Ah, an Arkansas autumn Saturday — there’s really nothing better. And while there are a ton of people tromping through my neighborhood because the Razorbacks are in town, making it impossible to get out without some yokel stealing my parking spot, I’ve been through this all before: we stocked up on a weekend’s worth of goodies in advance.
But it’s beautiful, and as a nod toward the tailgating culture here in Little Rock, we decided to fire up the world’s tiniest grill and make some chicken, brats, and ribs. The chicken turned out particularly nice, and it was all due to a couple of dry rubs I used, a Mexican mole rub and a Southwest barbecue rub. Each was tasty in its own way, so you might want to give one of these a try next time you feel like cooking outside.
Mole rub for chicken
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 1 tsp cocoa
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2-1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground dry ancho chili
- 1 tsp Mexican oregano (dried)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp warm water
Mix the espresso powder with the warm water until it dissolves. Mix each dry ingredient in, then add the olive oil. Blend until a thick paste is formed — I used a mortar and pestle. Adjust water and oil depending on how thick you’d like the rub — I find that a thicker rub stays on better. Rub your chicken with the mole and let marinate for an hour, then grill.
Michael’s Southwest rub for chicken (with advice from Louis Williams of Next Level Barbecue)
2 tsp chili powder
3 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground mustard (I used Coleman’s)
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp kosher salt
Mix all ingredients together, making sure that everything is blended well. You can add some oregano, thyme, or even some powdered sage to this, and it’s quite nice. A touch of cumin can add an interesting flavor, and smoked paprika can be good, too, although I find that it overwhelms things sometimes.
Just work the rub really well into your chicken, let marinate for an hour, and then grill. Enjoy, and happy cooking!