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Here at BMM, Old Bay is collectively the most commonly used dry seasoning.
There’s a reason Old Bay is the base for so many homemade dry rubs. Old Bay Seasoning is truly one of the most versatile seasonings. Just as they say on their website, “There are two things you need to know about Old Bay® Seasoning: 1. It’s great on seafood. 2. It’s great on everything else!”
Old Bay was created in 1939 by Gustav Brunn, a Jewish spice merchant who fled Germany during World War II and eventually landed in Baltimore. While there’s no definitive account of where he got the idea for the blend, the recipe is very similar to the robust and colorful spice blends that permeate Cajun dishes in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.
I grew up in Annapolis, Maryland and we put Old Bay on everything under the sun, so, I may be a little biased. Side note: just writing about Old Bay makes my mouth water.
It is truly perfect on all seafood as well as a base for any dry rub, as well as on deviled eggs, pumpkin seeds, chicken salad, cottage cheese, tuna salad, potato salad, popcorn, grilled chicken thighs, fresh avocado slices, roasted potatoes, in a cheese bean dip, on the rim of a Bloody Mary glass, and even sprinkled on beer.
Yes, beer! If you take a trip to Baltimore or Washington DC and order a Natty Boh it will usually come in a glass rimmed with Old Bay or some just sprinkled on top.
Old Bay Seasoning has a very distinct flavor; the seasoning mix is made with Celery Salt, Spices (Including Red Pepper and Black Pepper), and Paprika. It is regionally popular, specifically in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic States.