Magic Spice Blend

July  1, 2018
6 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Makes about 1 cup
Author Notes

In a world of unknowns, this spice blend is the one constant in my life. It’s smoky and sweet, savory and familiar. It lives in a Mason jar by my stove next to the olive oil, salt, and pepper. That's the thing about "secret" dry rubs: When you've found the perfect mix, it becomes a part of you and your daily cooking. It's good and reliable, even signature, because you feel somehow that you've been seasoning with it all along. —Eric Kim

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: The 6-Minute Breakfast That Gets Me Through the Day, Every Day and My Lip-Smacking BBQ Ribs & the Secret Spice Blend That Makes Them Sing. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika (you can use regular sweet paprika if you don't like the taste of smoked)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed, crushed in the palm of your hand
  1. Spoon all of the ingredients into a Mason jar and shake. I like to keep this by my stove to sprinkle over everything: soft-boiled eggs, sliced cucumbers, chicken, pork chops, and especially ribs.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kellia Brinson
    Kellia Brinson
  • Rhonda35
  • Rochelle
  • coneil
Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.

5 Reviews

Kellia B. September 9, 2023
Excellent rub for grilled meats and such. I subbed ground fennel seeds for the celery seed and onion powder for garlic powder since it’s what I regularly have on hand. Still delicious and now something I also keep next to my regular salt and pepper.
Rochelle August 31, 2020
This One Jar Wonder is Everything! I have used it every way suggested, cucumber salad, regularly do a tray of chicken thighs as Eric does, and on salmon too, though I do mine low and slow a la Sally Schneider; 25 min @ 275ish and it is fantastic. In fact it's in the oven right now. Thank you Eric Kim, this one is truly "Magical"
coneil January 18, 2020
This spice blend works as advertised. Somewhere on Food52 I thought I read a request for readers to share their own special blends. Here is mine: 1 teaspoon each of salt, sugar, black pepper, dried lemon rind, and freshly ground nutmeg. Especially good on chicken and steak (and everything else for me).
nickelhn October 25, 2019
This spice mix is incredible. Make it right now and use it indiscriminately on everything. I thought I lost the recipe and panicked! Spent the better part of a beautiful Saturday looking for the recipe. It’s THAT good!!
Rhonda35 October 3, 2019
I'm excited to try this! Mixing some up tomorrow.