Spice Boss’ Top Three

People always ask about my top blends and seasonings. For me, Bronzeville Rib Rub is number one. My father-in-law created this seasoning at the original spice shop, located at 33rd Street and Galena in Milwaukee. In the 1960’s, neighbors would come in for nutmeg, sage, and cayenne pepper. Patty’s dad, Bill Penzey, thought it was an unusual combination, but when customers requested the trio several times – for both ribs or pork sausage – he listened. After a few sessions in the blending room, Galena Street Rib Rub was born. In 1996, we opened another shop in Chicago, and called the recipe Bronzeville Rib Rub to reflect the ethnic roots that inspired the blend in Milwaukee.

This stuff is the best on chicken. If the chicken is fried, the spice should be put right into the flour. If it is roasted or baked, the spice is liberally applied to the skin. Nice and salty – the way I like it. On ribs, it’s a dry rub. Put it on a few hours early for best results. For pork sausage, it’s added to the meat when going through the grinder. Bronzeville is one of those blends where you don’t really get the full flavor from just smelling or even tasting it alone. But once it hits the meat, it’s waaay good.

I don’t like most vegetables. Never did. OK, maybe corn on the cob. But I know I hafta eat them. So what do I put on broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans? Rocky Mountain Seasoning. This blend was made to be a salad shake. The dominant flavor is fresh green bell pepper, but it’s also cheesy, with lots of parmesan. The sesame and poppy seeds give it that salad-y mouth feel I like. The texture is rounded off with crisp and light freeze-dried shallots. It makes vegetables more fun to eat.

If I was stranded on a desert island I might be able to make salt from the sea water. But not my favorite kind of sea salt! Fleur de Sel or, the flower of the salt, has to be lightly skimmed from the surface of dehydrating ponds on the Atlantic coasts of Europe. When the salt crystals just start to form, they are light and flakey and float on the surface. With calm winds, these light flakes can be taken while floating. Otherwise, they will get denser and fall beneath the surface to be raked up later as common sea salt.

DO NOT use this salt for regular cooking! It is expensive. Only at the table to finish with – sparingly. The appearance reminds me of snow; slightly moist with sea water and sticking to itself. I am spoiled. I love this Fleur de Sel. But I get a deep discount. I know a guy. I recoil if I can’t put a healthy pinch on my baked potato or my corn on the cob.

SB, out!

Spice Boss has been at The Spice House for over 40 years, but has been more popular since he stepped onto the YouTube scene. Some merchants even think that Tom Erd is really Spice Boss, but nobody has actually seen the two in the same room at the same time…


Behind The Seasonings: Old World Seasoning

When my parents began The Spice House in 1957, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt was considered the Holy Grail of seasoning salts. We used to stock Lawry’s along with many other blends from bigger companies. That was…


    Thank you for your educational community outreach. Eons ago you brought your stories and a lovely sample bundle for all as a program to our garden club in the Homewood/Flossmoor area, far south for you, and all of us learned so much spice history. Thank you for coming those many years ago. Though we are miles away your email blasts always bring me back. You two are so dedicated and a treasure to the culinary community. I only wish I could come into your perfumed store. Thank you.

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