Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Trader Joe's BBQ Rub and Seasoning with Coffee & Garlic

Coffee and garlic...together? Unless we're talking about two sanguivoriphobes on a first date, this just can't be a good idea, can it?

No doubt, I was pretty skeptical. I mean, the thought of garlic in my coffee makes my stomach turn. Garlic is good in its own realm, coffee is in its own...this should be a separation so obvious that it shouldn't even be referenced for a case example for my chocolate gum theory.

But then Trader Joe's put them together for their BBQ Rub and Seasoning with Coffee & Garlic...and my brother and his wife tried it and swore by it...and then I saw Nathan get all squirrelly over caramel and cheese popcorn mixed together (granted, not one of my fave combos, either)...so, out of obligation to you, our reader, I decided to take on the burden of trying this out. I mean, if I can choke down a turkey meatloaf muffin or swig nearly a six pack of some gawd-awful swill for you, I can do this, right?

Please pardon my underestimation.

It's good. It actually works. I don't know how, and can't quite explain how, but it works. Sandy prepped some steaks the other night that I slapped on the grill once I got home. Open the canister and the first whiff is unmistakably coffee-laden, seemingly a darker blend but tough to exactly determine what type. Might be all the garlic and paprika in the way, don't know, because those are definitely present. I'll admit that I tried a small pinch or two by itself, and it's, well, unique to say the least. The ground coffee serves as an earthly base which underlies all the other flavors, and is fairly mild itself, which is a good thing. As for the garlic, it also seems pretty tame - I mean, there's no mistaking its presence, and it will make your breath reek - but it's not too out of bounds. There's actually a fair amount of brown sugar which seems to help keep everything in check, while still letting the slightly spicy bite of paprika through. And although a little salty tasting, there's not an overabundance of it, either. When seared into our steaks, I didn't notice the coffee as much as a sweet, somewhat spicy garlic taste which made every bite pretty enjoyable overall. I wasn't expecting that.

I don't think this is an everyday kinda rub or spice. But once a week or so...sure, why not? I'll admit I'm still partial to the 21 Seasoning Salute which goes awesomely on anything I put it on thus far - my favorite's been sauteed peppers and zucchini straight from the garden with some chicken. My brother and his wife swear when they made some grilled pork with this rub, it was the best chunk of meat they'd had in some time. We're not huge pork eaters (exception: bacon) but I could see that working well, along with chicken and maybe certain kinds of fleshier, milder fish. My only issue is it is kinda weird, and my stomach felt a little odd afterwards - not uncomfortable, no, but I was glad to have a couple bites of TJ's newest ice cream sensation to help placate the ol' Russ tank. Plus, that wasn't necessarily the rub either, and maybe I'm just being a little too sensitive for once. It's only a $1.99 for the canister, so it's worth a try if you're on the fence. Both Sandy and I waver between a three and four, so let's call it one of each.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's BBQ Rub and Seasoning with Coffee & Garlic: 7 out of 10 Golden Spoons

4 comments:

  1. LOL I could see this working. The same way chocolate works in a mole sauce (that's mo-LAY). I'll definitely pick this up. Did you rub and then grill? Or add after cooking? What's that sauce? I must say the pic of your dish is lookin' kinda restaurant quality.

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    1. Hahaha, you overestimate me,but thanks! Rubbed in before grilling, and that's not sauce, just some medium rare steak lovin'. :)

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  2. This is one of my FAVORITES for seasoning their frozen chicken tenderloins (which I can cook in the skillet from frozen to plate in only 10 quick minutes...awesome!) and their french cut pork chops! Delicious!

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  3. Coffee rubs are really popular here at steakhouses and fancy restaurants. For $1.99? Sure!
    I tried this on chicken and liked it. Something different.

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