Nuggets of Gold: Rockerbox Garlic

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Tomiko Peirano

Tomiko Peirano › Tomiko has amassed decades of experience in the food industry, from her family's restaurant in Oregon's ...


Garlic powder has always struck me as a bit of a lazy cheat in the kitchen. It’s never tasted like much to my palate, at least not much like garlic. I understand it’s meant to save time for the busy cook, but using garlic powder seems a bit like pouring a can of cream of whatever soup over a brisket and calling it “pot roast.”

So, imagine my skepticism when I heard about Rockerbox Garlic – 100% pure, handmade garlic “nuggets” claiming to have “superior flavor.”

Yes, I was leery, but I was also being offered free samples. “Eh, why not?” I thought.

When I got the samples home and cracked open a jar of said superior nuggets, I was pleasantly surprised to find delightfully fragrant chunks of dried garlic packing an impressive punch of true garlic flavor.

Created by Rae Rotindo, the Rockerbox Garlic line of handcrafted garlic flakes and dust, onion dusts and sweet corn rub are made in small batches without the use of fillers, preservatives or additives. Rae uses only U.S.-grown onions and garlic and, in the case of the garlic, only heirloom varieties as they produce a much more intense flavor.

Having grandparents who were garlic farmers has certainly driven Rae’s dedication to producing quality food goods with superior texture and flavor:

I spent many afternoons watching my grandma sit with bushels of garlic at her feet and peel the dirt and outer layers away to reveal the beautiful white cloves underneath. The rafters of their barn hung with hundreds of hand-braided bunches of curing garlic. Later in life when I began cooking for myself, I found that I didn’t always have time to cook – much less peel and chop fresh garlic – and was hugely disappointed in the quality of garlic powders I purchased from the store. So, when I got my husband a jerky maker for Christmas one year, I decided to throw some extra cloves in to see what happened. I ground up the dried garlic, and the result blew me away. The flavor was just like raw garlic, and much stronger than the flavor of anything I’d purchased from the store.

Encouraged by the very positive reaction from friends and family, Rae introduced her singular products to a food swap in Brooklyn and the rest is history.

I have been happily cooking away with my samples of garlic flakes, garlic dust and red onion dust, the latter having a beautiful color! I made a delicious and supremely simple onion dip with nothing more than some Greek yogurt, a pinch of sea salt and a good bit of the red onion powder. The dip was full of onion-y flavor and had a light pink hue from the powder. Aesthetically pleasing and easy to make? Yes, please.

I’ve used the garlic dust mainly in spice rubs, blending it with sea salt and pepper, and covering a nice beef roast or whole chicken. Simple and delicious. It’s also a welcome addition to sauces and soups.

The garlic flakes have been really fun to play with in the kitchen, mainly due to their texture and size. My husband made some delicious hamburgers the other night, adding a good dose of garlic flakes to the ground meat. I like to soak the garlic flakes in a little olive oil, lemon juice and salt at room temperature. Once the flavors “marry,” you can use the mixture as a simple dressing for salads, steamed vegetables or freshly cooked pasta.

Rae is hoping to debut a few more new spice rub mixes, after the success of her sweet corn rub, so be sure to check out the Rockerbox storefront for details!

Are you looking for an incredible garlic or onion powder for your spice rack?

Photo Credit: Rockerbox Garlic


Three Jar Gift Pack: 2oz jars each of garlic flakes, garlic dust and red onion dust

Although we try to provide the most current information, pricing and sizing are subject to change by the vendors. Please double-check both while purchasing.


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