Memphis might be called the birthplace of the grilling and barbecue rub, in the same sense that it's the home of the blues and the home of rock 'n' roll. If the technique didn't originate there, its popularity did.
Legend credits one man and one restaurant: Charlie Vergos and the Rendezvous. Vergos was the son of Greek immigrants. His rub recipe evolved from traditional Greek seasonings his grandfather used to make chili and the Cajun cooking he discovered in Louisiana.
The Rendezvous recipe is by no means the only one in town, of course -- not when the city boasts 100 barbecue joints or more. This recipe is a round-up of the best of the local flavor.
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 2 T. packed brown sugar
- 1 T. onion powder
- 1 T. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp. celery seed
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- Ashby, Andrew. "This Little Piggy Went to Memphis." Memphis Daily News. May 15, 2006. (June 17, 2010) http://www.memphisdailynews.com/editorial/Article.aspx?=30255
- Brown, Alton. I'm Just Here for the Food. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. New York: 2002.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica 2010. "William Cowper." Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. (June 15, 2010) http://www.britannica.com/Ebchecked/topic/141302/William-Cowper
- California Barbecue Association. "BBQ FAQ: Rubs." July 22, 2007. (June 8, 2010) www.cbbqa.org/wiki/index.php?title=BBQ_FAQ:_Rubs
- Childress, Tricia. "Eating High on the Hog in Charlotte." Creative Loafing. Oct. 14, 2008. (June 15, 2010) http://charlotte.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/eating_high_on_the_hog_in_charlotte/Content?oid=376506
- DeWitt, Dave, and Chuck Evans. "Chipotle Flavors: Smokey Chiles Basics." Fiery-Foods.com. (June 16, 2010) http://www.fiery-foods.com/cooking-with-chiles/143-chipotle-flavors/93-pepper-profile-chipotles
- DeWitt, Dave, and Chuck Evans. "Pepper Profile: Ancho/Poblano." Fiery-Foods.com. (June 16, 2010) http://www.fiery-foods.com/pepper-profiles/151-capsicum-annuum-specieismost-common-varieties/92-pepper-profile-anchopoblano
- Edge, John T. "Charlie Vergos, Memphis Barbecue King, Dies." New York Times. March 30, 2010. (June 10, 2010) http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/Charlie-vergos-memphis-barbecue-king-dies/
- Global Gourmet. "Global Destinations: Jamaica." January 2007. (June 7, 2010) http://www.globalgourmet.com/destinations/jamaica/jamjerk.html
- High, Lake E., Jr. "A Very Brief History of the Four Types of Barbeque Found in the USA." (June 15, 2010) http://www.scbarbeque.com/History.html
- Kagan, Sarah. "Marinades, Rubs, and Sauces: Recipes and Tips." Epicurious.com. (June 8, 2010) www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/grilling/rubsandsauces
- Penzeys Spices. "Chipotle Peppers." (June 10, 2010) http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeyschipotle.html
- Vergos, Nick. Tennessee Barbecue Project. Southern Foodways Alliance. Oct. 12, 2002. (June 10, 2010) http://southernfoodways.com/documentary/oh/tnbbq/memphis/rendez_vous.shtml
- Vergos, John. Southern BBQ Trail. Southern Foodways Alliance. July 2, 2008 (June 10, 2010) http://southernbbqtrail.com/tn/rendez/rendez.shtm
- What'sCookingAmerica.net. "Questions and Answers: What Is Ancho Powder?" (June 10, 2010) http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/AnchoPowder.htm
Come with HowStuffWorks on a mouthwatering-journey through the history, politics and techniques of barbecue.