“Stand Out from the Herd, Be Original”
We do not need an excuse to fire up the barbeque. Today we plan to have a lot of fun sampling “Tatonka Dust” rub on some barbeque favorites. This rub heralds from North Dakota. Tatonka Dust is the product of Tanya & Marty of ‘Owens BBQ’. This rub is unique with some special ingredients in the mix. Please pay special attention to the ingredient section because “Aye, there’s the rub”. Ribs, steaks, bacon wrapped meatloaf and for the vegetarians, Romanesco cauliflower, all will be dusted and cooked with ‘Tatonka Dust today. Let’s get started.
Salt, spices, charcoal seasoning, (salt, dextrose, activated charcoal, monosodium glutamate, onion, garlic, spices, propylene glycol, silicon dioxide) Worcestershire powder (corn syrup, salt, caramel color, garlic, sugar, spices, soy sauce solids ( naturally fermented wheat & soy beans, salt, maltodextrin, caramel color ) natural flavorings sulfating agents) garlic, onion, soy sauce powder, (soybeans, salt, wheat, maltodextrin) are the listed ingredients.
This is a long list of ingredients. We would like to point out two ingredients that have caught our attention. First is monosodium glutamate (MSG). ‘MSG’ is an abundant natural occurring non-essential amino acid. ‘MSG’ has flavor enhancing properties. This ingredient has sparked controversy in its use. Some people are highly allergic to MSG. It’s use is popular in a well known seasoning salt and Chinese restaurants.
The second ingredient, activated charcoal, is very unique. I had to do a little research on this because it is new ingredient in cooking to me. Activated charcoal is the same ingredient that is used in your sneaker inserts and also has medical uses for gastric problems. I called the owner/producer Tanya Owens of ‘Owens BBQ’, to ask her more about the charcoal. She said it is used to create a wood burning flavor with out actually having to use the barbeque. This will be a first for us.
Aroma & Texture:
It took me a few seconds to identify the aroma but there is a fresh smell of Worcestershire sauce. The color is pepper black caused by the activated charcoal. The charcoal component is a fine powder that leaves its mark where ever it touches. It will temporarily stain your hands, utensils and cutting boards. I am a little concerned about the color; it does not look very appealing to me with its coal black appearance.
Testing a rub straight out of the bottle is not an indicator of how it will work in a cook. I taste soy sauce, Worcestershire, and salt. The garlic and onions are present. It does have a salty savory flavor.
We gave Tatonka Dust a run for its money. Let’s start out with the best steak ever. A thick rib-eye was coated with the rub several hours before being kissed with a mesquite charcoal fire. This steak had a deep rich beef flavor. I believe the Tatonka Dust did marvels with this cut of beef. The Worcestershire and soy sauce added a umami component that had us craving more.
Beautiful ‘Baby Back’ ribs obtained from the ‘Farmers Market’ pig farmer would receive a dusting of Tatonka. The dark charcoal color did not look pretty on this slab. The slab was cooked in our smoker for several hours. We tried these ribs without sauce to experience the rub. I liked the ribs. The Tatonka Dust does enhance the meat flavors. My wife is a certified ‘KCBS Master Judge”. She agreed with me on the enhancements but made the point the ribs were on the salty side. She knows her ribs.
Tatonka Dust is supposed to add a wood fire flavor with out using a barbeque. Bacon wrapped meat loaf would be cooked in our oven to test this aspect. I am not sure if I got a smoky component from our meatloaf but it was out of this world delicious. The salts, Worcestershire, and soy, was just what this loaf of meat needed to shine.
Lastly a Romanesco cauliflower was dusted with rub and baked. It was not pretty with its charcoal color dusting. It did add flavor but it was on the salty side too.
We have a hung jury on Tatonka Dust. This rub was wonderful to enhance beef flavor on steak with its Umami component. Meatloaf was stellar tasting with this seasoning. Pork ribs were flavorful but a tad salty and unattractive looking. The same saltiness and looks for the Romanesco cauliflower was experienced. The ingredient of active charcoal is very unique and different. Unfortunately appearance is very important. We eat with our eyes and this factor of the charcoal coloring is off putting to me. Tatonka Dust is a great rub for steaks and meatloaf. The saltiness and appearance have influenced our final decision. In our humble opinion, this rub is great on beef but we would not purchase Tatonka Dust in the future.