Some chefs swear that just a little pepper and salt is all that is required. While this is true for some pieces of meat, even a high-quality steak benefits from a crisp covering of coarse seasonings (or at least we think so). Other pieces of meat are less tasty on their own and benefit from a salty-smoky-sweet flavour rub. If you're new to grilling, we'll walk you thru the fundamentals of applying dry rubs to create succulent meats.
What Do You Put in A Rub?
Rubs generally contain a sweetness in the shape of brown or white sugar, honey granules, or powdered molasses in addition to the basic salt base. The sweetness enhances the flavour and aids in brown and crusty formation. Other commonly used components include onion and garlic powder, chili powder, mustard, and paprika.
It's critical that your rub has a lot of colours in it, such as paprika or Chile, because smoking your proteins low and slow won't generate a direct Maillard reaction like searing or grilling will.
Dry vs Wet Rubs
Dry rubs are spices and dry herb BBQ rubs that are applied directly into the proteins before cooking. When the meat fluids combine with the rub, they form a Smokey and fragrant coating that enhances the natural taste of the meat when consumed combined.
To make a wet rub, simply combine your dry rub with an equivalent number of oils to produce a paste, then apply straight to the meat. Oil will not evaporate during the preparation of food and will aid in the adhesion of your spice to the meat. Instead of oil, you can make the foundation with apple cider, mustard, apple cider vinegar, or even beer.
How To Apply
A dry rub can be massaged straight into the meat until it adheres to the surface. We suggest using paper towels to gently dry your piece of meat. After this, you can flavour the meat straight or apply a small bit of oil to the area before liberally covering in the dry rub. Based on the meat dish, you could let it rest at room temperature for 30 min to an hour prior to actually cooking.
If you're smoking a bigger cut of meat, such as a hog shoulder, brisket, or ribs, apply a small amount of Dijon or spicy sauce to the outside of the meat before adding your rub. This will aid in the adhesion of the rub to the surface while also enhancing wetness. If you choose a finely ground rub, the particles will attach to the meat without the need for any adhesive beneath.
Always measure out the quantity of rub you'll need in a small bowl before sprinkling it on the meat. Wet hands should not be dipped into the jar, as this might promote clumping and contamination. Another technique is to use a "sprinkling hand" and a "meat hand," with one hand touching the meat and the other solely touching the spice.
Not all rubs are made equal, just as not all foods that employ them taste the same. Certain spices and herbs compliment certain types of proteins better than others.