Riffing on Lemon Pepper

The other day I found myself in possession of some lemons and some chicken. But not enough time to do a lemon-based marinade. I figured a rub that using the lemon zest would give as much or more flavor that a juice-based marinade in much less time. So I went to the internet to find some inspiration.

I ran across this traditional lemon pepper rub, but that wasn’t quite what I was looking for. Instead, I took its basic proportions and started playing with some alternatives. And here’s what I have so far:

Lemon Zest + Alepppo & Urfa Pepper Powders + Salt -> On chicken, pork or shrimp (I did chicken). I finished it with a squeeze of lemon juice and then a Greek yogurt & tahini sauce on the side.

Chicken Thighs with the Orange-Chipotle Rub, grilled to a state of awesome.
Chicken Thighs with the Orange-Chipotle Rub, grilled to a state of awesome.

Orange Zest + Chipotle & Ancho Powders + Granulated Garlic + Salt -> On chicken thighs or pork to grill. I juiced the orange and cooked that down with honey, fresh garlic, chicken broth, and chiles in adobo (then pureed into a smokey Latin BBQ-esque sauce). I love chipotle, orange and honey together. LOVE.

Lime Zest + Granulated or Fresh Garlic + Salt + Black Pepper – This could go just about any way you want it, on any protein you choose. I’d let it sit for a white on beef or pork, but you could grill seafood immediately. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lime and chopped cilantro if that’s your bag. The beauty of this is that it could swing Vietnamese (serve with rice, nuoc cham, veggies), Mexican (in street-style tacos), Caribbean (alongside some rice and peas), or just plain-old awesome grilled.

The beauty of these rubs is that they give pretty strong flavor quickly and easily, plus they leave you the fruit itself to use in a sauce. Or your favorite refreshing beverage.

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