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Experimenting with Powders

Well Chef Fan’s what fallows is an experiment I did for my Chemistry class. I wanted to create a spice rub powder and see not only how fat affects the taste of the powder but also how long it takes to make a powder from each type of fat. I thought this would be good if I wanted to know how long it would take to make a powder for service. I used 5 powders for this experiment and if you would like to recreate it just fallow the steps listed below. Enjoy!

Maltodextrin Powdering Times

Theory: The type of fat used to create a powder with Maltodextrin will also affect the time it takes to make a powder.

Secondary Theory: When making a powder with Maltodextrin the type of fat used will have an impact on the final taste of the powder.


  • All of the same tools will used for all 5 powders. (see Tools section).
  • The method of mixing the powder.
  • Each powder gets two (2) scrape downs with a spoon.
  • The Timer
  • The burner on the stove
  • The outlet for the mixer
  • The amount of fat
  • The amount of Maltodextrin


Experiment Requisition:

Spice rubs Yields: 2cups

  • 3/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup fresh-ground pepper blend
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons fennel (toasted then ground)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander (toasted then ground)
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Fat Needs:

  • 1oz canola oil
  • 1oz olive oil
  • 1oz lard
  • 1oz duck fat
  • 1oz butter

Maltodextrin Needs:

  • 10oz Maltodextrin (using a 2:1 ratio of Maltodextrin  to fat based off of information in PDF )


  1. 1.       Weigh out all fats into containers marked “fat”
  2. 2.       Weigh out Maltodextrin into containers
  3. 3.       Toast fennel in pan and then grind in mixer
  4. 4.       Add other spices to mixer and mix together
  5. 5.       Place spice rub into a bowl.
  6. 6.       Wash pan and dry with towel
  7. 7.       Place one (1) tablespoon of spice rub into pan and then add one (1)container of fat to pan
  8. 8.       Bring to a liquid state
  9. 9.       Cook for 10 minutes (by the timer)
  10. 10.   Plug in and assemble mixer, leaving top off
  11. 11.   Place Maltodextrin into mixer
  12. 12.   Record start time and then place fat into mixer
  13. 13.   Mix by holding the power button and by shaking mixer up and down so that it falls off the sides
  14. 14.   Stop two times and scrape the sides and bottom of the container
  15. 15.   Record stop time and then place powder into plastic bag
  16. 16.   Wash all tools and dry with a paper towel
  17. 17.   Start over from step #7 until all five (5) fats are turned into powders




Start Time:  am

End Time: am

Total Time:




8 minutes

Duck Fat



5 minutes




5 minutes

Canola Oil



3 minutes

Olive Oil



2 minutes

                Taste Notes:

Butter: The butter didn’t pick up the flavor of the rub very well. Powder taste more like Butter then rub, and doesn’t have any of the smell of the rub.

Duck Fat: Taste like a roasted duck or a smoked duck from a grill. Spice rub infused very well.

Lard: Weaker and airier both in taste and smell form of the spice rub.

Canola Oil: Smells like a fried hotdog in a state fair. Taste a little like the spice rub, but also taste like fry grease.

Olive Oil: Has a nutty taste to it and reminds me of the spicy olives from NECI on Main’s tapas menu


Looking over the data I was surprised to find that olive oil was the fastest way to create a powder with these tools and mixing method. At the same time I it was interesting that butter took the longest and by a considerable amount. The other fats and mixing methods where about the same in time, but it was interesting to see that duck fat took the same amount of time as lard.

When it came to my secondary theory the type of fat used also has an effect on the taste of the powder’s final taste. I was expecting that both butter and duck fat would taste like themselves but I wasn’t expecting butter to only taste like butter and not take on the taste of the spice rub. When compared to taste I liked the duck fat powder the best as it was the most palatable and made me think about eating an actual meal instead of just a powder. I liked how olive oil gave the powder a nutty taste on top of the taste of the spice rub. With this information at had I can make a good judgment of how to not only enhance by complement the flavor of a powdered item.

The data not only supports my theory but confirms it because from this data you can clearly see that using these tools it would be best to use olive oil when wanting to make a powder the fastest. On the country if you are looking to make a powder that taste the most like the item you are infusing into the fat or oil, lard would be your best choice. Whit this information I would pick to use lard or duck fat because with lard it will taste the way you want it to.



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