Traditional recipes

Unrefined Salts Make for Flavorful Rubs

Unrefined Salts Make for Flavorful Rubs

When cultivating salt appreciation, it helps to broaden your perspective of this timeless and most basic kitchen ingredient.

When cultivating salt appreciation, it helps to broaden your perspective of this timeless and most basic kitchen ingredient. For S.A.L.T. Sisters founder Charmane Skillen, “Salt is not a condiment but the world's most important ingredient”.

Skillen isn’t talking about the familiar mass produced table salt stuffed into shakers. This salt is refined…minerals extracted, crystals bleached leaving trace chemicals behind, and iodine combined with an anti-caking powder.

Contrast this with unrefined S.A.L.T. Sisters sea salt that's simply sun or kiln dried. The resulting taste is noticeably more distinct & delicate reflecting its trace origins like organic Nature et Progres certified Fleur de Sel and Sel Gris sea salts and natural slow-smoked Chardonnay Fumee' de Sel, Durango Hickory, Salish Northwest Red Adlerwood, and Yamika Applewood. Here's the best part, since it's in its natural mineral-packed state, our bodies can more effectively break down and metabolize it.

Charmane’s passion for this basic yet flavorfully infinitesimal ingredient is inextricably tied to her strong family ties which just happened to inspire her company name. S.A.L.T Sisters represents an acronym for the first names of her four daughters: Sydney, Alexis, Lauren and Taylor. How's that for naming prowess?

Starting out by selling her unprocessed and unrefined sea salt at regional farmers markets in Goshen, Indiana, Charmane quickly expanded into seasoning rubs and natural herb blends as well as organic cane sugars and vanilla infusion kits. I tried out her rubs like Herbs de Provence and Flaming Fowl which incorporate top quality spices with these unrefined salts.

Beyond a salt epiphany, your palate will certainly never be fooled by second-rate seasonings again!

Coverage made possible by participating in a sponsored tasting.

How To Make Your Own Salt Scrub

Whether you're just trying to have a relaxing staycation or want to prepare your winter skin for summer sun, making your own salt scrub is a great, inexpensive way to get a spa-like treatment at home. With this easy salt scrub recipe, you can exfoliate your skin at home instead of paying $90 or more for a salt glow at the spa.

Even better is that while most store- and spa-bought salt scrubs can cost upward of $30 per jar, this simple homemade recipe is just as easy to get at a fraction of the price. Salt scrubs are one of the easiest home spa products to make, and they even make a great gift if you put it in a pretty jar.

Once you've followed this simple recipe, you can use the salt scrub to gently massage away dead and damaged skin that hasn't had a chance to refresh from the harsher winter and spring weather. With this at-home guide, you can wear your short skirts or beach bikini without fear of unsightly dry skin.

If you’ve ever enjoyed true Memphis barbecue at world famous joints like Paynes, Cozy Corner, Rendezvous, or the Bar-B-Q Shop then you know that the “go-to” dish is Memphis dry rub ribs. Unlike BBQ ribs in other parts of the country that are slathered in sauce, Memphis pitmasters dress ribs with nothing more than a flavorful spice blend that lets the perfectly smoked meat shine through. Or as the rack of ribs once said to Elvis Presley: Rub Me Tender, Rub Me True! (click here to share this pearl of wisdom!) .

But while there are scores of commercial BBQ rubs on the market, this Memphis dust bbq dry rub recipe is the only Memphis rib rub for smoking that you’ll ever need! The best part about this Memphis rub is the fact that it’s not only extremely easy to make but you can add or subtract ingredients in order to suit your own taste. In Memphis they season the meat with the BBQ seasoning before smoking then apply a second light coating just before serving.

So why do barbecue rubs make smoked meats so flavorful? There is a reaction between the rub and the surface that helps form a nice crust, called bark. This great all purpose pork rub recipe is carefully formulated to add flavor, color, and a proper crust to the meat after it is done cooking low-and-slow. It’s so good that several competition teams use it.

And when you are asked “What’s your secret?”, you can answer as the pros do, by saying “It’s my rub, man.” Of course if you like your pork “wet” (with sauce), seasoning the meat well with the BBQ dry rub before cooking then lightly brushing with sauce during the last few minutes of the smoking process is the way to get it done.

Since there is no salt in this BBQ dry rub recipe, salting the meat first (click here to read why rubs should not have salt) is a must. Salt will penetrate deep into meat so you should get it on in advance, perhaps overnight. The general rule of thumb is 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt per pound of meat (don’t include bone, and ribs are about half bone).

Some put a rub right on the meat and then massage it in. Others lay down a mustard base first to act like glue, others make a wet rub by mixing it with water, oil, or booze. I just get the meat wet with water by wetting my hands and patting the meat and then I sprinkle the BBQ dry rub seasoning on top.

After using it on my Last Meal Ribs and my Perfect Pulled Pork, try it on salmon, raw celery stuffed with cream cheese, on the rim of Bloody Mary’s, and even popcorn.

Reading my article on the Science of Rubs is great background for this recipe

Middle Eastern Rub

This mix from chef Troy Guard of Denver&rsquos TAG restaurant brings Middle Eastern flavor to the table with ground sumac, a tangy spice you can buy on Amazon or at a specialty spice store like Penzy&rsquos.

  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground sumac
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic granulated
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp sugar

Unrefined Salts Make for Flavorful Rubs - Recipes

Someone once told me that in a cooking class and I have found it to be quite true. That's why one of the last things a chef does is taste and adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. We take advantage of this at competitions, adding a little smoke, salt, and/or heat at the very end of cooking.

Salt brings out and enhances the natural flavors of food. Finishing salts are a great way to do that and add a dramatic flare to your meals. A small sprinkle of fleur de sel wakes up the taste of your food. But a flavored finishing salt does even more by building on top of the flavor profile of your dish.

Adam Perry Lang has several recipes for gourmet finishing salts in his most recent book, Charred and Scruffed. His process is different than just seasoning salt with some dry herbs and spices. The liquid dries onto the salt as it re-crystalizes in the dehydrator imparting intense tastes.

Collection of finishing salts, L to R: Lime-Coriander, Worcestershire-Shallot, Lemon-Bourbon-Honey, and St. Augustine Beach Sand.

The salt needs to be as coarse as you can find. We have had good success with Alessi coarse sea salt that we can get locally. One of these containers will get you 2 batches. We sift ours through a sieve for the fine salt and keep what doesn't go through for a coarse batch. Fine salt works better as a finishing salt but I liked to have the coarse on hand too.

We use this Nesco dehydrator which we bought a year or two ago. We've been happy with it. It works well, operates quietly, and cleans up easily. If you don't have one, APL says you can also use the lowest setting on a convection oven with the door propped open.

Lime Coriander Salt
This is one of APL's recipes. Add 1/3 cup fresh lime juice and 1 tablespoon each of lime zest, coriander, and a crumbled dried red chile. Mix together with your cup of salt, spread it out, dry it out, and grind up. (Note: He puts the chile in after grinding, I like it ground up in there.)

This one would go good on grilled seafood, chicken, and anything Tex-Mex. APL says it's also good on pork, specifically pulled pork.

Worcestershire and Shallot Salt

Worcestershire and Shallot Salt
Add 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce and 1 1/2 tablespoons dried shallot to 1 cup of coarse salt. Spread it out, dry it out, and grind it up. Add 1 tablespoon of fresh ground black pepper and dry for 2 more hours. We bought this package of dried shallots on Amazon and have used it in rubs and sauces but you could use 1 tablespoon of dried onions instead.

This one obviously goes well with beef. Sprinkle the fine salt on sliced steaks, roasts, or ribs. I want to try the coarse ground salt on a brisket as a dry brine.

Lemon Bourbon Honey Salt

Lemon Bourbon Honey Salt
How can you go wrong with those ingredients? One cup of coarse sea salt, zest of one lemon, 1/4 cup honey, 3 tablespoons bourbon, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Spread it out and dry in a dehydrator at 105°f for 10-12 hours. Grind it up and put back into the dehydrator until dry and no longer sticky, about 8 more hours for us.

Tip: Most honey you can buy in the stores is either adulterated with corn syrup and other sweeteners or not honey at all (Tests Show Most Honey Isn't Honey). Find a local supplier - we buy ours from beekeeper and pitmaster, Ken Hess.

This has a bright, slightly sweet and subtlety smoky flavor that is perfect for BBQ.

St. Augustine Beach Sand
One cup very coarse sea salt, 1-2 habanero chile (seeded and diced), zest from 1 lime, 1/4 cup lime juice, and 1-2 ounces of silver tequila. Spread it out and dry in a dehydrator at 105°f for 10-12 hours. Grind it up and put back into the dehydrator until dry, about 2 hours.

This is great for grilled chicken, seafood, and anything TexMex. It has a citrus kick, surprisingly mild heat, and the tequila flavor is in the background. It has a tropical flare to it but it got it's name when Alexis saw it spread out on a plate and declared it looked like beach sand. The name stuck.

The Gulf Coast of Florida has squeaky white sand but where I grew up in NE Florida, sand is full of small pieces of broken shells and it looks like this salt.

I used one habanero but should have gone with two because it was relatively mild in heat.

St Augustine Beach Sand before grinding. Notice this is on parchment paper so it doesn't fall through the dehydrator trays. It worked but the salt stuck to some of the parchment. It was easier using plates instead.

Sifting the salt. You could simply throw the coarse parts back into the grinder to process again. But I wanted to coarse salt too.

St Augustine Beach Sand after grinding.
Someone asked me about the salt shakers we use for dry rubs. They are just Ball "jelly jar" sized jars with the Ball flip top shaker lid. We get ours at Target but you can also buy them online. These are great if you make a lot of your own rubs.

Finishing Salt Put To Use
I couldn't wait to try the Lemon Honey Bourbon salt on a rack of ribs. At competitions, some pitmasters hit the sauced ribs with a little fine salt to bring out the flavors. I hoped the lemon would brighten the flavor, the honey enhance the sweetness, and the bourbon bring out the smokiness.

4 DIY Infused Salt Recipes for the Holidays

Adding infused sea salts to your cooking is a great way to add both complexity and depth to any recipe. The good news is you don&apost have to spend a fortune on specialty salts—they’reꃪsy to makeਊnd can be infused with a variety of flavors.

I love experimenting with different combinations of herbs, fruits, wines, and spices. While I primarily use these as finishing salts, sprinkled on juicy tomatoes or topped on my favorite cookies, they are also great for meats, soups, sauces, vegetables, and desserts. Or try rimming your cocktail glass to add a unique twist to your favorite drink.

In addition to using them in your own kitchen, these salts also make a creative hostess or housewarming gift. I especially love making large batches of different flavors to have on hand for the holiday season.

When creating these infused salts, it&aposs best to use a coarse or flaky salt. Here areਏour of my favorite recipes.

I adore this infused flaky sea salt heavily rubbed on white fish.

½ cup flaky sea salt
2 tablespoons lemon zest
4 figs, stemmed and sliced

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, add sea salt and lemon zest. Mix together with a spoon, pressing on the zest with the back of the spoon to release the citrus oils. Add the sliced figs and combine together. Spread mixture across prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool, toss together, remove the figs, and transfer to an airtight jar. Store for up to 2 months. If using within the week, you can keep the figs in the salt and store in the refrigerator.

Best sprinkled over vanilla ice cream and served with something chocolaty.

½ cup flaky sea salt
½ cup your favorite Pinot Noir

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, add sea salt and wine. Mix together. Spread mixture across prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the salt is dry and the liquid has evaporated about 95 to 100 percent. (The mixture will look very wet going into the oven but will mostly absorb and dry.) Allow to cool, toss together, and transfer to an airtight jar. Store for up to 2 months.

Rub onto a whole chicken and roast until crisp. Or make a grapefruit margarita and rim your cocktail glass.

½ cup flaky sea salt
2 tablespoons grapefruit zest
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, add sea salt and grapefruit zest. Mix together with a spoon, pressing on the salt and zest with the back of the spoon, releasing the citrus oils. Add the rosemary and combine together. Spread mixture across prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool, toss together, and transfer to an airtight jar. Store for up to 2 months.

Best served with lamb or added to soups to brighten the flavor.

½ cup flaky sea salt
¼ cup chopped Greek olives

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, add sea salt and olives. Mix together, then spread across prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool, toss together, and remove olives. Transfer to an airtight jar and store for up to 2 months. If using within the next 2 weeks, leave the olives in the salt and keep in the refrigerator.

Homemade Flavored Salts

HoHoHo! It’s the holidays and if you’re a friend of mine expect food gifts. I don’t care if you hate to eat, I’m still spending countless hours in the kitchen to make something gorgeously delicious to show you how much I love you. If you’re on my naughty list, you get plain old cookies but if you on the nice list I’ll dive a little deeper into my arsenal and pull out something like these beauties.

Flavored salts are my absolute favorite way to boost the flavor of a dish. I have all types of salts from all ends of the earth but these homemade flavored ones are the most fun to use. Flavored/infused salts are really easy to make. Simply mix salt with whatever flavor you choose in a food processor or by hand and let the mixture dry before packaging. Salt is a natural preserver, as long as your combination is dried completely before packaging they can be used indefinitely. Use on meats, poultry, vegetables, cheese, and even chocolate. Picture it, srirracha lime salt on French fries, wild mushroom salt on a buttered pasta, and herb citrus salt on chicken and fish — seriously awesome.

Like I said, they’re really simple to make and are perfect gifts. Here, I have three recipes that show different techniques reduction, dry, and wet. The flavor possibilities are endless, so be as creative as you’d like. Using a food processor is optimal but not necessary. I like to use a food processor because it cuts the flavors into the salt giving it a deeper flavor but you can still make a great salt without it. When you’re done, pour into a beautiful jar or tin to give to someone who deserves it — and make sure to keep some for yourself.

Type of salt to use

Coarse salt, like coarse sea salt, kosher, and Maldon are preferred.

Reduction method This is a technique using liquid and reducing it to a syrup, making the flavors more intense and increase the viscosity so the salt will not dissolve on contact.

Method: In a pot, bring 3 cups of liquid per cup of salt to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer until reduced to a syrup thick enough to coat a spoon. Once the reduction starts to thicken, keep an eye on it as it can go from thick to burnt quickly. The amount of time it takes to create the reduction will depend on the liquid used and the size of the pot, estimate 20 to 30 minutes. Immediately add salt and stir. Pour onto a baking sheet or a piece of parchment paper and allow to air dry for 2 days (or longer depending on the amount of humidity in the air), stirring frequently. You can also “heat dry” in the oven at 170°F or lower for 2 hours (or longer depending on the amount of humidity in the air) stirring frequently, about every 15 to 30 minutes. Once dry, store in an air-tight container.

Flavor ideas: red wine, bourbon,whisky, scotch

Recipe: Red Wine Sea Salt

Uses: grilled meats, lamb, steak, dark chocolate (just a little)

Combine the Ingredients

Stir the salts and baking soda together in a large mixing bowl.

Next, add the essential oils and coloring, if using. Use a spoon to incorporate the liquids into the salts, breaking up any clumps to ensure that the color and scent are evenly distributed.

When it comes to fragrance, play around. Lavender and orange is a great combination to start with because it's perfect for a long, relaxing soak in the tub, but feel free to choose different scents based on your personal preferences or their aromatherapy benefits. If you’re going to mix scents, smell both bottles simultaneously to make sure the combination is a good one.

If you’re using traditional food coloring, you’ll only need about five drops. (Soap coloring, which you’ll find at craft stores, will be less intense, so you’ll need closer to 15 drops.) It's best to start with a small amount of coloring and add more if needed.


Some essential oils should not be used by pregnant women or children. Be sure to read labels before using them.

Bottle Your DIY Bath Salts

You can buy special glass bottles for packaging your bath salts if you’re going formal or use mismatched mason jars for a more rustic feel. Both options can be found at craft, hardware, and dollar stores. Thrift stores are another great source for unique container options. Get creative and have fun with it—just make sure your bottle or container has a lid to keep your bath salts dry.

To dress these up as a gift, try wrapping some twine around the jar and adding a gift tag with a special note. If you're feeling especially crafty, put together a spa gift basket with your DIY bath salts and homemade soap, sugar scrub, or lotion.


Find inspiration for your next weeknight meal, dinner party, gourmet lunch, or brunch. At Olivelle, we strive to create recipes that are simple and delicious. By utilizing the flavorful, all natural oils, vinegars, and spices that we create at Olivelle, you will take ordinary food to extraordinary levels, wowing even the pickiest of eaters. Find your recipe inspiration today!

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Well, this isn't really a recipe, but one of the best steak rubs is a product you can buy at the store called "Grub Rub". I've used it on all cuts of steak and we love it. I especially like it because it makes a cheap sirloin taste like a MUCH more expensive cut of meat in my opinion. It's kinda pricey but well worth it to us. You can't get Grub Rub everywhere, but I think I have gotten it from Tom Thumb and Market Street before. Not sure about Kroger or Albertsons. I sprinkle it on one side of the steak, mush it into the meat a little with the back of a big spoon, turn it over and do the same to the other side, let the meat sit for 15 to 20 minutes at room temp and then grill. If I have the time, I'll put the meat in a zip lock and let it sit in the fridge for while longer, but it's not necessary.