"Blackening Rub"

Mix the ingredients below and keep in an airtight container until ready to use. Best if used within 6 months of mixing. This is great on beef, chicken and pork. Use about 1/2 tablespoon per pound. (I actually just use as much as it takes to cover all surfaces of the meat.)

2 1/2 Tbl paprika
1 3/4 Tbl salt
2 tbl garlic powder
1 tbl black pepper
1 tbl onion powder
3/4 to 1 tsp cayenne pepper (Vary to taste based on desired heat. If cooking for children or others sensitive to chili heat, you may want to start out with a 1/2 teaspoon.)
1 1/4 Tbl dried oregano
1 tbl dried thyme

Cover the meat with the rub, put in a plastic bag, then let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour. You can cook the meat with just the rub, or you can marinade the meat in the following marinade (let soak for at least half an hour):

"Creole Marinade"

4-6 crushed or pressed garlic cloves
1 Tbl balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp rough chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp rough chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp rough chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup olive or canola oil

Mix and let sit out overnight to blend flavors. Keep in an airtight container until ready to use. Best if used within six months of mixing.

My husband and I also like to brush our "rubbed" steak with the following mop sauce instead of using the marinade:

"Basic Barbeque Mop Sauce" (This is taken from "How to Grill" by Steven Raichlen)

2 cups distilled white vinegar
1 Tbl coarse salt
1 tsp black pepper, or more to taste
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 jalepeno pepper, thinly sliced

Place the vinegar, salt, black pepper, and hot pepper flakes in a nonreactive bowl and whisk until salt dissolves. Stir in the onion and jalapeno. Taste for seasoning, adding black pepper or hot pepper flakes as necessary. Brush on grilled beef, chicken or pork once the outside is cooked. The mop sauce can be made several hours in advance but use it the same day.

NOTE: Don't let all the talk of peppers scare you away from these!! They aren't hot at all, if made just like the recipes say. The peppers just add a nice richness.