What Do You Know About Dry Rubs?

If you’ve always had an interest, but never tried dry rubs for smoking, grilling or barbecuing, read this article and learn how to properly prepare your favorite cuts of meat before cooking on a grill or in a pit smoker. We at Texas Flame And Smoke have developed a great array of dry rubs and seasonings for just about any occasion. We’ll have more seasonings coming your way for an even greater variety as we continue to develop.

Different Methods for Flavoring Meats

Several different methods for flavoring meats can be used during preparation and cooking. Seasonings, dry rubs, and marinades, or any combination of all of these prior to cooking will enhance the flavor of each specific cut of meat. Enhancing the meat flavor, not masking it to taste like something else, is the ultimate goal. Choosing the fuel to cook the different cuts, controlling the speed of cooking, and the temperature maintained during cooking all play a part in enhancing meat flavors. Dry rubs, in concert with the gasses in smoke created by charcoal or firewood, is the best flavor enhancer of any meat in my humble opinion. (We’ll discuss different cooking methods in another article.)

What Are Dry Rubs?

Dry rubs are, simply put, a combination of seasonings and/or spices that are applied to the meat in a dry form and rubbed or patted in so that the meat surface is penetrated. The individual dry rubs are designed and blended to enhance the flavors of the different meat categories. The most common rubs you’ll likely find are Brisket Rubs, Pork Rubs, and Sweet BBQ Rubs.  With that in mind, however, any and all of them can be used on just about anything, depending on individual tastes. Some dry rubs are even used to season salads and vegetable dishes.

Applying a Dry Rub (to Marinate)

Just as the name implies, dry rubs are rubbed or patted into the meat. However, before rubbing in the dry mix, it is generally best to apply a light coat of a vinegar and oil mixture, or just a light coat of oil to wet the meat and enhance penetration and absorption of the rub. If time allows, let the larger cuts of meats set in cold storage for several hours to marinate. Usually one hour per pound is a good rule of thumb for marinating. (More about marinating methods in another article.)

Making the Best Dry Rub

The best barbecue dry rubs are as individual as the art and science of barbecuing – and no two are exactly alike. The two basic ingredients of most rubs are salt and sugar in one form or another. Granulated sugar, brown sugar, and dextrose are common sweeteners used in rubs. Salts can be as simple as table salt or the different grinds of sea salt or kosher salt. Spices, including paprika, garlic, onion, oregano and others are added depending on the meat cut flavor being enhanced. The spiciness or heat level of the rub is adjusted with the use of cayenne pepper, ground black or white pepper, as well as the many different chili powders available.

The Science of Flavor Enhancement in a Dry Rub

All ingredients in dry rubs serve a particular purpose. Here’s the science of  a rub in a nutshell. Meat has an extremely dense structure. Salt, because of its tiny molecular structure, is the only element in a dry rub that will penetrate the meat more than a fraction of an inch. Because of this, you may want to use a dry brine (salt rub) on larger cuts and leave it on overnight so the salt can penetrate deeply into the meat. The salt helps the proteins retain moisture, thus giving it that succulent enhancement we all strive for. The other spices won’t penetrate the meat more than a fraction of an inch, even when rubbed in. However, using dry rubs with different herbs and spices gives a flavorful surface and that nice “burnt” spice enriched bark that we all look for on briskets and other larger cuts of meats. Try a dry brine rub in your next brisket or pork butt before applying your usual dry rub to see if it improves your meat flavor. A word of caution though; if your rub already has salt as an ingredient, be careful not to oversalt with too much rub.

Looking For the Best BBQ Rubs In Texas?

Texas Flame And Smoke has the best Texas Style BBQ rubs around. Proudly made in the Lone Star State.

Call Us At (979) 731-1179 Today!

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