Kitchn Love Letters

I Collect Spices, and This New Blend Is by Far My Favorite

published Nov 16, 2023
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Close-up roasted fingerling potatoes garnished with thyme.
Credit: Photo: Ghazalle Badiozamani | Food Stylist: Jesse Badiozamani

I collect spices and spice blends the same way some people collect shoes. I scour local spice shops and buy new-to-me spices at international markets on the regular. I’ve even devoted the largest drawer in my kitchen to a hyper-organized library of spices. So when I say I’m excited about a new spice blend, take my word for it — because I’ve tried them all. 

I met my newest spice crush at The Spice House, in the Milwaukee Public Market. I always find interesting, high-quality spices there, but the latest find is by far my favorite ever. After one little taste of this peppery umami spice blend, I knew I was going to go through a lot of the stuff. Thankfully The Spice House is available online, so I don’t have to travel across the country to get this pepper-lover’s dream blend.  

Credit: Ivy Manning

What Is So Great About Rodney Scott’s Porcini Garlic Herb Pepper Rub?

Part of a line of barbecue rubs made in collaboration with The Spice House and award-winning South Carolina chef Rodney Scott (you may recognize him from episode three of Netflix’s Chef’s Table BBQ), this particular rub caught my attention for the unusual combination of ingredients.

The first flavor you meet is the earthy umami of dried porcini mushrooms, a wild mushroom that is prized by Italian chefs. Next, you taste sweetness and a slight crunch from cane sugar, salt, and a nice bite of garlic. A touch of resinous citrus heat cascades over your palate next, thanks to cracked Tellicherry peppercorns and juniper, a dried berry that’s often used in game cooking and gin production. The finish is a whisper of smoky heat from chipotle chiles.  

The combination is remarkable. In fact, I keep dipping my finger in a small bowl of the blend as I write this. There’s so much going on here, both in flavor and a lovely little crunch, that it’s a shame to use it for just steak and pork chops, as is suggested on the label. 

Credit: Ivy Manning

What’s the Best Way to Use Rodney Scott’s Porcini Garlic Herb Pepper Rub?

The question should be “What doesn’t this stuff go with?” This is honestly the most used spice blend in my voluminous spice cabinet. I first tried it on a grilled hanger steak as suggested on the label, and the slightly livery flavor of the meat played well with the sweet heat of the rub. Next, I tried it on roasted potatoes and loved it even more. The coarse grind of the spices stuck to olive oil-slicked potatoes perfectly and set off the buttery flavor of the fingerling potatoes so well, my husband and I ate a pound of potatoes between the two of us! 

Now I’m using Chef Scott’s pepper rub on this roasted chicken recipe with red cabbage and apples, sprinkling it into celery root mashed potatoes, tossing it with grilled asparagus to perk them up, and most recently I made a bowl of buttered popcorn and sprinkled the rub on that; it was so good, even if I did have garlic breath for hours after! 

My husband jokes that he wouldn’t be surprised if I put this blend on my morning oatmeal. Savory oatmeal is having a moment, so who knows? 

Buy: The Spice House and Rodney Scott’s Porcini Garlic Herb Pepper Rub, $11.99 for 2.5 ounces at The Spice House

What’s your most-used spice blend? Tell us about it in the comments below.