When the sun is out and the heat is on, there’s nothing more satisfying than firing up the grill or lighting up some charcoal for a little outdoor cooking. For people who truly love barbeque in all its forms, the summer is what they wait for all year long so they can get back outside to put some food on the grill. One of the best things about barbequing is its versatility. You can prepare so many different types of food in so many different ways!
Whether you’re a grilling rookie or a certified grill master, knowing how to prepare your food before it hits the grill is just as important as what happens once it’s over the heat. Seasoning your food should happen all throughout the cooking process, but to really infuse some deep flavors, you’ll need to season it long before it touches the grill itself. Here are some must-have seasonings for barbecue lovers this summer. While a few of them may seem obvious, it’s always good to remind yourself how these seasonings work to improve the final taste of your food.
The Best Seasonings for Barbeque
Part of the reason people love grilling is the delicious, smoky flavor you can only get when using a grill. However, you have to find a delicate balance between the seasonings you put on the food itself and the flavors the grill infuses directly into it. The seasonings below are things you probably already have in your kitchen, especially if you enjoy cooking in any capacity. Knowing how to use them to their full effect is the key to creating some incredible barbeque people will talk about all summer.
Salt and Pepper
The ultimate duo and the obvious must-have seasonings for barbeque this summer are good old salt and pepper. It may seem pointless to list these here, but they’re so crucial to the cooking process that they deserve to be at the top. Salt on its own is the best way to bring out the natural flavor of whatever you put it on. You can use it to pull out the flavor of rubs, marinades, and brines, for example. It works on nearly everything. Pepper has a taste that’s unique on its own. Putting pepper on a piece of food will greatly enhance its natural flavors so you can taste everything to its fullest extent.
If you plan on barbequing any meat this summer, rely on garlic powder. Garlic is common in meat dishes because of how it perfectly enhances the meat’s flavor. You aren’t beholden to meat only with garlic powder, though. This seasoning goes incredibly well with grilled veggies as well. Garlic powder works great as a dry spice, but you can also put it in your basting liquid for a marinade you can slap on your food both during and after it’s done cooking.
Cumin plays an important role in grilling because of its intense savory qualities. Much like pepper, cumin adds to the natural flavor of whatever you put it on by making the food richer in flavor. This richness is the perfect complement to the flavors the grill imparts on your food. If you don’t have any ground cumin in your spice cabinet, do yourself a favor by getting some.
If you want a spiciness that doesn’t overwhelm the palette, smoked paprika is a great option. Because smoked paprika has such a strong flavor, it makes a great addition to food that doesn’t need a lot of time on the grill before it’s done. Fast-grilling food such as skirt steak, fish, and shellfish don’t always stay on the grill long enough for the flames to impact their flavor. Therefore, smoked paprika is a great substitute.
When you want to prepare your food using an immersion method—such as in brine or marinade—rosemary can be a huge help. Putting some rosemary leaves into your brines and marinades can infuse them with a delicious, earthy, herb-like flavor that pairs extremely well with the smokiness of the grill. The savory qualities of rosemary penetrate deep into meats, making it a great choice to use with lamb, steak, or chicken.
Thyme is an extremely aromatic herb that imparts a wonderful, savory flavor to whatever it touches. It’s a useful seasoning no matter what you want to cook. You can use thyme as an infusion in larger cuts of meat such as slabs of beef or whole chickens, but its subtle flavors also pair well with food that cooks much quicker such as fish and shellfish. Thyme is a seasoning every grill expert should have ready to go for any of their favorite dishes.
Not everyone would think to use oregano as a regular grilling seasoning, but if you know what to do with it, it can add a new depth of flavor to a lot of different food. Oregano is great on grilled vegetables; it brings out their inherent flavors while adding a savory spice to them as well. Grilled eggplant is a good example of something oregano works wonders on. You can use oregano on meats too; its subtle spice helps to balance out the grilled meat’s rich flavors.
If you want your barbeque to be the best it can be, proper seasoning is an essential part of the process. To help you take the guesswork out of the seasoning process, the rubs we make here at Williams Food Co. will help you create a barbeque experience worthy of the history books. Check out our mesquite BBQ seasoning for a genuine Texas barbeque flavor or try out our award-winning Rib Tickler rub for your next cookout.