn quickly, so be sure to keep a watchful eye on your fruit.

Serve as a side dish with a dab of yogurt, as a dessert with ice cream, or just lightly sprinkled with our flavored sugars. Have fun trying new favor combinations!


Filed under Grilling | Fruits | Sides |

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 |
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