Monday, February 14, 2011
Bandiola - Uncle Mikes Lucky 333 Spice Blend
It was another fast food night with grilled chicken fillets or tenders. I can grill those up faster than I can go pick up food, so I keep the tenders on hand for busy nights, and I dress them up with different seasonings and barbecue sauces.
Mike and I are Facebook friends, and he sent me several free samples of his spices to try out on the grill. I do reviews when I have some extra time - mostly the small companies. And, I give my honest spin on what we thought here. It's a gamble, but I've found some real gems over the years.
Some of the Bandiola blends are specific barbecue spice mixes. Others are general purpose spice mixes which are also fine for grilled foods. I went with Uncle Mike's 333 this week, because the description made me smile. You're invited to email to find out what is lucky about 333, and I have not done that yet. I will, but I don't want to spill the beans. I'm sure some savvy readers will check that out and get the scoop. I'm keeping mum when I do find out.
Uncle Mikes seasoning blend smelled great when I opened it up. It's a richer and more complex combination of scents - kind of like Grandma's house or maybe Thanksgiving time.
When I'm trying a new spice mixture on grilled foods, I keep it simple so that I get the full taste of the seasoning. I rubbed a little olive oil on the chicken so that the spice mixture would stick and also to prevent sticking on the grates. Then, I warmed up the grill until the grates were hot (also helps prevent sticking) and then backed the heat down a bit and put the chicken on.
Chicken fillets cook quick on the grill. I didn't stand there and time it, but I go around 5 minutes per side. It can be longer with thicker pieces of chicken and less time with thin or small chicken tenders.
One way to eyeball it is to look at the sides of the chicken fillets. When you see the white start to creep up the sides of the chicken, then it's time to flip it. You can see the chicken just flipped above.
I pulled the chicken off the grill, and we checked it out. Chicken grilled this way is good on buns, but we just ate it plain to get the full flavor of Uncle Mikes.
Just as the seasoning smelled complex, it also had layers of flavor as we were eating the chicken. There's some pepper in there, but this is not a hot rub. It's an all purpose seasoning.
The first flavor I noticed was rosemary which is one of my favorites, but I seldom taste that in spice mixes. The guys didn't pick this up, but they aren't likely to notice any particular taste - just whether they like the overall flavor or not. Both thought the taste of Uncle Mikes was excellent, and my son was quite glad that he did not have to run off looking for a glass of milk (as I've hit him with some hot foods lately).
I say thumbs up to Bandiola Uncle Mikes Lucky 333. It's bold without being overpowering. The flavor is textured with the high note for me being the rosemary. I think I'll use Uncle Mike's the next time I make turkey stuffing (which will be a while - as it's not close the holidays). Uncle Mikes is rich enough (I think) to work there, and we have a family member who can't eat sage. That has complicated making great stuffing, and I think this spice mix would bump up dressing and make up for the lack of sage (unless that secret ingredient turns out to be sage).