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I’m not much of a tea drinker.  Oh, but I do love a glass of ice-cold, iced tea on a hot July day.  There is something so refreshing about freshly brewed iced tea that’s the perfect libation for hot weather.  But, tea leaves, added to a few ingredients, makes a great dry rub, particularly Lapsang Souchong tea.  Lapsang Souchong tea leaves have a decidedly smoky flavor with subtle hints of dried fruit and whiskey.  The leaves are smoked in sheds that usually have 3 floors with woven slats to allow the smoke, from the first floor, to permeate the leaves.  This tea is traditionally dried over pinewood fires, thus the ambient, smoky flavor.  This is like no other tea.  Lapsang Souchong tea tends to be considered a Westerner’s tea and is mostly drunk outside of China.  Though Winston Churchill, who was supposedly not particularly fond of tea, purportedly this was a favorite…Cigar smoke, smoky tea…could there be a connection?  I suspect Churchill’s dark colored elixir was decided more alcoholic in nature than tea.

I use this tea in two different ways.  I grind the tea and use it as is, to add smokiness to soups, stews, meats, vegetables, etc.   Or I make it into…

Smoking Gun Dry Rub

  • Servings: Makes about 1/3 cup
  • Difficulty: Easy as pushing a button
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  • 3 tablespoons ground Lapsang Souchong black tea
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (I prefer flake kosher for this)
  • 2 teaspoons partially ground dried shallots
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red bell pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic granules
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves

Use a small coffee grinder (dedicated to spice grinding only) to grind the tea leaves.  Combine all the ingredients; mix well.  Cover and store for up to 3 months.  Excellent on steak, lamb, chicken, salmon, shrimp.

Smoking Gun Dry Rub Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015.  All rights reserved.

I sprinkled some of the rub liberally (is there any other way?) over a burger, pan-fried it to crusty perfection, some raw onion slices, a smidge of sriracha and some mayo, a side of cole slaw and some chips…dinner is served.

141The second use is to simply grind the tea and add pinches of it to any number of things–soups, sauces, stews, vegetables, steaks or burgers…any place you want to add a hint of smoke and a enhance the savory flavor, this is you ingredient of choice.  The next time you have a cup of tea, remember, that cup of tea can also be used as liquid for a sauce…there is more than one way to have your tea!

Lapsang Souchong tea is available from different purveyors and on-line.

030A Note:  I sprinkled some on a crab cake yesterday…I highly recommend doing so.  It was delicious and didn’t over-power the crab meat.  I was afraid it would…surprises are nice.  Remember, don’t be afraid to try things…this is cooking with abandon and that’s a very good thing!  Have a terrific weekend….