What relaxes you? Listening to soothing music? Enjoying some alone time? Taking a vacation? Getting a massage? Pouring a stiff cocktail?
To be honest, all of those things are relaxing to me, and not necessarily always in that order. And with the Fourth of July fast-approaching this week, relaxation is what we all want! For me, with my ever-growing list of aches and pains as each year passes, I have a confession as to how I try and bring about relaxation: I get a massage every two weeks. (Now before you think this is JUST about stress relief or I’m allowing myself too much pampering, remember my post about how a hug isn’t always a good thing. Not looking for pity, but that’s reality, folks). Luckily, my massage therapist is a miracle worker! She works magic with all my “issues”, and has me walking out of her studio relaxed, loose, and strangely enough, hungry at times. Maybe it’s the increase in circulation, the release of toxins, or just feeling like I can take on the world again, but by the time she’s finished with me I’m generally thinking about what to make for dinner. I don’t know why. I’m odd.
And right now, because it’s Summer, this time of year means time for ALL OF US to relax, enjoy the weather (if it cooperates), spend time with friends and family, and eat GREAT Summer food, right? That’s relaxing no matter how you look at it! So it’s fitting that my ode to “why I love my massage therapist” leads to rub downs of another sort. Get your mind out of the gutter–I’m talking about BBQ, baby!
Because my husband is the grill master, I’m the one making the rest of the meal, which I actually like to do. One of the things that I always make sure we have on hand as we head into grilling season is a cabinet-full of great spices and rubs. Sometimes a simple salt and pepper rub works wonders, but other times, something a little more complex is in order. Something sweet, something smoky, something with a little kick. Something like this fabulous Sweet & Smoky BBQ Rub from the all-time grilling god, Steven Raichlen.
If you’re not familiar with Raichlen’s books and PBS show (although I don’t know if new episodes run regularly anymore), he is, in my estimation, the original grilling god. He’s the guy that demystifyed the whole BBQ thing for those of us who had no idea what we were doing. He’s the guy who gave great tips, easy-to-understand explanations of why certain methods worked, as well as some super ideas for building flavor. From his book, The Barbeque Bible: Sauces, Rubs & Marinades, came what are now tried-and-true, regularly-used and reached for recipes that result in tasty morsels from the grill.
So stand back and get ready to make this recipe by the mason jar, bucket, and car load. You too, may become addicted to a good rub down.
*Oh, and a quick update: we got to meet and eat with Steven Raichlen last month! Yay us! Not the best picture in the world, but I’m considering it evidence. Now our beloved cookbook is signed by the master himself. Color me star-struck!
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