Monday, June 4, 2012

Father's Day Gift Giving Guide -- Char Crust (Review, with Giveaway Coming Soon)


When you think of summer, what comes to mind?  Grilling!!!! We love spending time outdoors, especially grilling up a meal and dining al fresco on the patio.  One of our favorite things to grill is steak.  But, in order to achieve a nice grill, you need to be able to cook the steak at the right temperature.  If you have grilled steaks before, then you know they taste better when marinated or adding a rub to them. I find that a rub provided a nice outer coating, helping to seal in the juices of the steak, which add to the moisture and overall flavor the meat.  

So, when I heard about Char Crust and their unique seasoning blends, I had to try them out for myself and see what others are raving about.  The kind folks at Char Crust sent me the following flavors to sample.  Each box has a retail price of $5.49)

·         Roasted Garlic Peppercorn features the robust flavor of roasted garlic and onions with the zing of peppercorns and a hint of Worcestershire and lavender. Its versatility has made it a best seller. It complements steaks, lamb, seafood, pork, poultry, and potatoes.

·         Ginger Teriyaki is a balance of sweet teriyaki, fragrant ginger, plus a tingly touch of wasabi that lends a new dimension and creates a modern teriyaki interpretation. It complements chicken, fish, and steak.

·         Amazin’ Cajun is a spicy-sweet blend of piquant cayenne pepper, onion, garlic, oregano and a mélange of other Mardi Gras flavors. It brings the sublime heat of New Orleans to catfish, chicken, shrimp, and even “dirty” rice.

·         All American Barbecue takes the best flavors of American barbecue and blends them into a tangy-sweet, slightly spicy rub. It has rich molasses from Memphis, tangy tomato from Kansas City, mustard, pepper and vinegar from the Carolinas, plus a wisp of smoke from Texas.

Here is an up close look at the how we coated our steaks the other night, and how they looked before we took them off the grill.  

Amazing, right?  I have tried other seasonings/rubs, but have never gotten the grill marks like this before.  As for taste, each rub offered their own unique blend of spices that complimented the steak.  You should have saw our dining room table.  I had bought 2 large steaks and cut them down into pieces, and then added a Char Crust rub to each, so that we could try the four different flavors and compare.  My husband thought we were having guests, but it was only us. :-)

Out of the four flavors sent, my husband and I couldn't agree on a favorite.  He liked the All American Barbecue flavor, while I couldn't stop eating the steak with the Amazin' Cajun blend.  The heat of this seasoning zinged my nose a few times, which is sign to me that it is good!!! :-)

I found that the Ginger Teriyaki tasted better when paired with chicken a few days later, which I paired with a side of red potatoes that had been seasoned with the Roasted Garlic Peppercorn blend.  I love being able to buy one product and use it to create a variety of dishes in the kitchen.  After reading the instruction on applying this seasoning blend, I find it easy to cook up.And, a little goes a long way, depending on the meat or food using.  I have been using these packages with different meals this past week and half and have only used up half of the seasoning in each package.

Wondering what else you can do with Char Crust® seasoning?  Check out this tasty recipe which uses Tilapia and Char Crust® Amazin' Cajun Dry Rub Seasoning.  We tried this recipe out last week after having grilled the delicious steaks you see above.  I am not  a huge fish lover, but loved the rich coating of seasoning, which locked in the juicy flavor of the Tilapia.  Thanks to the folks at Char Crust® for sharing this recipe with me (and letting me share with you).  I will definitely be making this again, as well as trying out other recipes available on the Char Crust® website.

Pan-Seared Tilapia
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: about 20 minutes

Tilapia fillets -- about 6 oz per person
Char Crust® Amazin' Cajun
 Dry Rub Seasoning -- about 1/2 Tbsp per fillet
A little oil, canola is good
A little butter (optional), at room temperature

Heat a cast iron pan on the stove until very hot. Season one side of the fish with Char Crust® Amazin' Cajun Dry Rub Seasoning, generously covering the surface. Drizzle a little oil all over the seasonings, using your fingers to rub in and distribute evenly. Seasonings will look moist and darken a bit. Place the fish, seasoned side down, into the pan. It should sizzle immediately, and you may get some smoke. Cook a few minutes until just cooked through. Transfer to plate with seasoned side up and place pat of butter on top.

Option: We actually prefer this recipe with catfish, but tilapia seems to have more fans.



Click here to order your own Char Crust products to give to Dad this Father's Day, or to have on hand for your next cookout or party.


Disclosure:  I was sent samples from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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