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Thread: What am I putting in our food?

  1. #1
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    What am I putting in our food?

    I have researched rub recipes. Trying to learn about them because I am not trained... So what I learned is, I have done and many 'experts' many of us blindly follow have done is duplicate ingredients or add ingredients that are traditionally used to minimal effect.

    What do I mean?

    Consider paprika and chili powder both used in many rub recipes. Both have many forms so I don't want to over generalize. Common paprika is ground red pepper (maybe sweet red pepper or other mild red pepper). It is used effectively more for color and less for flavor. That is a key point (Kevin Kruger is one who make this point).

    Chili Powder is also commonly used for color but also flavor. A popular online spice co.'s Regular Chili Powder contains:
    ancho chili pepper, cumin, garlic and Mexican oregano.

    So the reason I ask what are we putting in our food, is if we use good chili powder why are we adding paprika?
    It has been done by me. It has been done traditionally. Experts on TV and online do it.
    I did it because others have. I didn't realize how little paprika brought to the party except color.
    Think about what is in a recipe and why it is included. As ingredient lists grow...we may not be adding anything but complexity.

    So in an effort to simplify recipes as I did in N0.5 Sauce, I think using Chili powder with all the flavor it brings...is the wiser choice.
    Peach Kissed Q

  2. #2
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    I use paprika a lot and not just for colour!
    If you manage to get your hands on some good Hungarian or Spanish paprika powder, you'll find that is't full of flavour (and smells awesome too).

    Besides that, I have to admit that I like the colour it brings in esp sausages and on piri piri chicken.
    And if you do want that colour, you might not be able to get it with the Chili powder alone. Might get too hot.

    Having said that, when we talk about chili powder, here (and in mainland Europe) we would mean ground chili's. We don't have anything like you describe, but the same reasoning still holds.

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    Anne, I do not disagree. The paprikas (including smoked) you refer to can be very special and flavorful.
    In the USA the paprika many of us first knew and used was and is plain. Clearly there are exceptions as you correctly pointed out.
    It's perhaps a bit like ham. If I buy a package or ham here it is nothing compared to Jamon in Spain.
    Peach Kissed Q

  4. #4
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Petrone View Post
    In the USA the paprika many of us first knew and used was and is plain.
    Yes, the paprika bought in the little tin can is U.S. supermarkets is not very good stuff. Seek out better versions at Penzeys or other spice specialists for better results. And I agree, it's good to question recipes. Try them as-written, taking detailed notes of the results, then try again, cutting an ingredient like paprika in half and see how you like the results.

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    TVWBB 1-Star Olympian Rich Dahl's Avatar
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    Agree with Chris, not just with paprika but with most spices. You don't know how long it sat in a warehouse and how long it sat on the grocery store shelf. Since we started buying from Penzeys my eyes have been opened to what flavors there really are in good quality spices.
    As far as #5 goes, that's are go to sauce every time, nothing better
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    TVWBB Emerald Member Dustin Dorsey's Avatar
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    I've been trying to come to grips with seasonings and which one taste like what and how to blend them, etc. I see some extremely complex rubs, and I have to wonder how anyone could taste all those ingredients. There is a tendency to throw the kitchen sink into a rub and I have to question it. Some herbs for instance can taste very similar. There's a lot that give that licorice taste for instance. I also realize that a lot of people are way further down the path of understanding than I am and can handle that complexity. My tendency now is to steer towards the simple just for the sake of increasing my understanding of spices in general.
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    TVWBB Hall of Fame timothy's Avatar
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    In store bought rubs Paprika is used primarily to add color ( and bulk ) because it's cheap. I steer clear of it when buying or making rubs ( thank's to Kevin ) because it doesn't really add anything besides color and can have a gritty taste when using it on the smoker.
    Now good Paprika for the indoor appliance's I like. Smoked from Penzeys is my favorite for Swiss Steak and Goulash.

    Tim
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    TVWBB Emerald Member Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    I love paprika, the grocery store stuff is worthless though, I use Penzeys for pretty much everything in spices. My dad was one of their early customers, way back when they were just mimeographed pages!
    I agree, it adds little to the flavor in most rubs, but, the red is perceived to add “spice flavor”. Good, fresh, sweet or hot paprika is delicate flavor at best. It also has a fairly high oil content and will burn and get bitter and gritty when cooked at too high a temperature. Smoked paprika is a different flavor. Use paprika whenever you want but, taste the stuff first, then you will know what’s going on.
    As cooks, I think it is important to know what every component tastes like before the combination of flavors begins. Then, the end result becomes more interesting, you know what is in things when you taste them. The tendency to “kitchen sink” blend is very easy to get caught up in but, I’ve finally learned that under ten and when the right flavors blend sometimes as few as five provide excellent result.
    I use a lot less salt than I did when I started down the kitchen hobby path but learned for any basic flavor (salt, sweet) component you remove (or reduce) the addition of a different one will keep tastebuds interested. It was something I learned from Graham Kerr I’ve reduced my salt intake by probably 60% since then. That seems to keep my wife, and doctor happy. Just my take on ingredient knowledge.
    Last edited by Timothy F. Lewis; 04-08-2018 at 06:10 AM.
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