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Let's talk Poultry seasoning

Many moons ago, I bought a jar of poultry seasoning at a home spice party. It was fresh, lovely, and predominantly GREEN. Seeing a vendor at a fair, I bought some more, this time it was RED. The sales gal told me it had always been that colour. I really loved the first blend, the second is more like a pork spice rub.

Normally I don't buy pre-mixed seasonings, I blend as I go at home using the basics. I was hoping that you, my Chowser brethren, could tell me if you like poultry seasoning, what you use it for, and perhaps share your secret home blends.

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  1. My mom always used Bell's Poultry seasoning. After reading the ingredients on the label, I came up with this recipe I use all the time when a recipe requires poultry seasoning. I usually buy my spices from Penzey's.

    Copycat Bell's Poultry Seasoning

    4 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
    4 tsp dried oregano
    3 3/4 tsp dried sage
    3 1/2 tsp ground dried ginger
    3 tsp dried marjoram
    2 3/4 tsp dried thyme
    3/4 tsp ground black pepper

    Mix together and grind to fine powder in a coffee or spice grinder.

    Makes about 1/2-cup.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Antilope

      Antilope, I'm with you (except for the dried ginger, plus I add salt). We always used Bell's for our Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing and then one Thanksgiving morning I thought what was a full package turned out to be empty, so I had to think quick. Found a copycat Bell's recipe online and have been making that ever since.

    2. I use Bell's in the family's traditional cornbread dressing, handed down from my grandfather's mother. It's pretty basic- most of the recipe is for the cornbread- but it's super tasty.

      Cornbread Stuffing (from Mother Berst)
      Fry 2 or 3 onions in ¼ lb butter. Break up one recipe (below) of cornbread (or a couple pieces less) in it and add some chopped celery, salt, pepper and 2 Tb poultry seasoning. Moisten with water or broth until it sticks together.

      For the Cornbread:
      1c. corn meal
      1c. flour, sifted
      ¼ c. sugar
      4 t baking powder
      ½ t salt
      1 egg
      1c. milk
      ¼ c. lard or soft shortening
      Sift together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add egg, milk & shortening.
      Beat until smooth (about 1 minute with rotary beater) and pour into well-greased pan (8 in square) or 12 medium muffin tins. Bake in preheated 425° oven, 15-20 minutes.
      (alternate version: Use honey instead of sugar, salad oil instead of shortening, reduce milk to 3/4 cup & bake at 400°.)

      BTW, the recipe I have on file for homemade poultry seasoning is identical to the one posted above and probably is from an earlier post by the same person. (Thanks, Antilope!)

      1. A few good dry rubs for chicken, drawn from various sources on the Web over the years...

        simplest dry rub for chicken: Kosher salt & smoked paprika
        another simple one: smoked paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder
        This is a killer rub on shrimp, steaks, chicken, even grilled veggies. It is so easy:
        1 part brown sugar 1 part kosher salt then add as much as you want of Chipotle chile powder. The more you add the hotter it gets. Nice sweet salty smokey flavor
        Here's another which is made from standard pantry items. Can use it on everything from pork ribs or tenderloin to flank steak to chicken to fish. (Use a heavier hand with hearty fattier proteins and a lighter hand for delicate things like fish)
        4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
        2 tablespoons kosher salt
        2 tablespoons paprika
        2 tablespoons chili powder
        1 teaspoon cayenne or crushed red pepper
        1 tablespoon black pepper
        1 tablespoon finely ground coffee
        Grandma's Secret Spice Rub
        Great on chicken or porkchops.
        to make enough for 5 chicken breasts youll need about 3 tablespoons of dried onion, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, 3 tablespoons papirika, and 1 tsp msg
        yet another one:
        Dry Rub For Chicken
        1 cup light brown sugar
        1 Tb paprika
        1 Tb ground thyme
        1 Tb garlic powder
        1 Tb onion powder
        1 Tb cumin
        2 tsp cayenne (or more, to taste)
        generous pinch salt
        zest of 1 lemon
        Separate ½ of batch- mix with half a stick of room temperature butter and rub under skin of chicken. Rub the remander on outside of chicken.
        For best results chicken should marinate overnight in water with salt, lemon juice and sugar.
        Smoked paprika dry rub
        By Judy Walker
        You can experiment with this rub, adding more or less of the suggested ingredient amounts, but this one tasted fine for me When preparing chicken, pork chops or whatever, I brush (or toss) the meat with olive or vegetable oil, then rub the seasoning mix, according to taste, all over the meat. Then, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit for 2 hours or more before grilling.

        Makes about ¾ cup

        ¼ cup smoked paprika
        3 tablespoons coarse salt
        1 tablespoon garlic powder
        1 tablespoon onion powder
        3 tablespoon light brown sugar
        1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
        1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
        Combine all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
        Pitmaster Petes Chicken Rub

        2 cups dark brown sugar
        1 cup sugar in the raw
        1 cup kosher salt
        1/2 cup paprika
        1/8 cup black pepper
        1/8 cup white pepper
        1/4 onion powder
        1/4 garlic powder
        4 teaspoons cayenne powder
        4 teaspoons celery seed
        4 teaspoons ancho chili powder

        Add all ingredients together and mix well, making sure there are no clumps. Store in air-tight container.
        Cajun Dry Spice Rub

        1/2 c. salt
        3 tbsp. black pepper
        3 tbsp. ground fennel seed
        1 tbsp. ground cumin
        1 tsp. cinnamon
        3 tbsp. chili powder
        2 tbsp. oregano
        1 tbsp. sugar
        Bobby Flay's Sixteen Spice Dry Rub
        # 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
        # 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
        # 1 tablespoon pasilla chili powder
        # 1 tablespoon ground cumin
        # 1 tablespoon ground coriander
        # 1 teaspoon garlic powder
        # 1 teaspoon onion powder
        # 1 teaspoon ground ginger
        # 1 teaspoon ground cloves
        # 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
        # 1 teaspoon ground allspice
        # 1 teaspoon chili de arbol powder
        # 2 tablespoons brown sugar
        # 1 tablespoon kosher salt
        # 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
        # 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

        1 Reply
        1. re: eclecticsynergy

          Ooooooooo! I'm definitely trying some of these!
          I have to admit that for regular roast chicken or turkey I just use garlic powder and salt and pepper rubbed in with oil and summer savoury for the dressing, much better than sage. I always have people ask me why my dressing is so much better than theirs and they are shocked at the simplicity and the difference that one ingredient makes. My mom is a fabulous cook and taught me that food is often best when it's simple and the flavour of the food is allowed to shine.

        2. I also like poultry seasoning. I use a teaspoon of it in my meatloaf, and get many compliments on it. As well if you like chicken pot pie you can add a teaspoon into your sauce, it is reminiscent of a turkey dinner.
          I have never seen red poultry seasoning. If you like your first blend, you might look for Bell's seasoning. Martha Stewart uses it in her turkey dinners. It is a lovely blend.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ruthie789

            I've probably bought less than five jars of poultry seasoning in my entire life; which is why I wondered if it was just me or if the spice was supposed to be red. I'll look for Bell's or make the substitute myself--tx

          2. It sounds like what you got is more of a dry rub meant for poultry for grilling, rather than the traditional poultry seasoning used in stuffings, etc.

            1. I made a low carb chicken soup over the weekend. Browned onion and carrot and celery w/butter and poultry seasoning. Schilling I think. BTW, the low carb trick is to shave cauliflower and microwave it, making "rice". It was/is very good.

              1 Reply
              1. I am guessing that one seasoning was predominantly sage, and the other, paprika?
                While I don't have poultry seasoning at home (I tend to do S&P and lemon in the cavity), I do have a couple of go-to shakers of pre-blended seasoning at home, both purchased on the cheap.

                First is Adobo Con Pimiento (or, with pepper) that I got in the Caribbean foods aisle of the chain grocer near me. The Adobo has salt, garlic, oregano, Black Pepper, and turmeric, and I use it to season eggs, soup, a ton of stuff. I got a sizeable shaker for 1.29. Different blends, such as low salt, with lemon, without pepper, etc, are available.

                Second is a blend of spices I got at the dollar store...a big shaker of something called "Memphis BBQ spice". It contains paprika, allspice, sugar, celery salt, onion powder, dry mustard and thyme, and leans toward sweet rather than straight on savory. I like this in stews, on pork, etc.

                I also have a full array of dried herbs and spices, plus the mint, basil, chives and other stuff in my garden. I love playing with seasoning.

                1. We use poultry seasoning in stuffing for poultry or pork, and when making chicken or turkey broth -- typically the McCormick brand product.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: masha

                    yeah I like to use McCormick when I'm not at the bulk food store. They are pricey but the quality is always good and the small bottle has less air to oxidize the spice flavours over time.

                  2. If you do a search for "Bell's Poultry Seasoning clone" or "Bell's Poultry Seasoning copycat"
                    You get a whole lot of hits
                    Most look very similar to "Antilope"'s post except the rosemary is much reduced.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: chefj

                      thanks---I will likely blend my own---depending on how many of my summer herb potted plants survive it into the fall when I have time to dry them. ;-)

                      1. re: applgrl

                        dry em now. Do not powder till later.

                        1. re: chefj

                          alas the apple trees need me more than the herb garden. My 3 yr old rosemary bush suddenly died last winter so the new one needs a few more weeks of sunshine under her belt.

                    2. Really, I think these are usually thyme/rosemary/sage blends with a little celery seed thrown in. SO easy to invent your own. Maybe add a bit of lemon zest?

                      1. I do like poultry seasoning (the green kind), for a few specific things. I use it at Thanksgiving in dressing/stuffing because that combination -- celery, onion, turkey giblet stock, poultry seasoning, S&P -- is the nostalgic Turkey-day flavor of my childhood. I also use it in homemade pork breakfast sausage and think it adds the perfect balance of herby flavor without being too sagey.

                        1. Well, like several others here, "Bell's" is a long-standing tradition for poultry stuffing.

                          For every other use involving poultry (& sometimes other things) my commercial seasoning of choice is "McCormack’s Monterey Grill Seasoning for Chicken". Flavorful & - best of all - not overly salty. I use it so often that I buy it in a large container from Costco.

                          1. It's really the secret ingredient in making a white b'fast sausage gravy, IMO. That and a bay leaf. Does wonders.

                            1. I've used Bell's a few times and it's OK, but lately I've been seasoning roast chicken with just tarragon, salt and pepper. For turkey, I've been using sage and thyme. Not exactly "blends", I know, but quite tasty.

                              What was the brand of the green seasoning mix that you liked?

                              1. For poultry, I like summer savory better than sage or other herbs. I'm always using fresh onion and celery in the stuffing so I don't need to add them in powdered form.

                                1. Poultry seasoning is pretty much the only spice mix that I use. I like the grocery store brands better than the fancy ones for this. I usually buy spices at ethnic stores and Penzey's, but poultry seasoning needs to be the classic grocery store one for me! Ingredients: THYME, SAGE, MARJORAM, ROSEMARY, BLACK PEPPER, AND NUTMEG. I will usually add more sage, however.

                                  EDIT: I use it ONLY in stuffing...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: sandylc

                                    Same here: When making stuffing, we add more sage along with the poultry seasoning. Also when making chicken or turkey broth.
                                    Only other spice mix that I use is Herbes de Provence, which I use far more extensively than poultry seasoning.

                                  2. P.S. My cousins family lays 2 strips of bacon across the top and lets the bacon baste the chicken. They swear by this and love the crispy bacon extras it produces.

                                    1. I discovered Poultry Seasoning while web surfing for venison recipes. I love poultry seasoning now on pork, venison, turkey cutlets, stuffing and of course chicken. I usually combine with garlic, s&p, thyme and sometimes basil or rosemary. I feel the poultry seasoning picks taste up. I use a lot.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: kburnsnp

                                        I rarely use ready-made mixes, either, but I do use poultry seasoning in an odd way: add to lentils. Really picks up the flavors well.