Recently, I bought a tin of Lapsang Souchong for my husband to try. That my smokey flavor fan spouse loved it wasn't so astonishing. The depth and richness of the smokey flavor did surprise me, though. And of course the first place our conversation went when sipping that first cup was "this would make a fantastic food flavoring!"
At the time, I was thinking of making marinades or a flavorful sauce based on a very strongly brewed batch of tea. But then it occurred to me - why not make a dry rub? Tea leaves are edible, after all. It makes sense to use the most concentrated source of that wonderful smokey flavor.
So when a couple of woefully naked chicken breasts peered back at me from the cutting board last night, I went back to that tea rub idea.
Smokey Tea Dry Rub
3 T. Lapsang Souchong loose leaf tea
1 t. salt
1 t. sugar
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. black pepper
Grind together in a coffee or spice grinder to a fine powder. Rub liberally on chicken breasts 15 to 20 minutes before grilling. Store any remaining rub in an airtight container for up to three months.
The result was delightful. The chicken remained juicy and tender inside, while that deeply smokey, flavorful outside accompanied a fresh herb and potato salad beautifully.
This tea is going to take the place of liquid smoke in many of my favorite recipes.
If you want to try it but can't locate it near you, it can be ordered online. Use the Google machine. Then let me know what you think!