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Published: May 10, 2022

Spices and Herbs Pairing for Variety of Meat

Spices and Herbs Pairing is a method of combining ingredients to develop the quality in taste and aroma of the dish. To master this method, experience and willingness to experiment are the main keys. However, If you are new to cooking you don't need to worry because in this article I will give you guidelines for Spices and herbs pairing for variety of meat.

Top view of grill bbq roast chicken leg on the flaming grill

Chicken

Chicken is the blank slate of land animal meat. Mild in flavor, you can pretty much throw anything on chicken and it will taste good. Since there are so many different flavor options, you can go from savory options to brighter, sweeter options in a heartbeat and still have something amazing to eat. 

Chicken dish goes well with:
Garlic
paprika
Lemon Peel, Lime Peel, Orange Peel
Cilantro
Rosemary
Dill
Cinnamon
Bay Leaf
Tarragon

Top view of a beef steak medium rare with baked garlic and rosemary in a black cast pan over rustic table.

Beef

When you are cooking with beef, you want herbs and spices that can stand up for themselves. They will have a strong flavor on their own, and they will be able to compliment the strong flavor of beef without becoming overwhelmed by it.

Some ingredients that match with beef are:
Basil
Bay Leaf
Black Pepper
Cayenne
Cumin
Curry Powder
Dry Mustard Powder
Garlic
Green Pepper
Onion
Oregano
Rosemary
Sage
Thyme

Barbecue pork spare ribs flat lay

Pork

Pork is an interesting meat. Its not overpoweringly flavorful like beef, but its not exactly a blank slate like chicken. It is somewhat sweet, but overall a savory food. Pork can sometimes be used as a replacement for beef, in certain recipes.

spices for Pork include:
Cinnamon
Caraway
Ginger
Garlic
Mustard
Sage

Mutton

Mutton is the more mature meat from a sheep that is three years old or older. Lamb, the more popular sheep meat in America, comes from young sheep that are about one year old or younger. IF the sheep is less than three months old, the meat is called "spring lamb." Mutton is a popular meat in India, and as such a lot of Indian spices are well suited to this meat.

Some strong spices for Mutton:
Garlic
Turmeric
Coriander
Cumin
Thyme
Dill Weed
Mint
Rosemary

Sole with cherry tomatoes

Fish

"Fish" covers a wide range of a variety of types of animals that we enjoy eating. Depending on the fish, herbs and spices can give them a lot of flavor! There are very few things that you can add to fish that will help the flavor improve.

  • Sage is often thought of as a poultry only herb, but the earthy flavor goes well with fish like trout, flounder, and swordfish. 
  •  For salty fish like cod, Anise is a weird but satisfying pairing. Don’t knock it until you try it! The licorice flavor is nice on this white fish that doesn’t have a strong taste either way. 
  • Halibut is often thought of as difficult to season because its quite a sweet fish, but pair it with Cinnamon for a smoky flavor that is sure to surprise and please you. 
  • Tarragon is an interesting herb with some real dimensions to it. Try it with lobster, crab, prawns, and crawfish. If you have a recipe that uses crab for example that calls for oregano, replace that with tarragon for a fresh twist and a flavor that you may not have expected.
  • Basil is perfect for fish like mahi-mahi or sole, or fish with firm flesh. 
  • Mint works nicely with any sturdy fish that can hold up to a marinade with some acid in it. Fish like artic char and orange roughly are great with mint! 
  • Freshwater fish like catfish or bass taste excellent with Mediterranean Oregano. This herb is strong, with hints of sweetness and anise in it. 
  • Salmon is a commonly eaten fish in America, and while we are fond of just a dash of Black Pepper on it, it also tastes incredible with the warm, nutty, and slightly citrusy flavor of Coriander.

Those are some tips for spices and herbs pairing to achieve harmonized flavor. To read more about our Tips and Tricks visit our Blog and stay tuned on our Social Media Instagram and Twitter. Cheers Neighbors!

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