What’s in Our Spice Blends

That’s a good question. We think it is important for our customers to know what they are putting in their bodies.

But, before we tell you what we use in our amazingly tasty spice blends, consider reading below where spices came from, how they played a part in our cultural development, and how they shaped much of human history.

10,000 BC – Spice Blends Beyond the Mists of Time

Following two weeks of tracking, planning the kill and very nearly freezing to death, a small band of hunter gatherers finally brings down an enormous Woolly Mammoth. It was a wild fight and everybody is thankful that Ogg had that very long spear, even though he nearly took off Mogg’s ear with it last week when he slipped and fell in that big pile of bison poop. Taking stock, they are grateful to discover no one was squished to jelly on the tundra and no one had broken bones. The first thing they do is send the skinny kid they all call Skippy running back to the main camp with the good news. Next they start to disassemble the Mammoth because even in the freezing weather the core of this great beast will rot quickly without a little “food management”.

Building fires for cooking and slow-smoking helps preserve the meat, but still, after a few weeks it is hard to choke down. Then one night Goog stares at a piece of rotting Mammoth steak and decides he just can’t force it down. But he is so hungry. In desperation he has a flash of ingenuity. He knows that leaves of a certain plant they like to chew on for the flavor are just a few feet away. He wraps his old steak in the leaves and tosses the whole thing on a hot rock next to the fire. After the leaves burn away he stabs the hunk of meat with his obsidian knife, slices off a chunk and chews. Wow, that worked! It tastes much better. The culinary arts are born.

Post Script: Besides denuding the area of that particular plant, Goog’s small band very successfully goes on to create a major ancient civilization. Because they managed to learn how to preserve valuable protein with spices, this carried them through hard times. And beer, they learned to brew beer. But that’s another story.

1,500 AD – The Spice Trade Speeds Along

Caravel boatThe small round-bottomed caravel is beating into the harbor of a bustling Italian port as fast as the captain and crew can work the sails. She is riding low in the water, her cargo stacked into every nook and cranny. The port master smiles as he watches her progress.  “If she can out race the storm coming in from the west” he thinks to himself, “we will have a whopping big party tonight!” “Skipetto” he shouts out the window, “run and tell the merchants their ship has come in!” Pelting up the cobbled path, Skipetto brings exciting news to several merchant houses–news that will result in quite a few nasty hangovers the next day.

The reason everyone was so excited is because of what the small caravel carries; Spices–several tons of exotic spices. The reason these spices were so valuable is twofold:

  1. Just fifty years before this event, the average European ate a very simple bland diet. And these spices changed that forever.
  2. The free market capitalists of the day were able to corner the market because they invested in new technologies to bring home these kinds of rare goods. The little caravel they invested in was a marvel of engineering. She was fast, had excellent sea-keeping abilities, and could carry enormous amount of cargo with a small crew. (They were the 747s of their day and they brought great wealth to our fretting merchants.)

Of course, none of this may have happened unless 200 hundred years earlier a ship of a much different design had not made port. She brought a different cargo; The Black Death. Two thirds of Europe was wiped out in less than a generation. There was a kind of upside to this. Macabre to be sure, but nevertheless some folks actually benefited from this horror. Europeans who were lucky enough to survive the plague inherited large amounts of wealth. I mean twice a month Skipetto was pounding on your door with another deed to a grain mill or vineyard because great uncle Ogg had kicked off. The poor kid was exhausted. “You remember uncle Ogg don’t you dear? He was the one who always carried that really long walking stick.” All this wealth spurred peoples desire for the finer things in life, nice cloths without lice, a house without see through walls, a warm bed, a cozy fire, servants, and most of all good food. Food seasoned with that amazing new spice, pepper. Searching for more exotic and cheaper spices, the spice trade pushed western civilization across the entire planet. While the spice traders were out creating empires and enjoying the age of exploration, they discovered something else; the path to modern life.

2014 CE – Misty Mountain Smokehouse

Well, here we are in our amazing modern age. We have created a global economy and instant access to every bit of knowledge ever discovered. Funny how all this technology hasn’t made some people any smarter.
But, I digress.
What’s in our Spice blends?

Ten thousand years of human experience.

And the following spices we use, in no particular order:
Dark Brown Sugar
Ground Mustard Seed
Dehydrated Garlic
Red Pepper Flakes
Course Ground Black Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Ground Cumin
Onion Flakes
Dried Parsley
Ground Sage
Kosher Salt

That’s it…nothing exotic by today’s standards. It’s just the blending and proportions that make them so special. It has taken years to perfect them.

~ Jeff Bock, owner of Misty Mountain Smokehouse