Make it yourself at home. This mixture of common spices is ideal for most meats and vegetables. Have it ready in a shaker to use without measuring it every time.
For Father's Day, my wife gave me a gift certificate to the local cooking school Artisan Cooking School in Grand Haven. I don't think she was trying to give me a hint, just that she thought we could enjoy it together. She was right.
I opted for the grilling class (big surprise there). Howard Norris is the chef/owner and was an excellent host and very educational. Multiple grilled types of meat and sided dishes were prepared quickly and efficiently with lots of discussion and pointers. Plus we got to eat it all — a wonderful evening.
One of the common themes with meat preparation was a common and very simple mix of spices. Nothing fancy. A 7:2:1 ratio of kosher salt:pepper:granular garlic. It worked great on everything that night.
I have used it several times since then with similarly great results. Retrospective, the ratio is very similar to many of my and other recipes.
Excellent, wonderful, and other adjectives. This is one for the lazy in me and the need to simplify things.
All Salt is Not Equal
Salt is salt is salt... but it is not. All salt is NaCl, AKA sodium chloride, but granules of various salts are different in size. So they pack together in different density.
The rough equivalent is 1 teaspoon table salt = 1 ¼ teaspoon Morton kosher salt = 2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
I use Diamond Crystal and find I can get more pepper and garlic taste without overdoing the salt. If using Morton salt, there is a lot more sodium.
If you are using Morton salt or another coarse salt like sea salt, use 4 tablespoons - not 7.
This recipe and others on this site that calls for kosher or coarse salt will be referring to Diamond Crystal unless otherwise stated. You can adjust from there for what you have.
Also, things like sea salt, etc. usually are in the Morton salt range. They differ in the "trace minerals" they are "contaminated" with. Use them if you wish.
BUT since salt is mostly to taste, use what you want. If you are salt sensitive or restricting salt, try cutting the salt in half.
Again, like salt, pepper can be different in many ways. This recipe is based on restaurant grind black pepper which is a rougher grind.
There are different pepper versions not only in grind but in berries used to make the pepper. Use what you like.
You are right when you feel fresh ground pepper has more taste. Due to being freshly ground, the surface has not been exposed to air for a long period that leads to oxidation which will decrease taste.
Garlic and Other Seasonings
Try to use "granular" garlic and not powder. Its texture will mix a lot better with the salt and pepper.
Modification for the Garlic-asaurus. I live with a garlic-loving wife along with the rest of my family when they are here. For them, I use 7:2:2
One of the most common suggestions is onion powder but add what you commonly use. Remember, it is easy to use your custom seasoning and another one for a specific recipe. But you can't take the cayenne pepper out if you don't want it when cooking for the kids.
Use this almost anywhere you use salt and pepper. Mostly that is meats and vegetables.
The amount of garlic is the main variable. We are a "garlic family" so we use 7:2:2 instead of 7:2:1.
I use a shaker that can be sealed. I buy them at Penzy's for a dollar. Or recycle another container but be sure it seals tight. A container can be refilled for many years to come.
I wrote the recipe using tablespoons, but obviously, it could be teaspoons, cups, ounces or whatever.
Do you want more recipes from 101 Cooking for Two? Sign up for the newsletter and get all posts delivered straight to your inbox!
Originally Published August 26, 2011. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.