BBQ FAQ Section 9.1

 

9.1 Rubs

--------------------

[I'm confused about something. Does a barbecue rub have to be dry?]

Editor--

No. A barbecue rub can be dry or it can have some liquid in it that gives it the consistency of a paste. It can also be in between, as when a dry rub has some mashed garlic in it. Some rubs start out dry and become a paste when they are heated, as one that contains a large amount of brown sugar will become a paste while it is hot. An advantage of a dry rub over one with some liquid in it is that the dry rub will last for months, while one with a liquid in it should be used the day it is made.

--------------------

[Tell me some more about rubs and perhaps give me a few really good recipes.]

Rick Thead--

The rub is the second most important part of the barbecue process, next to the smoking technique. There are two main concepts to keep in mind when formulating your rub. The proportion of salt should be great enough to trigger osmosis and begin to draw the moisture from the surface of the meat, and (some may disagree with this) the proportion of sugar should not be excessive because it will caramelize and burn during smoking and leave a bitter taste. However, since sugar contributes to osmosis, it is an important component and shouldn't be eliminated.

Beyond that, your rub should only be limited by your imagination. Other ingredients to consider can include paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, oregano, sage, or whatever sounds good to you.

I like to keep my rub in a shaker for easy application. Rub should be applied at least the night before smoking. Anything longer, up to three days, is better. Shake the rub over the entire surface of the meat to be smoked. Use a generous amount at first and then, as it starts to get moist and adhere, add more. I don't think it's necessary to "rub" it in. I find that that only results in uneven distribution, and besides, it stains your hands. Wrap the meat loosely in butcher paper and leave in the refrigerator until a couple of hours before smoking.

I find rubs to be far more useful than marinades especially for large pieces of meat such as briskets and pork butts. For cuts such as these, the internal and external fat melts through the meat during cooking keeping it moist. I believe that the texture of the meat is improved by drawing out excess moisture, before cooking, through osmosis. The dry surface of the meat and the rub itself combine to produce a flavorful and attractive crust on the finished product. Unless it is thoroughly blotted dry on the surface, marinated meat won't color properly.

My favorite rub comes from a great book, "The Thrill of the Grill" by Schlesinger and Willoughby.

All-South Barbecue Rub

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

2

tablespoons sugar

2

tablespoons salt

2

tablespoons brown sugar

2

tablespoons cumin, ground

2

tablespoons chili powder

2

tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper

1

tablespoon cayenne pepper

4

tablespoons paprika

Simply mix together. I usually double or quadruple the recipe since it is used liberally.

===============

Danny Gaulden--

Here is my rub and I like it a lot for almost everything. You can apply it generously without it being too strong, but gives a nice gentle flavor.

Danny Gaulden's General-Purpose Dry Rub

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

3/4

cup paprika

2

tablespoon chili powder

1/4

cup black pepper

2

tablespoon garlic powder

1/4

cup salt

2

tablespoon onion powder

1/4

cup sugar

1

tablespoon cayenne pepper

Mix ingredients together.

==============

Editor--

Here are some other dry rubs List members like to use.

Granddad's General-Purpose Dry Rub

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

2-1/2

tablespoons d ark brown sugar

1-1/2

teaspoons dried sweet basil

1/8

teaspoon ground cumin

3/4

teaspoon ground coriander

3/4

teaspoon ground savory

3/4

teaspoon dried thyme

3/4

teaspoon black pepper

3/4

teaspoon white pepper

2

tablespoons paprika

2

teaspoons dry mustard

2

teaspoons onion powder

2

teaspoons garlic powder

2

tablespoons salt

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store in a tightly-sealed jar in a cool dark place.

===============

Poultry Perfect Rub

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

3/4

cup Hungarian paprika

1/4

cup black pepper freshly ground

1/4

cup celery salt

1/4

tablespoons sugar

2

tablespoons onion powder

2

teaspoons dry mustard

2

tablespoons cayenne
zest from 3 to 4 lemons dried and minced

Mix ingredients in a bowl. Store in a tightly sealed jar in a cool dark place.

Source: "Smoke and Spice" by Cheryl and Bill Jamison

===============

Carey Starzinger--

Here is one of my favorite dry rubs:

Barbecue Spice Mixture

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1/2

cup chili powder

1/4

cup hickory flavored salt

3

tablespoons onion powder

2

tablespoons cumin

1

tablespoon paprika

1

tablespoon garlic

1

tablespoon brown sugar

1

teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2

teaspoon dry mustard

1/2

teaspoon lemon zest

Mix ingredients thoroughly and store in a tightly-sealed jar in a cool dark place.

===============

Garry Howard--

Dry Rub No. 1

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1

tablespoon paprika, Hungarian

1/2

teaspoon celery salt

1/2

teaspoon sugar

1/2

teaspoon sage ground

1/2

teaspoon mustard, dry

1/2

teaspoon Chipotle powder

Mix all ingredients well and store in refrigerator, covered tightly.

Source: Grillin' And Chillin' Food TV Show GR3603

==============

Bear's Brisket Rub

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

2

tablespoons garlic powder

2

tablespoons onion powder

2

tablespoons salt

2

tablespoons pepper

1

tablespoon thyme

1

cup dark brown sugar

Mix ingredients well and store in a tightly-sealed jar in a cool dark place.

=============

Jack's Dry Rub

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1

teaspoon sage

1

teaspoon salt

1

teaspoon pepper

1/2

teaspoon cumin ground

Combine all ingredients, and mix well.

Source: Grillin' & Chillin' Food TV Show GR3626

===============

Garry Howard--

"On The Grill" Memphis Rib Rub

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

3

tablespoons paprika

1

tablespoon onion powder

1

tablespoon garlic powder

1

tablespoon ground basil

1 1/2

tablespoons dry mustard

1

tablespoon red pepper powdered

1/2

tablespoon black pepper

Combine dry rub ingredients and rub onto ribs.

Source: On The Grill Magazine - June 1997

===============

Garry Howard--

Cambridge Dry Rub

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1/2

cup dark or light brown sugar

3

tablespoons salt

3

tablespoons black pepper

3

tablespoons chili powder

2

tablespoons cumin powder

2

tablespoons paprika

2

teaspoons garlic powder, optional

2

teaspoons lemon pepper, optional

I adapted this rub from a recipe by my good friend Chris Schlesinger. His version is in his book "The Thrill of the Grill", which he wrote with John Willoughby. I have altered the quantities of the ingredients to suit my own tastes. This is an excellent all-purpose rub for chicken, fish, pork, or lamb, and can also be a breading for deep-frying. Sprinkle it into the batter for deep-fried zucchini, onion rings, or mushrooms. Wow! For a basting sauce or marinade, I add soy sauce, vinegar, and water.

In the top half of a double boiler set over simmering water, combine all the ingredients. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the sugar begins to melt and the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to 100F. Pass the mixture through a sifter. Use immediately or store in a cool, dark place. Rub will keep for several months.

Source: Chris Schlesinger

===============

Spicy Chili Rub

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1

tablespoon black pepper freshly ground

2

teaspoons cayenne pepper

2

tablespoons chili powder

2

tablespoons ground cumin

2

tablespoons brown sugar

1

tablespoon ground oregano

4

tablespoons paprika

2

tablespoons salt

1

tablespoon granulated sugar

1

tablespoon white pepper

Mix all ingredients in small bowl and store in a tightly-sealed jar in a cool dark place.

==============

Kansas City Barbeque Society Dry Rib Rub

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1

teaspoon dried Lemon powder

2 1/2

teaspoons black pepper

6

teaspoons sugar

2

teaspoons MSG

1

teaspoon paprika

Combine seasoning thoroughly and store in a tightly-sealed jar in a cool dark place. Rub into meat and refrigerate overnight before cooking.

==============

Willingham's Beef or Pork Dry Rub

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

4

tablespoons salt

1

tablespoon black pepper freshly ground

1

tablespoon lemon pepper

1

teaspoon onion salt

1

teaspoon mild chili powder

1

tablespoon cayenne pepper

3

tablespoons brown sugar

1

teaspoon white pepper

1

tablespoon thyme dried

1

tablespoon rosemary dried

1

tablespoon cornstarch

In the top of a double boiler, combine all ingredients accept the cornstarch. Heat over simmering water until the ingredients are warm to the touch (about 160F). Stir continuously during heating. As the sugar dissolves, it may form a crust. Transfer the heated mixture to a glass bowl and cool to room temperature. Break apart the crusty mix and rub the mixture between your fingers so that it becomes granular again. Add the cornstarch and stir to mix. Use immediately or keep in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in a cool dark place.

Source: "John Willingham's World Championship Barbecue"

==============

Kansas City Barbeque Society Barbeque Rub

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

2

cups sugar

1/4

cup paprika

2

teaspoons chili powder

1/2

teaspoon cayenne

1/2

cup salt

2

teaspoons black pepper

1

teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients and store in a tightly-sealed jar in a cool dark place. Use as a rub for any barbecued meat.

--------------------

[I see rub and sauce recipes calling for chili powder. What is this, just powdered chiles?]

Editor--

Pure powdered chiles are properly called 'powdered chiles'. A 'chili powder' is a combination of one or more powdered chiles and other ingredients. Below is Garry Howard's personal chili powder recipe. Use this mixture wherever chili powder is called for. Kit Anderson says compared to homemade recipes, the chili powders you buy in the store taste like cardboard.

Garry Howard's Personal Chili Powder

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

2

ounces ancho chiles dried and roasted

4

ounces red New Mexican chile dried and roasted

1

ounce chile de arbol dried and roasted

6

tablespoons cumin seeds toasted and ground

6

tablespoons garlic, granulated freshly purchased

4

tablespoons oregano, ground preferably Mexican type

4

tablespoons hot Hungarian paprika

Garry suggests that for the best chili powder, roast the chiles first. Visit Garry's web page for complete directions on how to roast the chilies.

=================

Kit Anderson--

Chris Schlesinger's Barbecue Rub for Fish

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1/4

cup paprika

1/4

cup cumin seed toasted and ground

1/4

cup coriander seed toasted and ground

1/4

cup brown sugar

1/4

teaspoon salt

1/4

teaspoon pepper

Mix ingredients well.

==============

Carey Starzinger--

Latin-style Spice Rub

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1/4

cup cumin

1/4

cup chili powder

2

tablespoons coriander seeds crushed

1

tablespoon cinnamon

1

tablespoon brown sugar packed

2

tablespoons salt

1

tablespoon red pepper flakes

21

tablespoons black pepper fresh ground

Combine all the ingredients and grind to a powder in a spice mill, coffee grinder, or with a mortar and pestle. Store in a tightly seal jar in a cool, dark place. It will keep for about 6 weeks.

Source: "The Great Barbecue Companion, Mops, Sops, Sauces, and Rubs" by Bruce Bjorkman

==============

Memphis-Style Dry Barbeque Seasoning

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1

tablespoon garlic powder

1

tablespoon onion powder

1

tablespoon white pepper

1

tablespoon black pepper

1

tablespoon chili powder

1

tablespoon ground red pepper

1

tablespoon cumin

2

tablespoons paprika

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Pour into a salt shaker. Sprinkle lightly on ribs or chops during grilling for "dry" barbeque flavor. Once ribs are ready, shake seasoning over meat to taste and serve. Use this method along with barbeque sauce for an extra spicy effect.

Source: "Mesquite Cookery" by John "Boog" Powell

==============

Kansas City Style Barbecue Paste

Amount

Measure Ingredient Preparation Method

1/2

cup brown sugar

1/4

cup molasses

1

tablespoon paprika

1/4

teaspoon chili powder

1/4

teaspoon cayenne chile powder

1/4

teaspoon ginger, fresh minced

1/4

teaspoon allspice

1

tablespoon salt

1/4

teaspoon black Pepper

1/2

teaspoon garlic paste

1/4

cup vegetable oil

1

tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1

tablespoon yellow mustard

Mix all ingredients and rub paste onto the surface of pork or beef.

--------------------

[Do I have to use an exact recipe or a commercial rub for doing good barbecue?]

Belly--

There are as many ways of doing barbecue as there are people--there are no two going to do it just alike. I use both salt and brown sugar in my rubs and sauces and anything else I can find. I don't think I ever make a rub or barbecue sauce the same two times in a row. I may try but there is always something that is a little different. So just play with your sauces and rubs and get them to where you like them.

==============

Editor--I saw a post some months back (couldn't find it again for inclusion here) where the poster said that he kept a jar for combining left-over rubs, a little of this recipe, a little of that. He said one day he used his left-over jar for the rub on his barbecue meat and this 'special blend' produced the best barbecue he'd ever made. Of course, he couldn't recreate it!

--------------------

[When you use a barbecue marinade or rub, is it a good idea or a bad idea to pierce the meat all over to allow better penetration of flavor? Can this cause too much fat/moisture to leach out during cooking?]

Editor--

If you choose to use a rub or a marinade, do not pierce the meat. This will allow too much moisture to escape the meat.

--------------------

[I've heard of powdered Worcestershire sauce. Where can I get it and what can I do with it?]

David Jernigan--

I use it in almost all of my rubs--beef, chicken, pork, fish. I don't use a lot. Maybe a tablespoon whenever I make any kind of rub. I have four quart jars labeled 'beef', 'chicken', 'pork' and 'general'. When one gets low, I mix up another batch and add powdered Worcestershire in with whatever is left. So, say I am mixing 3/4 of a quart of rub for pork, I put about a tablespoon of powdered Worcestershire in that. For beef, I use a little more.

One thing you have to worry about with Worcestershire powder is that you have to keep it in an airtight jar. As it gets older, it has a tendency to clump into something close to granite. If you have it in a rub that sits around, make sure it is well mixed. Otherwise, you get small little rocks in the rub where the powder has clumped together.

I get Worcestershire powder at the grocery store (Albertsons). It's pretty much available everywhere around here. I think David Wade invented it or claims to have and he lives around here, so its pretty common. The stuff at Pendarys is better than what I get in the supermarket, but it is about twice as expensive. Of course, everything at Pendarys is expensive, but you can count on everything being a quality product and there are some things I just can't get anywhere else.

------------------------

[Can you tell me about using mustard on the meat before I give it a dry rub?]

Editor--Summary of several posts--

You can rub the meat (pork shoulders, butts or picnics, ribs, briskets, etc.) with mustard prior to rubbing on the spices for a different taste in the finished product. Just give the meat a good rub with plenty of mustard and then let it sit for a few hours in the refrigerator. Then put on the dry spice rub and let the meat sit in the refrigerator overnight. What kind of mustard do you use? Plain old yellow mustard works well but you can also use the fancy mustards. Experiment with different types and see what kind tastes best to you.

Search the FAQ

Go to the Table of Contents

Download the FAQ in different formats!

Download all the recipes in the FAQ!

BBQ FAQ Ver 1.0, 2.0 1997, 1998 William W. Wight. All rights reserved.

Thursday, November 25, 1999
Hit Counter

 
Copyright 1998, 1999  - This site, the name, it's contents, and graphics are the exclusive property of the The Pitmaster and are in no way associated with the Rick Thead Mailing List.   All rights are claimed and reserved. Web space provided courtesy of  Web site Design and Hosting Services
Maintained by The Pitmaster