Big BBQ Box
9 BBQ Spices
These 9 spices provide all the flavors you need to please any palate. With so many stewy, smoky flavors from Haiti, Nicaragua, Turkey, and the American Southwest, BBQ night will never be the same!
Tips for Success
- Clumping is normal as we don’t use anti caking agents or salt in our spice blends. If clumping occurs simply break apart with your hands before seasoning.
- Try not to pour spices out of the jar over a steaming pot or pan as the steam can get in the jar and cause further clumping.
- Grind whole spices just before cooking for maximum flavor.
- Ground spices can burn quickly so make sure to use oil to help distribute the heat more evenly when making a rub.
- Maras Chile Flakes
- Late Harvest Black Peppercorns
- Mombacho Café Nicaraguan Blend
- Ancient Halaby Middle Eastern Chile Blend
- California Love All Purpose Chile Blend
- California Minced Dried Onion
- Mama Manje Haitian Blend
- Sacred Valley Pink Peruvian Salt
- California Dried Garlic
Farmers in Kahramanmaraş, Turkey grow Maras peppers—also known as Aleppo across the border in Syria, where the civil war has destroyed production—in a fertile plain at the base of Ahir Mountain. Dubbed by the Wall Street Journal as the “Eartha Kitt of chiles” for its sultry heat and slow burn, Maras peppers are harvested in late summer, then sun-dried during the day, and wrapped in cloth at night to “sweat.” This unique regional method traps moisture, boosting the pepper’s trademark “wetness,” also enhanced by the cut size of the flakes, which plays a role in how much salt and oil they will hold. Naturally regenerative, a single Maras pepper seed grows into a plant that yields hundreds of peppers, and we hand-select each one after harvest.
Known as “black gold,” peppercorns are one of Vietnam’s largest exports. Berries are often picked green to prevent insects and birds from eating mature fruit, but ours are vine-ripened an extra two weeks under the careful watch of our farmers—a ruby-red hue signals peak fruity and floral notes, as well as a smooth, lingering heat. We source from farms in Quang Tri, where Roots of Peace trains villagers to replace live minefields—more bombs were dropped in this province than in WWI and WWII combined—with this flourishing crop.
In the dense cloud forest that hangs from Nicaragua’s Mombacho Volcano, coffee plants grow wildly, thriving in the cool mist. Back on the ground in the nearby city of Granada, cafes honor the hallowed crop with an impossibly smooth brew. In my memory, the tempting bouquet of coffee roast is entwined with the equally inviting aroma of zesty mojo-marinated pork sizzling on a streetside charcoal grill. Mombacho Café is a flashback in flavor form: A classic Latin American adobo seasoning—garlic, black pepper and oregano—blended with coffee and citrus peels for complexity that’s robust and slightly bitter. In its presence, dishes destined for caramelization—from roasted carrots to pork loin glazed with a reduction of apple cider and honey—are never the same again.
The sunkissed Aleppo pepper—also known was the halaby pepper—comes from my family’s native Syria. You’ll recognize the prized ingredient as the raisiny background of Ancient Halaby, which also combines other classic Middle Eastern spices like crimson-hued sumac, lemony and bright, plus the unmistakable earthiness of smoked paprika for a robust blend. As a 24-hour dry marinade for a roast leg of lamb, Ancient Halaby makes tantalizing shawarma to rival Lebanon’s legendary vertical spits. As a finishing spice for a traditional fattoush salad, it beams brightness and warmth onto the cool toss of crisp cucumbers, mint, scallions and parsley. And as a cocktail rimmer mixed with our crushed pink Peruvian salt sourced from the Andes, it gives a famous Baja-born libation—the margarita—blessings from age-old civilizations.
New Orleans gumbo and New Mexican posole were fixtures on the stove in my childhood home, perfuming the air with earthy cumin, sweet aromatics and freshly blistered chipotle or guajillo. These slow simmers were expressions of my father’s generosity—his ultimate satisfaction came from watching loved ones voraciously consume his creations. Whether my passion for cooking and sharing food comes from nature or nurture I may never know, but one thing’s for sure: These stewy, smoky flavors of the south and southwest—among our family’s favorite travel destinations—are inextricably linked to my West Coast upbringing. From popcorn dust to barbecue marinades to a smashing sofrito, California Love’s flavor notes rumble, but don’t tingle, despite the chiles—use it to add heartiness (and heart) to savory dishes.
Onions were one of the earliest cultivated crops in the United States, carried across the ocean by New World settlers who ran aground at Plymouth Rock. But wild varieties flourished and were harvested by Native Americans long before European contact. While California is the largest onion producer in the nation, our Spice Tribe harvest is more special. Our onions grow from heirloom seeds planted in the rich soil of the central San Joaquin Valley. Set in the center of the state, between the towering Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east and the rolling, foggy Coastal Range to the west, the valley boasts a Mediterranean climate and incredibly fertile soil. Here, you’ll find an impressive variety of crops: grapes, tomatoes, sugar beets, cherries, walnuts, carrots, melons–and onions. Onions love abundant sun and loose, well-drained soil, and there’s plenty of both in the San Joaquin Valley.
Once upon a time in Haiti, on a trip with Every Mother Counts, the non-profit making maternity safe for moms everywhere, I was welcomed into a bustling kitchen of joyful female cooks. Big pots were steaming on small propane burners, fires were crackling under makeshift grills and the air was fragrant with epís—a Caribbean seasoning base akin to South American salsa verde, and mashed with a mortar and pestle just the same. Adding to the aromatic symphony was the te jenjam, or fresh ginger tea with cinnamon and star anise, I was drinking—a warm offering from one of the cooks. Mama Manje is my way of rekindling that fragrant afternoon in Haiti: I’ve combined those warming tea spices with traditional epís ingredients like habanero, onions, thyme and garlic to create a punchy, fresh-ground dry blend that gives jerk chicken a strong kick, crab butter a tropical flair and Chinese Five Spice a run for its money.
A prehistoric ocean under the Sacred Valley of the Andes Mountains percolates to the surface via fresh water springs. The briny flow is then routed through intricate channels to more than 5,000 terraced ponds owned by hundreds of generational Incan families. When the ponds evaporate in the arid Andean climate, salt that’s particularly rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium is unveiled in a rosy spectrum. The Sacred Valley salt is then painstakingly hand-harvested, a loving contrast to the dynamite blast that’s typically used to shake pink salt loose from other mountainous mines halfway around the world.
Though the beaches of the California coast get most of the world’s attention, the sunny San Joaquin Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the United States. Set in the center of the state, between the towering Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east and the rolling, foggy Coastal Range to the west, the valley boasts a Mediterranean climate and incredibly fertile soil. Here, you’ll find an impressive variety of crops: grapes, tomatoes, sugar beets, cherries, walnuts, carrots, melons–and garlic. Garlic thrives in full sun and loose soil, and the valley provides prime growing conditions. Indeed, family farms in the region have been growing garlic from heirloom seeds for generations.
Are these spice blends salt free?
Yes! These blends are not only salt free but they are free of any preservatives, fillers or gluten. Please note our Marrakesh Sitar Blend has a touch of honey in it.
Can I buy spices for corporate gifts?
Yes you can. Please direct all corporate gifts related inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.