Articles / Yes, Al Roker is Actually That Lovable

Yes, Al Roker is Actually That Lovable

Published April 26, 2022

Seriously, friends — and he’s a great home cook, too

“The greatest existential threat to the world is climate change. I’m not Joe Scientist, but I would like to try to figure out some way, without being preachy, for a call to arms — maybe even more importantly, try to make it somewhat positive. What are the things we can do, what’s in our control, both individually and what we can do to help nudge our government to make these investments and these changes that have to be made if we’re gonna survive. And look, we can do it.”

My guest on today’s episode of Food with Mark Bittman is Al Roker, who is someone I’ve worked with on and off for twenty years — and if you think of him as a weatherman, you just haven’t been paying attention. He is an inspirational guy, someone I’m incredibly fond of, someone who inspires a real sense of goodwill, of warmth and kindness, and it is genuine. You can call him America’s Sweetheart.

Al is a family man, a longtime Today show host — twenty-five years — quintessential New Yorker, arbiter of good health and wellbeing, and interesting, open … well, you can tell: I like him.

Al is best known for Today, but of course his influence goes well beyond that. He’s written a number of books on different topics, including cooking, and family, and natural disasters — some unusual stuff that we get into — and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone saying a negative thing about him, EVEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA. He is really a beloved guy, and we had a wonderful conversation that I’m happy to share with you.

The recipe featured in the episode — Al’s Rub — is below. Please listen, subscribe, and review! And we’d love to hear your food-related questions, as we’d like to start doing live Q&A: Email us at food@markbittman.com.

Thank you, as always. — Mark

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Al’s Rub

Makes: 4 ¼ cups
Time: 10 minutes

This rub is a perfect celebration of spring and near summer. It’s all purpose — obviously, you can use it on meat, but you can also sprinkle it on vegetables, you can rub it on tofu, anything that you’re going to grill. This makes a large quantity, and will last you a while, so be sure to use a big container.


  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup salt

  • 1/2 cup adobo

  • 3/4 cup paprika

  • 3/4 cup chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

  • 2 tablespoons ground allspice


1. Mix all ingredients together and store in air-tight container. Remember … low and slow.

— Recipe courtesy Al Roker

Al’s Rub
60.9KB ∙ PDF File