What makes a good rub?
Spices and Rubs
What you do before you cook meat makes all the difference in the world. Letting your meat sit in dry spices and rubs for some amount of time will give the meat flavor and can even bring meat extra juiciness.
Dry spices and rubs create a bark on the outside of whatever meat you’re cooking, and that bark holds in the moisture. Put it together well, and the spices and rubs that builds the bark also provides some incredible flavor in the meat.
This basic formula provides what makes a good rub:
- Binder: Something neutral that provides a abase for all the other flavors. Paprika is a commonly used binder for traditional barbecue dry rubs.
- Salt: You want some kind of salt in the mix for flavor, texture, and its tenderizing effect. Salt draws out other flavors in your rub. Table salt, sea salt, kosher are examples of salts used in spices and rubs.
- Sweet: Sugar adds body and helps balance your dry rub. White sugar does the trick. You get good results from brown sugar as well. Be careful about the amount sugar you use. Too much sugar will give your meat a burnt and bitter crust
- Power: Add one or two strong flavors like chili powder, cayenne pepper or curry powder to give your rub some kick.
The four elements above will give you a base but then you can let your imagination run wild by adding things here and there until you find the flavor you’re looking for.
When you start putting together a rub, determine the main flavor you want to come through and make that flavor the important one. If you want a sweeter rub, use more sugar than salt. Use the same amount of salt and sugar if you want a balanced rub.