Dry Spice Rubs
Dry rubs are precisely what they sound like --- a blending of dry spices and herbs that are rubbed onto beef, poultry, pork and seafood. Many folks are of the mistaken belief that rubs are only used when prepping meats for a BBQ or smoker. In reality you can use a dry rub anytime for grilling or even in the colder months for oven roasting.
Dry rubs are also called meat rub or spice rub and they are available in a variety of taste sensations, some tend to be a bit sweet and others have peppery afterburners. The origins of rubs were for the preservation of meat and they help seal in taste, add multiple flavor dimensions and in many cases leave a savory crust.
Typically beginning cooking enthusiasts don’t immediately jump into spice rubs as this is really more of an acquired taste. Usually novices start out with light seasoning for their meat, then graduate to marinades and finally they arrive at dry rubs. Rubs is often when the aha moment occurs as they experience the taste of their meat on a whole new level.
When using a spice rub on red meat allow the rub to sit for at least a couple of hours before cooking. Red meat marries especially well with dry rubs and this is certainly the case where the longer it has to work its way into the meat the better. Overnight is best but you can also add it to you meat before you head off to work in the morning and it will be fine in time for dinner.
After coating your beef, chicken, pork or seafood wrap it in plastic (instead of using a Tupperware bowl) and place it in the refrigerator. We prefer zip-lock bags or industrial size food-grade plastic bags (for larger quantities of meat or larger cuts). The general rule of thumb is to use one to two tablespoons of spice rub per pound of meat --- but certainly you can use more or less depending on your families taste.
So which rub makes the best barbecue? Only you can really decide some folks swear that the Memphis style is best while others are partial to Kansas City style and still others to the flavorful Texas blend. Because each has its own unique characteristics we recommend that you try them all!
You will also find some heated arguments on the use of salt in dry rubs. Some swear that this brings out the flavor of the other spices as well as the meat while others feel that a good rub can indeed be salt free. We think that salt enhances a rub but the key is to make sure that salt doesn't dominate the spice rub. We find that many suppliers use too much salt in their blends as this lowers their overall cost. We prefer to use as little salt as necessary so that that it works in harmony with the other spices.
But we understand both sides so we offer spice rubs with salt and also salt free versions.