As the weather gets warmer, we hunt more and start using the BBQ again. This spice rub is great for spring venison on the BBQ as well as wild pork, beef ribs or lamb. Sprinkle it on steaks or dust meat patties with it.

It also works well on individual cuts such as a venison rump grilled on the BBQ. Or try it on slow-cooked neck fillets done in the sous vide style. Cook them for 6 hours at 61°C, sprinkle them with the rub and finish on the BBQ. 

Southern Spice Rub

2 Tb mustard seeds

2 Tb coriander seeds

2 ts celery seeds

110g flaky sea salt

3 Tb smoked paprika

3 Tb garlic powder

1½ Tb lime powder

3 Tb cracked black pepper

1 Tb ground allspice

1 ts cinnamon

1 Tb dried oregano

1½ Tb dried thyme

2 Tb onion powder

4 Tb brown sugar


Dry roast the mustard, coriander and celery seeds. Place all the ingredients, including the seeds, into a food processor and pulse to mix everything together – do not grind to a fine powder. If you prefer, you can use a mortar and pestle. Store in an airtight container out of direct sunlight until you want to use it. 

This rub is also great for coating venison meatballs.

Here’s my recipe for them:

500g minced venison 

1 medium onion, chopped finely

2 cloves garlic, crushed 

1 ts grated ginger

Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 1 lemon

5 Tb chopped parsley

3 Tb tomato ketchup or smoky BBQ sauce or a combination of both 


Combine all the above ingredients in a bowl and use your hands to mix well. Shape into approximately 18 golf ball-sized balls. Sprinkle about 4 Tb of the spice rub on the meatballs to coat them.

Heat a heavy frypan, add some oil and fry the meatballs until browned on all sides. You may need to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your frypan. Remove the meatballs to a plate while you make the sauce in the same pan. You don’t need to wash it out first, so you can save on dishes. 

Meatball sauce 

200ml red wine

300ml liquid beef stock or gravy 

½ cup tomato sauce

400g tin of chopped tomatoes in juice

1 Tb chopped parsley

2 Tb orange marmalade

1 Tb balsamic vinegar


Heat the wine in the pan to loosen any goodness left from frying the meatballs. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, stir and bring to the boil. Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer until cooked, approximately 15-20 minutes. Taste and season. Add some cooked pasta and mix through. To serve, sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and basil.