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Emeril’s Spice Blend?

I dislike cribbing off of another’s recipe as much as the next hound but I have found the standard Emeril spice blend for Cajun Seasoning or “Bayou Blast” or whatever to be excellent. And, I have no problem using it. If I had a test kitchen and limitless time and money and cuts of meat I would love to develop one of my own, but I do not have those things. So, please… hand up your general spice blend recipes. I want to use espresso but have found it lacking in all the blends I have augmented. Likewise with Cumin and Tarragon. If you feel okay letting people in on your go to, dried spice rub/blend, this is the time. I also understand that a rub and spice addition are different things.I am from Louisiana but have always strayed away from Tony’s because it seemed lazy to use a manufactured blend. This is an existentialist quest; I don’t’ want to be alone on that beach. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Keeping it close to the chest, huh?

    1 Reply
    1. re: frankiii

      i understand your frustration on no replies, but there are a TON of spice blend recipes on the recipe and copycat sites.

    2. Okay, here's one.

      It's just something that evolved over time and it's one that I sprinkle on ground beef as I'm frying it. My sisters and I have just referred to it as Mega Ground Beef

      2 - Chili powder
      1- Onion powder
      1- Garlic powder
      1 - Ground black pepper.

      I just sprinkle liberally when frying it up for anything from spaghetti sauce to tacos.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Davwud

        PS, the garlic and onion powder are of the granulated variety. Not the sticky powder stuff.


      2. I have my own version of Cajun spice blend which IMHO is better than Emeril's and way cheaper!

        3 TBs paprika
        1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
        1 TBs garlic powder
        2 teaspoons oregano
        2 teaspoons thyme
        1/2 teaspoon black pepper
        1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

        Blend and use on anything. Especially good on pork. Note that it does not contain salt so you can control that.

        Another one I like is Tyler Florence's Turkish spice rub. I use it on lamb and to spice up hummus.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rouxmaker

          I tend to not add salt or sugar to my spice blends so it can be controlled separately.
          I do add salt to my steak seasoning though.


        2. Barbecue Rub

          1/2 cup kosher salt
          1/2 cup turinado sugar
          1/4 cup granulated brown sugar
          1 Tbs granulated garlic
          1 Tbs granulated onion
          2 Tbs sweet paprika
          2 Tbs chili powder
          2 Tbs ground black pepper
          2 tsp cayenne pepper
          1 Tbs dried basil
          1 Tbs ground cumin
          1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
          1/4 tsp ground cloves

          1. Well . . . I almost hate to share this, because it is my seasoning "specialty" and I have people always asking me for more of it, but I am in a generous mood today so here it is:

            Dani's Sassy Seasoning

            1/2 cup Lawry's seasoned salt
            1/4 cup black pepper
            2 tbls garlic powder (not garlic salt)
            2 tbsp onion powder (not the powdery kind though)
            1 tblsp Texas style chili powder
            1 tbsp oregano (grind in palm of your hand to get small pieces)
            1 tsp cumin
            1 tsp lemon pepper
            1 tsp paprika
            1 tsp thyme (grind in palm of your hand to get small pieces)
            1 tsp rosemary (finely chopped or crunched up)
            1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

            This is good as a rub, or sprinkled on food. Not salty and not very hot, but very good. Worked on this blend for a long time before perfecting it. I just hated the cajun seasonings that were out there - too salty!

            2 Replies
            1. re: danhole

              Dani, what is Texas-style chili powder? Is this a blend of pure chile powder with spices like cumin and oregano added? I live in AZ and have not heard of this. I'd like to make your blend but don't want to ruin a perfected recipe with the wrong ingredient. Thanks.

              1. re: rexsreine

                Rexsreine, Well they changed the labels on me, and I don't remember the exact brand I used to use, but I think Durkee still has "Texas Style" on the label. Just look at the ingredients. It should have more than just ground chili powder in it, such as garlic, cumin and other things. The last time I bought it it was Adams but it says chili powder, garlic and other spices! That is the clue - multiple spices!

            2. If you think using Tony's is lazy, then how do you justify using Emeril's or any prepared blend? I tried making my own years ago but without some kind of anti-caking agents, they gunked up and had to be made fresh so frequently, that I just began making them from scratch when I cooked.

              Why use dried garlic or garlic salt when you can use fresh garlic? Or onion powder? Ick! I can dry my own fresh chilis or buy good quality ones and grind them when I need them, get much better quality spices from a good supplier than any blend is likely to include, vary the mix to suit the recipe, and make the mix fresh when I use it. And there is nothing as bad as dried or artificial lemon flavor.

              I'll admit that Tony Chachere is lazy but for a quick shake on a pork chop on Tuesday night, I'll live with it.
              When I make any serious effort at all, I start from scratch and that includes quality fresh herbs and spices. Just like my Louisiana ancestors used.
              No need to be "existential" or "alone on the beach" about it. Just go back to your roots.

              15 Replies
              1. re: MakingSense

                Tony C's is awesome on corn on the cob.


                1. re: Davwud

                  Tony's just nails that Louisiana flavor!!! It's just hard for me to use as a table sprinkle because of the salt. Too much for my taste, I'm afraid.
                  I make a compound butter though to use for stuff like corn on the cob and some veggies and that worked really, really well. Cuts the salt down to manageable for me and still gives it all that great zip.
                  I pick up Tony's in one pound canisters every time I'm home in LA.

                2. re: MakingSense

                  I personally don't think using Tony's is lazy, it's just too salty for my palate (and BP!) That's what led me to start experimenting with different blends of my own. Believe me fresh is always the best, as in garlic and onion especially.

                  1. re: danhole

                    I found TC too salty for my taste too. So I started to use it up as seasoned salt and I found that I loved it. Anywhere I'd put salt, I'd use it. Sometimes great, sometimes not so much.


                    1. re: danhole

                      The reason I call it lazy is because so many local NOLA and other Louisiana cooks have started using it instead of adding the herbs and spices that they formerly used - the ones that have been used for generations, that they learned from their Mamas and Grandmothers. Not to mention their fathers and grandfathers, because men cook in Louisiana, too.
                      All of the different Creole and Cajun specialties varied in the balances of herbs and spices, and sometimes something might have been left out altogether by choice or custom. Now, many cooks just throw in the Tony's and some of the old ways are being lost.
                      Will the next generation of cooks even know the traditional way? Will people forget the old flavors?
                      In grocery stores in NOLA, you can even buy the Trinity already chopped up, fresh, in plastic containers, in the produce sections. All the same mince, of the vendor's choosing. A great convenience but is something being lost?
                      This is what I mean by lazy. When these habits take root, regional traditions can be swept away in a generation. Louisiana has something too valuable to lose.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        I see your point and that is a darn shame! Every time I see all the chopped onion, celery, etc in the stores produce section or in the freezer section, I think how convenient does it have to be? I mean, after all, if you are making a stuffing, or soup, is it that hard to mince onions? Unless you are physically challenged, such as bad arthritis or carpal tunnel, come on! I blame it on the microwave generation. When my first daughter was born in 1978, I didn't have a microwave, so I warmed her food on the stove and had to plan it out. Nowadays people get impatient if it takes more than 5 minutes to do anything in the kitchen. Hence all the spice blends, gravy mixes and Hamburger helper type things. I wonder how it will be 10 years down the road? And I refuse to buy the pre-seasoned chicken breasts they have in the store. You are right - we are losing a lot of traditions!

                        1. re: danhole

                          i found that to be true with my mom's relatives -- even the older one's --in the florida panhandle. using FROZEN or CANNED BISCUITS!!!!! I could scream!

                          1. re: danhole

                            I will agree that the passing of tradition in cooking is being lost as well as the family history that goes along with it.
                            I will also agree that people have such short attention spans that 1 minute in the microwave is too long. See Homer Simpson wondering if there's a faster way than the 30 seconds or so his food was in the microwave.

                            I tend wonder if we really need to worry if the "Art" of chopping celery, onion and bell pepper is really in any danger of being lost. I mean after all, it's chopping, not rocket building.
                            As a Louisianan you should be more concerned when you walk by and see premade roux and packaged roux powders. There's an art worth preserving.


                            PS, my southern in-laws use frozen biscuits all the time. They're elderly so I guess they get a pass.

                            1. re: Davwud

                              The store-bought premade rouxs and packaged dry rouxs make me shudder but many cooks in Louisiana have always made their own versions of these. Nothing worse than having a bleeding, crying child run into the kitchen when your roux is almost to the right color. The make-ahead versions are great! I made a new batch of dry dark roux this week. It will save me untold hours over the next months. I can always do them from scratch when I want but this is a life saver when time is at a premium.

                              You lose a lot of nuance in your cooking when every dish, every time, has every vegetable chopped exactly the same. Boring. It's an easy habit to get in into as a cook, and far too easy to accept for people grabbing their meals in a busy life, not taking the time to savor their food traditions.

                              1. re: MakingSense

                                I find it odd that TV cooking shows preach that you chop your vegetables in uniform pieces so they all cook evenly. I like that some of the onion will melt into the back ground and once in a while, you'll get a bite of onion. Same with celery. Or every once in a while you get a piece of green pepper with some crunch still left in it. It makes for a better dish.


                                1. re: Davwud

                                  Agreed. I'll often do the veggies in different shapes mirroring their natural form. Slicing the celery and mushroom, dicing the onion or doing long vertical or horizontal strips of it or peppers. If I add carrots, it's often a brunoise since they're just riding along to add sweetness anyway. It makes the dish more visually interesting as well as giving it more texture in the mouth. It's easy to pull some out to add back in later during cooking so that they have more crunch or a different texture.
                                  A friend of ours sautéed onions, etc., when she began making red bean and then used only a third at the beginning, another third a bit later, and then the last third near the end. She served them with raw, sweet onion at the table. Fabulous beans!

                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                    I like the idea of the onion at the table to use as a condiment. I think I'll have to give that a try next time I make RB&R


                              2. re: Davwud

                                You know, it's not the "art" of chopping, it's the fact that it just isn't as good/fresh as doing it yourself. I was in a real time crunch one time, and instead of buying a stalk of celery, I bought a container of celery already cut up. YUK! It had a date on it and it was recent, but it sure was different. I will never scrimp on time again. Ended up tossing most of it.

                                The elderly do get a break on these things, though!

                                1. re: danhole

                                  When my parents got into their mid-seventies and beyond, I was thrilled that they still cooked. I wasn't about to fuss that Mama would use that pre-chopped Trinity or jars of pre-minced garlic, Tony C's or store-bought biscuits.
                                  We would buy loaves of Leidenheimer's French bread, cut it into serving sizes and freeze it, so that Daddy could have his bread every morning. Not as good as fresh but toasted in the oven, it was better than crappy stuff.
                                  They ate well until they died well into their eighties. Daddy's last meal was boiled crabs. Not bad, huh?

                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                    lovely story about not forgetting common sense. Thank you for sharing it!

                      2. Just like to add that the spice blend recipes in Emeral's and Paul Prudhomme's books are all excellent except that they contain way too much salt. Use the published recipes but cut down on the salt, I use about 25% of what is called for in the recipe.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sel

                          ironic with a name like yours, sel! ;-D

                        2. Emeril disclosed his own recipe for "Ceole Seasoning" in Julia Childs' "Cooking with Master Chefs". Here it is, slightly emended so as not to violate copyright restrictions:
                          2 Tb kosher salt
                          2 1/2 Tb Sweet paprika
                          2 Tb garlic powder
                          1 Tb oregano
                          1 1/4 Tb cayenne
                          1 Tb freshly ground black pepper
                          1 Tb onion powder
                          I Tb thyme
                          It keeps for months and has quite a kick to it. I will cut down the cayenne at times if I am serving to spice sensitive people.