How to Use My Vermont Smoky Maple Rub
When I set about creating my Vermont Smoky Maple rub I wanted to capture some of the aspects of life that I so deeply love about this, my adopted state. For me, the heart of Vermont life is found in the Fall: in the smell of our woods after a cold rain, especially when it’s lightly impregnated with the first whiff of smoke from the season’s first wood fire that’s suddenly needed to warm up a kitchen. The taste of maple syrup, too, especially when it’s been made over a wood-fired evaporator, helps to capture and express the smokiness and woodsiness at the heart of my life here.
I think I’ve got it – Vermont in a rub. I hope you like it as much as I do!
Quick, Tasty Pork Chops
Try these delicious pork chops for a perfect, healthy end to a busy day!
1. Place thawed pork chops on a cookie sheet or shallow-sided baking dish.
2. Sprinkle each pork chop with 1 teaspoon VT Smoky Maple Rub. Turn over and sprinkle the other side.
3. Let pork with rub rest at room temperature while you preheat the oven to 350 F.
4. Bake 20 minutes. Turn. Bake until cooked through: 15-20 minutes.
Side Dish Notes
1. Start medium sized whole potatoes 15 minutes before putting the meat in the oven for perfectly timed baked potatoes.
2. Start potato wedges – drizzled with olive oil and coated with Italian spices, or my Lemon-Herb Pepper Rub, and topped with parmesan cheese – at the same time as the pork chops. Use oven-safe tongs to turn the wedges when you turn the meat.
Vermont Smoked Maple Whole Chicken
Perk up your next Saturday chicken dinner! (Substitute chicken pieces for a quicker cooking time.)
1. Pre-heat oven to 325 F.
2. Rinse whole chicken inside and out. Pat dry. Place in shallow casserole dish, back side down.
3. Lightly coat the chicken top and sides with olive oil, using your hands or a basting brush.
4. Thoroughly coat chicken with VT Smoky Maple Rub.
Hint: Chicken skin keeps moisture in, but also works against seasoning flavor penetrating into the meat. So, work the rub under the skin as much as you can. (I even make slits in the skin to stuff rub under more of the skin, especially over the breast meat.)
5. Sprinkle up to a tablespoon of rub into the body cavity.
6. Bake at 325 F until the meat in the thigh-body joint is 165 F. Let the chicken rest 10 minutes before carving.
1. Baste and Au Jus: Make a baste of: 4 oz rum, 3 T fresh lime (or lemon) juice, 1 T brown sugar. Lightly baste the chicken before placing in oven. Baste every 20 minutes while it cooks, being careful to not brush off the rub. Baste once more when you remove it from the oven to rest.
While the chicken is resting, pour off the accumulated baste and chicken juices. Using a tablespoon, skim off excess (but not all) fat, then gently heat on the stovetop to make a pleasant au jus to drizzle over sliced chicken pieces, or to flavor a side dish, such as steamed cauliflower or broccoli, or baked potatoes.
2. Gravy and Broth: If your chicken came with chicken parts, place the neck, gizzard, liver, and heart in a small sauce pan with one coarsely chopped onion, celery stalk, and carrot, one bay leaf, and (optionally) half a teaspoon of whole black pepper corns. Cover and simmer on low while the chicken bakes. Then, while the chicken is resting, strain the broth.
Pour the juices from the chicken roasting pan into a large skillet. Place on stovetop on a medium heat. Using a tablespoon, skim off excess floating fat, Then whisk in 1-2 tablespoons white flower until there are no lumps and the liquid has thickened. Turn heat down and slowly add broth, whisking briskly, to thin to desired gravy thickness. Then season lightly with salt and my Vermont Smoky Maple Rub. Use it to garnish the chicken pieces.
Tip: Save the remaining broth in an airtight container in your fridge. Use it as broth in future chicken, pork, or lamb dishes; or as the base of a side of summer vegetable or chicken soup.
These are perfect for the grill!
For an easy and quick smoked flavor, thoroughly mix 2-3 teaspoons Vermont Smoky Maple Rub into one pound of ground hamburger. Shape into 4 or 5 hamburgers and grill as usual.
Adding a rub will cause a normal “blackening” effect on the surface. Be sure to check for doneness by temperature or by slightly opening the burger to see if the center is at its desired level of cooked.
Hint: Meat flavor is in its fat. That’s why grilled meats taste best when they include 10-15% fat. (Fat also keeps grilled meats from drying out.) The higher the heat during cooking, the more fat will be lost; a slower cook will help seal in the flavor – and the blackening effect of the rub will contribute to the sealing.
BBQ Flavored Dip
Great with chips, pretzels, and cut vegetable plates!
For a tasty and colorful dip at your next party or picnic, blend 1 or 2 tablespoons of Vermont Smoky Maple Rub into a 16-ounce container of sour cream. Serve.
Tip: Start with 1 tablespoon, thoroughly mix, and taste before you decide if you want a stronger flavor. Add additional rub one teaspoon at a time.