Magical Smoky Spice Blend (No Nightshades)

While it feels odd to blog a simple spice rub recipe, when I think of what we make most often in our kitchen, this recipe is top ten. When I removed nightshades from my diet years ago to reduce inflammation and improve autoimmune symptoms, seasoning our food became a challenge. We relied so heavily on hot peppers for flavor like cayenne, paprika, and crushed red pepper.
Over the years we’ve tried a LOT of variations, and this one has become so beloved that guests always ask “what did you put on this?!” Followed by lots of num num noises when dining with us. There’s something magical about being able to dupe people into not realizing they’re missing something traditional, like chili powder on a smoked piece of meat. Thus, I present to you, our Magical Smokey Spice Blend.
We recommend this for roasting or grilling, on nearly all proteins – but especially salmon, pork, and even your Thanksgiving bird! If you’re not familiar with how to use spice rubs, you can learn more in our tutorial here. Key takeaways:
  • Buy mid-grade spices and dried herbs for daily use, because the ingredients are cleaner and flavors are richer than the cheaper versions.
  • Use your herbs and spices until they no longer flavor your food as strongly as you’d like. For whole spices, that may be as long as 4 or 5 years. Dried herbs will keep for 1 or 2 years and ground spices may last 2 or 3.
  • Once you find a spice blend you like and find yourself using often, make a batch of a couple of servings and put it in a small jar to save time.

Magical Smokey Spice Rub (No Nightshades)


  • 1/2 C brown sugar*
  • 1/2 C kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • If okay with nightshades:
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne


  1. Combine all spices in a mason jar.
  2. With an airtight lid, may last up to 2 years. Use on pork, salmon, or poultry, preferably. From your roast turkey to grilled salmon, it's super versatile!


*if you sub for other granulated sugar, such as palm or raw organic cane we suggest adding a little molasses when applying the rub to add back in the nutrients, depth of flavor, and tackiness it adds from the brown sugar.


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