My BBQ spice mix: all the flavour, none of the sugar…

If you buy any barbecue spice mixes or rubs or seasonings, they will include a smoky element, maybe a spicy element, usually a lot of salt, and pretty much always a HUGE amount of sugar. That mix of flavours epitomises BBQ seasonings, and aids the caramelisation of whatever is being cooked with it. 

If you search up recipes to make your own, you will find a similar story. But by choosing to make your own, you can amend the recipe to suit your tastes and preferences. If I make a barbecue based sauce or marinade for my boys, I will typically use honey or maple syrup, and I use a lot less than recipes suggest…I’ve never made a barbecue spice rub because I just couldn’t get my head round all that sugar, until now…

If you have seen my previous two posts, for my chilli cause and my salsa, you will have seen that I used ground freeze dried pineapple as the sweetnener. It intrigued me whether this could be used in a spice mix in the same way, or would it just burn when cooked? Pineapple caramelises if you grill it, so what would the freeze dried version do?

Well, I’m here to tell you it works very well. So, I introduce MY BBQ spice mix…

The photo above shows the freeze dried pineapple as it comes, plus some that I’ve broken down, as well as the finished mix 

I have so far used this spice mix to flavour a dip (very nice!), I used it as a rub on chicken which I grilled for the boys (thumbs up from both), and today I used it to roast some cauliflower…

I cut the florets into halves and quarters, drizzled with a bit of olive oil, sprinkled with a couple of teaspoons of the spice mix and mixed it all well. I then roasted it at 200C (fan) until it was all nicely cooked and bit crunchy…

And served it on a bed of homous…

What looks like burnt bits isn’t, it didn’t taste burnt, merely crunchy and tasty. I think if I’d cooked it any longer, it would have taken it too far. 
But the fact is, it works! I’m so chuffed 🙂

This is what I mixed..

4 tbsp ground freeze dried pineapple (for my tastes, I could happily use only 2 tablespoons, so you need to experiment)

2 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground roasted cumin

1 tbsp Aleppo chilli flakes

1/2 tbsp ground black pepper

1-2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder 

1 tsp dried oregano 

I mixed it all and ground it to a fine mix, but you could keep it more textured if you wish. 

The mix stores well in a sealed glass jar. If it clumps together just break it up before you use it – any mix using garlic powder tends to clump as it’s quite moist. 

The mix of flavours is so good, it’s still not as sweet as store bought mixes would be, because that’s my choice, but you could play with that. Do keep in mind that the pineapple is very sweet, so you may not need as much as you think. 

So, success, I think? What do you reckon…?

I hope that everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday like my creation 🙂 this week, the lovely Petra and Ai are co hosting, pop over and have a visit…happy weekend!

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48 thoughts on “My BBQ spice mix: all the flavour, none of the sugar…

  1. sallybr

    Oh, I AM ALL OVER THIS ONE.. I hate that all barbecue concoctions have so much sugar! this is perfect, well, I would have to omit the pineapple powder, but you know, that gives me reason to use my pomegranate powder, although I would have to use less. That thing was expensive – I protect that bottle with full attention 😉

    Great job on the cauliflower, made me drool a little and I am not even hungry yet!

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Loretta

    You do know you are causing quite a stir in America with your ground freeze dried pineapple don’t ya? 🙂 You need to patent this and sell it. “Elaine’s sugar-free barbeque spice mix”

    Liked by 2 people

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  3. polianthus

    Hi Elaine, what a smart thing to do, very clever indeed, I love the idea. I have made BBQ baby back ribs in the past, using US American recipes, and, like you, I always baulked at all the sugar, in so many US American recipes there is sugar in everything from breads to salad dressings, it’s amazing, or should I say “it’s fantastic”.. I always omit the sugar, but for BBQ flavours you do need some, I think your idea is really smart. I will keep a lookout of FD Pineapple. thanks for the idea

    Liked by 2 people

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      1. polianthus

        seriously, sounds amazing, the price of freeze dried pineapple is quite high though – I checked – round here it’s an expensive ingredient, but as you said, you don’t need a lot

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ai @Ai made it for you

    Oh yummm!! Such a genius idea to add the freeze-dried pineapple and skip the sugar! I’ve recently started loving cauliflower after trying cauliflower buffalo wings. Now I’ve got to try some with your BBQ spice! Thanks for sharing! Happy Fiesta Friday!!🎉

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. petra08

    That’s it, I know I HAVE to find freeze dried pineapple now! I love to make my own spice rubs, they always taste better that store bought ones, and this looks delicious. The chilli here really makes it sound like it adds that extra zing, can’t wait for the summer! Cauliflower is such a gorgeous vegetable and it looks delectable with your bbq spice! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. FrugalHausfrau

    Elaine this is marvelous! Truly mind bending and I saw Angie say she found some of that dried pineapple at target! Some of my fave bbq sauces have a little pineapple juice in them, too – so you’ve really hit on something here!

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. Pingback: Spiced coconut chips.. | foodbod

  9. Indu

    Looks fabulous Elaine! You are absolutely right how making your own spice mixes is a good idea since you can cut down on the sugar and other unnecessary excipients. Homemade Bbq spice mix is a great thing to have!

    Liked by 1 person

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