Need a good rub down? Who doesn’t? Just take a walk through your local grocery store and you’ll find a plethora, that’s right – a plethora, of pre-mixed barbecue style dry rubs on the shelves. These lengthy aisles offer many average flavored dry rubs with weirdly odd names and in brightly colored packages. Each seem to promote the fact that they are the ‘Best Dry Rub in the World’. However, this barbecue aficionado is a true believer in the fact that the best dry rubs are made at home, using herbs from your garden and the spices from your own pantry.
Herbs are defined as the tasty leaves of the plant. The term spices actually refers to the roots, bark, and seeds of the plant. In essence, any part of the plant that is not a leaf and can be used for seasoning, would more than likely fall into the category of a Spice.
Either of these can be use in brilliant combinations to enhance the flavor of your meat, fill the area with wonderful aromas and tantalize your taste buds for a distance. They should be customized to match the cut of meat being grilled / smoked, applied liberally and anything left over should be stored in a sealed air tight container.
Salt and pepper lead the pack in these basic dry rub ingredients with sugar and paprika tied for a close second. Depending on the cut, spices enhance the flavor with the idea of taking something great and making it better. Good combinations include ginger, cumin, garlic, and rosemary for pork. Lamb also goes good with a rosemary, paprika and dried thyme. Beef, well, the basic include chili powder, cumin, chili pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper. And as for fish, try the simple flavors of dill, chives, tarragon and fennel. These unique combinations will all depend on your personal taste, the type of dish you hope to achieve and the availability of the ingredients.
Once you have crafted your distinctive rub, it is time to apply this supplementary flavoring to your meat. Obviously, the longer the meat is able to mingle with the rub, the better. You want to place the meat into a shallow pan and gently message a generous amount of the dry rub into the muscles of meat. Be sure to coat liberally and pressed into any pockets you might find. From here cover it with plastic wrap and slide it into the fridge. Let it soak in. Let it help break down the tissues. Let it get tender. In the immortal words of Lennon and McCartney, “Let it be”.
Any good home-made dry rub does have a basic shelf life. If stored in a cool dry place, they can easily last for the entire summer and even into the fall months. Keep your rub in an air tight container, be sure to label appropriately and always have these readily available. Use them often and rub vigorously. Hell, be inspired to create your own concoction and then share with friends. Nothing is out of bounds when it comes to your taste buds.
Here are some great dry rub recipes you can make at home. Use them on these cuts of meat to enhance the flavor while cooking on the grill or in the smoker:
- Deep Fried Turkey Rub – Be sure to rub under the skin to flavor the meat.
- Kansas City Style Dry Rub – Baby back ribs
- Memphis Style Dry Rub – Spare Ribs
- Carolina Rib Rub – The south has risen and brought flavor to your ribs!
- Texas Style Brisket Rub – Gives the meat a “meaty-meat” type flavor.
- Barbecue Chicken Rub – Tasty and spicy to tantalize those mouth-buds.
Just a few more tidbits below to ensure your dry rubbed dish is prepped correctly, cooked properly and seasoned appropriately:
- Choose a good cut of meat. This means size, marbling, color and flavor. A large chunk of beef may look fine and dandy at the market, but if it’s a tough cut and it’s too big for your family, what’s the point?
- Prepping your meat means trimming off any additional fat or membrane to clean up the cut. Be sure to season well, really get the dry rub into the meat and then allow it to sit for at least an hour or even overnight depending on the cut.
- Be sure the meat is not off colored and for God’s sake check the expiration date!
- And always, ALWAYS know the final temperature the meat should reach to kill off any bacteria.
- Be reminded that meat temperature rises a bit when pull from the oven, so remove accordingly.
- Allow the meat to rest afterwards for a few minutes to let the juice re-mingle and keep the meat juicy.
Find your inner BBQ Master and try a few different types of seasoning. Grow some herbs in your garden, clip a few and dry out to add to your customized rubs.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em and don’t forget your bib.