Tim Moodie is not a doctor, he just plays one at farmers markets. His alter ego, Dr. Mop, prescribes a collection of spice blends as a perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite grilling fanatic.
When we’ve written about local spice blends in the past, we’ve mostly highlighted professionals at the top of their game — ones whose years of experience have culminated in blends that reflect a mastery of their cuisine (see: Raghavan Iyer or Sameh Wadi). So here’s some love for the opposite end of the spectrum: an ordinary guy developing the right mix for his favorite style of grilling.
“Mopping is like brining while you’re grilling,” says Moodie (above). “It keeps meat super moist and infuses it with flavor.” His four blends — Caribbean, Greek, Italian, and Tex-Mex — are designed to be mixed with your liquid of choice (beer, wine, stock, even water). He suggests applying the brine with a small cotton mop, which he also sells, every 20 to 30 minutes over multiple hours of grilling with indirect heat.
After formulating the original recipes, he contracted the Wayzata Bay Spice Company to handle blending and packaging. He’s been selling his blends at farmers markets for the past few years and, more recently, at Settergren Ace Hardware in Linden Hills. There, you’ll find them specially packaged and named for members of the Settergren family (below).
His mixes are versatile enough for cooking techniques other than grilling. At Moodie’s suggestion, we marinated a pork tenderloin in chicken stock and a scoop of the Greek blend. After a quick sear and a few minutes in the oven, it came off spectacularly. He also suggests working the Tex-Mex blend into your burger patties.
But this raises a question: If his mixes can be used for dry rubbing and marinating as well, what makes a spice mix good for mopping? Couldn’t you just throw any spice blend in some stock and mop it on your ribs? What’s so special about his blends? “You need a blend that will hold up in the liquid, spices that won’t get broken down,” he says. “And you need to use a cotton mop, because a silicone brush won’t pick up the bits of spices in the liquid.”
We’d suggest finding Dr. Mop at the Broadway Market, a seasonal pop-up shop located up the hill from Sunsets in downtown Wayzata. Open Thursday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm, it’s filled with a group of West Metro purveyors who have taken their farmers market wares indoors for the holiday season.
If you go, we’d suggest getting a loaf of Banana Bob’s cranberry-banana bread (the tartness of the cranberry makes the banana flavor sing). And if you hate those overtly sugary commercial barbecue sauces, Papa D’s has the remedy (and a real nice teriyaki sauce to boot).
Your favorite imbiber will enjoy a local Bloody Mary kit from Gracie’s Pantry of Deephaven. Their mix is perfectly tempered — no extra doctoring necessary — with the perfect thickness and a pleasant horseradish bite. Aside from dill pickles Gracie also cans some vanilla bean-infused peaches that seem destined for a showstopping cobbler.
Finally, pick up a few packages of Sweet Heart Macarons. We tried the coconut and will be rushing back for the lemon curd. But since those will probably get crushed in someone’s stocking, you’d better just eat those yourself as a reward for finding a great local market this late in the season.
One other quick note: If you’re looking for a great lunch in Wayzata, Gianni’s Steakhouse has just about the best tomato-basil soup you could ever hope to order. It’s certainly rare that any tomato soup could be not only noteworthy, but so expressive and flavorful that we beg the chef for the recipe. Apparently, the secret is starting with 74-40 Tomato Filets and small additions of Port and honey. When we zero in on an exact recipe, we’ll be sure to let you know.