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Paprika's: How important is variety selection?

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  • mmryon
    Club Member
    • May 2017
    • 7
    • Central Texas Hill Country

    Paprika's: How important is variety selection?

    Curious if anyone has experimented with different types of paprika for their smoked brisket dry rub; smoked, Hungarian, sweet, hot, Spanish? Any noticeable difference in flavor, heat or other nuance? Thanks.
  • Nate
    Charter Member
    • Apr 2015
    • 3819
    • Quarantined
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    I’m currently experimenting with McCormicks smoked paprika vs regular McCormicks paprika for my rib rub.

    Most recommendations say it isn’t necessarily a 1:1 substitute... I’m trying to find a balance I like that may be a blend of the two.

    My my last run was about 50/50 and I felt like it had a different profile... maybe a little hotter and not as sweet...

    I will be interested to hear what others have to say.


    • CaptainMike
      Club Member
      • Nov 2015
      • 2367
      • The Great State of Jefferson
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      I did the drill with different paprikas in my rubs and only shied away from some of the more bitter Spanish ones. My wife is an avid gardener and planted her own a few years ago. We dried and smoked them and they are now my favorite for rubs. As with most homegrown produce their flavor is much more intense and rich. Now, for paella I still use hot Spanish paprika because we prefer it in that dish. It really boils down to what you like and what you're looking for.


      • Murdy
        Club Member
        • May 2018
        • 459
        • North-Central Illinois

        I've been playing around with different paprika as well. The only thing I really noticed is the hot paprika truly does add some heat to the equation. Haven't really come to any other conclusions yet. I suspect in a home made rub with lots of other ingredients, it might be hard to distinguish between types, and, regarding smoked, how do you know if the smoke taste you are tasting is coming from the paprika or the smoking process?


        • CaptainMike
          CaptainMike commented
          Editing a comment
          That's pretty much what I found as well in the end product, especially beef.
      • Skip
        Founding Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 3129
        • Blue Earth, Minnesota
        • MAK Pellet Grill, Large BGE, Weber Kettle with SnS, Weber Gasser, Pit Barrel Cooker, Cast Iron Pans & Griddle, Grill Grates, Mostly Thermoworks Thermometers

        I have been using Smoked Paprika for a few years. I think it adds a very subtle smokiness. Recently I've used it on SV Chicken Breasts after I've given them a 1 minute cast iron sear just before serving. I have also wondered about Smoke Powder and wonder what that's like. It doesn't seem to be available in any stores in this area. Maybe it's time to order some?


        • Murdy
          Murdy commented
          Editing a comment
          Never tried the smoke powder. But I have used smoked pepper and smoked salt to add flavor when using my gasser. The pepper was more versatile, as you had to be careful with the salt lest your food end up too salty. Both worked pretty well though. I've used liquid in jerky marinades with success as well.
      • RichieB
        Club Member
        • Apr 2018
        • 1264
        • Western Mass

        I've been using smoked for awhile. I especally like it on grilled potatoes. it gives a hint of smoke which I enjoy.


        • CaptainMike
          CaptainMike commented
          Editing a comment
          Oh yeah, and tater tots too.
      • Spinaker
        • Nov 2014
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        I have never noticed a difference. I am more of a Salt and Pepper guy these days but I will throw in some Paprika for color. As I said, I don't really think it makes that big of a difference.


        • Bumby
          Club Member
          • Oct 2017
          • 281
          • NYC

          I think it is all preference but I do notice big differences in paprika. I actually stopped using smoked paprika in my smoker because I didn't love the additional smokiness that it was imparting (but on grilled or roasted veggies, it is a go to). I'm currently on a Spanish paprika kick. In particular, I'll use the bittersweet in my rib rub and some of the hot on a whole roasted chicken.


          • radshop
            Charter Member
            • Mar 2015
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            • Orange County CA
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            I don’t find that store-bought paprika has much flavor except smoke. I prefer to make my own if I want peppery flavor.


            • Hulagn1971
              Charter Member
              • Dec 2014
              • 996
              • NC, The Triad
              • WSM 22.5", Pitmaster IQ110, Weber 22.5" Kettle with SNS, Weber 14" Smokey Joe.

              I use smoked paprika all the time. I really like it as a VERY slight sprinkle/dusting on deviled eggs.


              • Troutman
                Club Member
                • Aug 2017
                • 7200

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                I use the smoked type but am otherwise paprika dumb.


                • Red Man
                  Club Member
                  • May 2018
                  • 933
                  • Western Washington

                  I sometimes use smoked paprika when I’m not smoking the food and I usually use it in Mexican dishes. Otherwise I just use regular paprika.


                  • Santamarina
                    Club Member
                    • Aug 2018
                    • 674
                    • Wildomar, CA

                    Hungarian paprika is my favorite - a by product of growing up with a Hungarian grandfather! Can’t stand smoked paprika...the only smoke flavor I want in my food is from a live wood fire.


                    • Bkhuna
                      Club Member
                      • Apr 2019
                      • 438
                      • Merritt Island Florida

                      Paprika is like anything else, you get what you pay for. I spent time in Spain while in the military and the taste of good quality smoked paprika is terrific. Of course, it may not be applicable as a substitute for other styles of paprika. The good stuff might be cost prohibitive also. I have a couple of buddies who cook and we order ours from Tienda.com and split the price. Nothing worse than buying expensive spices only to have them go bad, which they will after opening. Nothing tastes worse than old paprika.


                      • Murdy
                        Murdy commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I totally agree, spices are one area where cost and quality really correlate.

                        Now, if I could just convince my wife to let me throw out the old stuff.
                    • Murdy
                      Club Member
                      • May 2018
                      • 459
                      • North-Central Illinois

                      On a related note, if you go to the grocery store and by the spice that's just called Paprika -- not smoked or hot or Hungarian or whatever -- what are you buying?


                      • Willy
                        Willy commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Dried, ground red peppers--any one of a number of pepper varieties. Generally a sweet pepper as opposed to a hot pepper.




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