Thanks to David Liebowitz, I discovered the great use of meat rubs, that can be prepared, saved and used any time to provide a robust flavor to a variety of meats. I rarely get to save it because I usually make it right before preparing some large turkey which uses most of it up. I will discuss the preparation and use.
First, the preparation. As you can see in the picture above, you use a healthy amount of the following: rosemary, garlic, marjoram (or originally sage), and salt. I am being pretty vague, because frankly, as long as you are using lots of fresh herbs, the precise proportions are not too important. I will include David’s instructions below. Chop all of these together and it looks like this:
at this point if you don’t use it, spread it on a cookie sheet to let it dry. it will be dry in 24-48 hours. The smell is amazing!
As for use, it is pretty straightforward. Rub it on the meat. Cook the meat.
Ok, but if you really want to know why I love this rub so much, I will tell you how I use it on turkey, for which I have received some pretty rave reviews…
Again, I have someone else to thank. The great Russ Parsons . He brought the “dry brine” technique out to the public a few years back, testing it versus normal brining as well as other techniques. The basic technique is to rub a turkey with one Tablespoon of salt (Kosher) per 5 pounds of turkey. Bag it and stick it in the fridge for 3 days, turning it daily, removing the bag and leaving the turkey in the fridge for the final few hours.
My modification is to make the rub described above, or something closer to David Liebovitz’s and rub the turkey with that in an amount that leaves the 1 T/5lb ratio intact. I also slide the rub underneath the skin where possible. I cook the turkey breast down. Simple, right? The richness of flavor is simply not to be believed. The salting is truly great, but the herbiness imparted puts it right over the top.
David Liebovitz Herb Rub:
To make this herb mixture, take a very large bunch of fresh sage and pick the leaves off. Then take a large bunch of rosemary and strip off the oily leaves as well. A good proportion is about 2 to 3 parts sage leaves to 1 part rosemary. Then take about 8 small peeled garlic cloves and a heaping tablespoons of coarse salt (I use grey salt from Brittany) then chop it all up until the herbs are very fine, as shown. Discard any sticks or seeds.
Then spread the chopped mixture on a baking sheet and let it dry for about three days.
UPDATE: Wow, embarassingly, I realize that I have used these same pictures on a post that was pretty close in content to this one, a year ago. Forgive me for the error, and please chalk it up to 1. how much I love fresh herbs in my cooking and 2. the fact that last year was one in which I didn’t sleep a lot and did not give the site the attentiont that I would have liked.