Introduction to Ratios
When it comes to cooking ratios are super cool. Cooking ratios provide the foundational flavors and textures that many great recipes are built on. Once you have a good handle on ratios you can begin to cook from your head rather than from a book. This opens up the ability to experiment with the confidence that your base is solid. In other words, your experiment might not work out as you planned but it probably isn’t going to be AWFUL.
There are some awesome resources available to learn more about ratios as they relate to the culinary arts but most of them focus on more traditional cooking and baking. We wanted a quick reference for brine, rubs, sauces, batters, quick sides, and all the other things we like to throw together. So we made a rad one!
All ratios are based on volume not weight. Specific items such as fruits/vegetables are specifically labeled as quantities. We have included a couple of simple pantry recipes as compliments. Breaking them into pure ratios would have been more confusing. Enjoy and experiment!
Wet Brines & Marinades
Aaron Franklin Style Poultry Brine – 16 parts water, 1 part salt, 1 part sugar, (aromatics, pepper, spices totally optional) – combine brine ingredients in pot on stovetop and heat until fully incorporated, chill completely, add ice if necessary, add product to brine solution and brine overnight or longer
Mojo Marinade for Carne Asada – 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 minced jalapeno, 1 handful chopped cilantro, 2 limes juiced, 1 orange juiced, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 1/2 cup olive oil (salt/pepper to taste)
Dry Brines & Rubs
Authentic Santa Maria Tri-Tip Rub – 2 parts salt, 1 part black pepper, 1 part granulated garlic, 1 part dried parsley
Basic Taco Style Seasoning / Rub – 4 parts chili powder, 3 parts ground cumin, 1 part paprika, 1 part crushed red pepper, 1 part salt, (oregano, pepper, garlic/onion powder are all optional to taste)
8:3:1:1 Rib and Pork Rub – 8 parts brown sugar, 3 parts salt, 1 part chili powder, 1 part spices (black pepper, cayenne pepper, old bay, thyme, onion powder, etc.)
Beef Rub for Brisket & Ribs – 3 tablespoons pepper, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 2 teaspoons mustard powder, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne
Aaron Franklin’s Brisket Rub and our House Special All Purpose Steak Seasoning – 1 part salt, 1 part pepper, (salt/pepper to taste)
Greek Seasoning (Yes, like that one.) – 4 salt, 4 granulated garlic, 4 dried basil, 4 dried Greek oregano, 2 ground cinnamon, 2 ground black pepper, 2 dried parsley, 2 dried rosemary, 2 dried dill weed, 2 dried marjoram, 2 cornstarch, 1 ground thyme, 1 ground nutmeg
Sazon Seasoning – 1 ground coriander, 1 ground cumin, 1 ground annatto or turmeric, 1 granulated garlic, 1 kosher salt, 1/2 oregano, 1/2 onion powder
Emeril’s Essence (Cajun Seasoning) – 2 1/2 paprika, 2 salt, 2 granulated garlic, 1 ground black pepper, 1 onion powder, 1 cayenne pepper, 1 dried oregano, 1 dried thyme
5-4-3-2-1 Asian Barbecue Rub – 5 parts turbinado sugar, 4 parts course salt, 3 parts fresh ground pepper, 2 parts Chinese five-spice powder, 1 part garlic powder
Sauces & Mops
Eastern North Carolina Vinegar Mop & Sauce – 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce, 1 tablespoon cayenne, (salt, pepper to taste) – mix cool, allow to chill in fridge if possible to mingle flavors
Lexington North Carolina Vinegar Mop & Sauce – 1 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup apple juice, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper – mix cool, allow to chill in fridge if possible to mingle flavors
South Carolina Mustard Sauce Base – 3/4 cup yellow mustard, 3/4 cup cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, (salt, pepper, hot pepper sauce to taste) – simmer & allow to cool to serving temp
Kansas Style BBQ Sauce Base – 8 parts ketchup, 1 part vinegar, 1 part Worcestershire, 1 part brown sugar, (molasses, mustard, hot sauce, pepper, spices to taste) – simmer & cool to serving temp
Alabama White Sauce Base – 8 parts mayo, 2 parts cider vinegar, 1 part brown sugar, (salt, pepper, spice) – mix cool, allow to chill in fridge if possible to mingle flavors
Buffalo Sauce – 3 parts hot pepper sauce, 2 parts butter – heat in a pan on the stovetop while stirring until fully combined
Sweet & Sour Sauce – 1 cup pineapple juice, 1/3 cup water, 3 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons corn starch – simmer stirring constantly until thickened & cool to serving temp
Tartar Sauce – 1 1/4 cup mayo, 1 chopped dill pickle, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon onion (flakes or fresh), 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire – mix cool, use immediately or allow to chill in fridge to mingle flavors
Chimichurri – 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley, 4 cloves minced garlic, 2 finely chopped red chilis, 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Or check out our chimichurri feature!
Finadene – 2/3 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup vinegar (0r lemon juice), 1/4 cup diced green or white onion, 4 chopped hot peppers such as habanero seeded and chopped – mix cool, allow to chill in fridge to mingle flavors.
Batters & Breading
Beer Batter – 1 part flour, 1 part light beer, (salt & season to taste) – dry protein or vegetable, dip in batter, fry in oil
4-1-1 Chicken Breading – Chicken Seasoning = (4 parts salt, 1 part granulated garlic, 1 part black pepper), Egg Mixture = (3 eggs, 1/3 cup water, 1 cup hot pepper sauce). Season chicken liberally, dip in egg mixture, dredge in flour, fry in oil.
Tempura Batter – 1 part sifted flour, 1 egg, 1 part water or seltzer water – Mix flour with egg and water until batter is smooth, keep batter COLD with by placing the
All Purpose Fry Batter (Think Onion Rings) – 1 egg, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup milk, 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder – mix all ingredients until smooth, coat product in additional flour, dip into batter, fry in oil
Guacamole – 4 avocados, 1/2 onion, 1 jalapenos (optional), juice of 3 limes, (salt, pepper, coriander, cilantro) – eat fresh
Standard Issue Salsa – 6 chopped tomatoes, 4 minced garlic cloves, 2 minced jalapenos, 1 diced bell pepper, 1/2 chopped onion, 1 tablespoon olive oil, juice of 1 lime, (salt, pepper, chili powder to taste) – mix cool, eat fresh or allow to chill in fridge to mingle flavors
Chick-fil-A Style Cole Slaw – 20 oz. shredded cabbage, 1/4 cup diced carrots, 1 cup mayo, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard, 1/4 cup sugar, 4 teaspoons vinegar – mix all but vegetables cool, add vegetables, eat fresh or allow to chill in fridge to mingle flavors
Lexington Style Cole Slaw Dressing – 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce – mix cool and add to 1 head of shredded cabbage and 1 shredded carrot.
Tzatziki – 1/2 peeled and shredded English cucumber (excess water squeezed out by hand), 2 cups cold Greek yogurt, 3-4 cloves pressed garlic, 2 tablespoons quality white vinegar (can substitute lemon juice), 3 tablespoons EVOO, (salt to taste, dried mint optional) – mix cool, use immediately or allow to chill in fridge to mingle flavors
Mac Salad Dressing – 2 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 3/4 cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 tablespoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 3/4 cup white vinegar, 1/3 cup cider vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 2 teaspoons garlic salt – mix cool, allow to chill in fridge to mingle flavors, mix with 5 cups pasta and preferred chopped vegetables
Want do dig deeper into Ratios as they relate to traditional cooking? Michael Ruhlman has written some excellent books focused on cooking and cooking experiences. His book Ratio is focus completely on this topic and is an excellent starting point!
Thanks for reading GreatNotes, our handy notes-style pieces that save you time and energy. It’s like Culinary CliffNotes! Stick this on the fridge or behind the pantry door for any impromptu cook session. You already have everything you need so go ahead and own this!-The Great or Die Team
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