Grilling With Tea


Who doesn’t love a good barbecue? Dearies, I may look like a prim and proper cup and saucer, but I do like being outside in the fresh air, enjoying the lively sounds of conversation and food sizzling on the grill. I don’t even mind when my handle gets sticky with BBQ sauce…on occasion. Which leads me to ask- have you ever grilled with tea?

For a unique twist on a traditional BBQ rub, you can add tea leaves right into the mix. Add a hint of tea flavor to your grilled food by incorporating just about any tea into a dry rub. Using a smoky tea such as lapsang souchong is perfect for enhancing grilled foods.  It’s a Chinese black tea that has been dried over pine needles to give it a gorgeously smoky flavor and aroma. Cooking with this tea is a secret Kat uses even during the colder months when grilling is a mere daydream.

This is a dry rub Kat often enjoys with lots of that smoky lapsang souchong. You can crush the tea and your spices together with a mortar and pestle, or grind in a spice grinder. Rub over your protein of choice, and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Grill and enjoy! This rub is perfect on beef, pork, even tofu. If you are having any trouble getting the rub to stick, a little olive oil should help.


For chicken, Kat likes to add a lighter tea such as a hojicha (roasted green tea), or a mellow sencha green tea. She also includes herbs such as sage and coriander for a lovely aromatic dish. If you are pressed for time, try using a flavored tea such as this lovely citrus green tea from Private Selection to get delicious flavor a bit quicker. Kat’s aunt found this tea in the grocery store and was so happy with it that she gave her some to try. The tangy citrus and vegetal green tea pairs perfectly with poultry.

If that’s not enough tea grilling for you, how about finishing your dish off with a tea infused barbecue sauce? Kat is thinking about using this one over the weekend on pork ribs. I think this recipe would be perfect to use on vegetarian proteins.  You can mix and match the teas in these recipes to create your own grilled masterpiece.

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