I am a barbecue and grilling fanatic and have a great time trying out new specialty rubs and seasonings. I saw that Trader Joe’s had a BBQ 101 Seasoning Blend for sale and decided to give it a try.
BBQ 101 Nutrition and Ingredients
Let’s take a closer look at what you get with this jar of bbq seasoning.
You get 2.4 ounces of seasoning in each jar. One serving is 1/4 teaspoon and there are about 68 servings per jar.
The nutritional facts for a single serving are:
- Calories: 0
- Fat: 0g (0% DV)
- Cholesterol: 0mg (0% DV)
- Sodium: 40mg (2% DV)
- Carbohydrates: 0g (0% DV)
- Protein: 0g
This is, without question, one of the dumbest and most intentionally misleading labelling jobs that I have seen in a heck of a long time.
At first glance this looks like a no calorie seasoning blend with extremely low sodium, which, if it was true, would be great.
Look closer though and you will see that Trader Joe’s has defined a “serving” as 1/4 teaspoon. The amount of calories in 1/4 teaspoon are low enough to be considered “0” by FDA requirements.
But 1/4 teaspoon is a STUPID serving size for a bbq seasoning blend that nobody will ever use. To put things in perspective, the serving size for Trader Joe’s Coffee and Garlic BBQ Rub is 1.5 Tablespoons which is 18 times larger than the serving size for the BBQ 101 blend.
The seasoning has the following ingredients:
- Brown sugar
- Smoked paprika
- Dried roasted garlic
- Dried red chile pepper
- Dried onion
- Black pepper
So, just to beat a dead horse, Trader Joe’s is advertising a bbq rub whose primary ingredient is brown sugar as a Zero Calorie seasoning blend. Good Grief.
How Does the BBQ 101 Seasoning Taste?
This tastes like a standard barbecue rub as it is primarily sweet with savory backup notes.
Let the rub sit on the meat for about 30-45 minutes before grilling so it can start to melt into the protein. The high sugar content helps you get nice grill marks.
The sweetness of the rub pairs nicely with mild proteins such as chicken breasts. I would not suggest using this on steaks or burgers.
Other than the crappy labelling issue the only other complaint I have about the seasoning blend relates to the brown sugar content.
The brown sugar in the rub readily soaks up water from ambient humidity and gets clumpy. By the third time I used the rub the seasoning blend had gotten packed down and now I have to thump on the bottle pretty hard to knock some loose.
Overall this is a fine bbq seasoning blend but is nothing special.