I recently purchased a BBQ coffee spice rub from Trader Joe's that many of you may be familiar with as well. It's delicious, but, sadly, it's not organic.
Most of the spices at Trader Joe's aren't organic.
And while I'm not against using non-organic spices now and then, I typically seek out better quality spices to be in my regular rotation and stocked in my pantry.
Many of you have made blends from my first book, Practical Paleo, over the last several years and have enjoyed them so much that I figured I'd go ahead and work on re-creating this delicious rub in an organic, easy-to-find-ingredients combination.
For reference, since I know many of you like to know the whys behind things I recommend, my take on organic spices vs conventional is as follows…
Some of the major health benefits of spices are found in their phytonutrient value – which is quite intangible, but valuable nonetheless. While vitamin content of these spices may diminish over time, phytonutrient levels are likely diminished in non-organic spices when they are irradiated, as most are.
Additionally, anyone struggle with autoimmune conditions, health challenges in general, or toxicity or poor detox issues will greatly benefit from reducing toxic burden anywhere possible, including your spice cabinet.
I'm certainly no alarmist, nor am I here to scare anyone into believing that non-organic spices are harming them. The truth is, at this point in time, organic is pretty much the best we can do next to growing our own or sourcing extremely locally.
I think it's a good idea to minimize our toxic exposure whenever possible, get the freshest spices possible (for the best taste!), and blend our own to avoid any potential anti-caking agents used as well as to learn something about how spices pair and create awesome flavors.
Plus, spice blend projects and labeling cute jars for them super fun to do… or is that just me?
Our taste test verdict?
We tested this spice rub on skirt steak and it was remarkably similar. I think the Trader Joe's version was sweeter (notes on this in the recipe), and our coffee may have been stronger since it was ground immediately before making the blend, so it was a bit stronger.
All in all, I'd say this is an extremely spot-on copycat of the Trader Joe's BBQ Rub & Seasoning with Coffee & Garlic that you can make organic at home!
Smoky Coffee BBQ Spice Rub (Trader Joe's copycat, made organic!)
yield: 1/2 cup of seasoning mix
- 2 tablespoons ground organic coffee
- 2 tablespoons organic turbinado or other large granulated sugar*^
- 1 tablespoon organic smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 2 teaspoons organic granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons organic onion flakes
- 2 teaspoons organic paprika
- 1-2 teaspoons organic orange peel (use 1 if pre-dried, 2 if fresh)
ingredient notes & swaps:
coffee – use decaf if you're sensitive to caffeine
garlic – if you can find roasted garlic flakes and/or just garlic flakes, use them
onion – use flakes if you can find them, otherwise use granulated
sugar – I believe my version is lower in sugar than the original TJs version judging partly by sight and partly by taste. To make it closer to the TJs, you may want to use 3 tablespoons of the sugar and/or a dark type of sugar (they use brown) in the mix. I think organic maple sugar would be amazing in this mixture
orange peel – to be more precise, use clementine peel if you can find clementines
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and store in an air-tight container/glass jar for up to six months.
What to put it on:
This rub is amazing on beef, pork, and chicken! Apply it generously and allow it to flavor the meat for at least 15 minutes before grilling, baking, or broiling.
*To enjoy this recipe while on the 21-Day Sugar Detox, omit the sugar.
Note: I earn a small commission if you use the links in this post to purchase the products mentioned. I only recommend products I would use myself or that I recommend for clients in my practice or at workshops. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you real information about nutrition and health.