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Help modifying this rub...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I've used a copycat recipe for Myron Mixon's rub for a while now. Here it is:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil


I really enjoy it but want to modify it a little. I want to cut a little of the sweetness back, cut some of the heat back, and make it a little saltier. Personally, I like the heat, but it's a little too hot for some guests. Granted, the last time I used it on chicken balls, some of the heat could have been from the sauce I used. It was some store bought stuff. Maybe Stubbs?? The red sauce. I'd love any advice from you gurus. Thanks!

post #2 of 9

You may need to re-evaluate the rub on a solo basis...no sauce. Then decide if the heat will be too much, otherwise you have to evalute it with the sauce you'll be using to make a better judgement of the two combined. Also, the sauce could be evaluated on just something simple off the grill or smoker which is naked...straight meat (no rub or anything which could enhance it's flavor).


Black pepper, depending on how fine it's ground (finer is hotter) can pack quite a bit of heat on it's own...maybe cut by 1/3 to 1/2. I'd leave the cayenne alone, as it's a very low concentration (just by eyeballing and not grabbing a calculator), but it could be reduced or even omitted.


If you want reduced sweetness and increased salt, I'd just cut the brown sugar in half....that should increase the saltiness by indirectly making the salt a more of the predominent ingredient. Overall, I'd say that with reducing very much of the main ingredients, you will notice that the other ingredients which remained at the same measures will actually be a higher cojncentration in the mix, so you'll use less of the blen to have that same amount of the basil, onion and garlic...use less rub for the same background flavor...make sense?


EDIT: after looking it over a second time, cut the sugar and increase the salt by the same amounts, then, nothing else will change, cut the black pepper/cayenne as dicsussed above for heat reduction...should do the trick.


Rubs are really a pretty basic way of enhancing your smoked/Bbq dining experience...you just need to understand what individual ingredients can do for the overall flavor profile, and which ones go the best with certain meats, poultry, fish, etc. The more basic your ingredients, the easier it is to control the profile and get a reasonably enjoyable flavor with different meats. What you have is pretty basic, and should go well with most anything you'd smoke. When you start complicating the ingredients, the blend will begin to stray away from being an all-around rub and become more of a specialized rub, best suited for a certain species, cut, smoke wood, etc. You can go pretty deep into it, if you choose to do so.



Edited by forluvofsmoke - 6/20/11 at 1:37pm
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

GREAT info. Thanks so much, Eric. See, I have a big problem with spices. I'm still fairly young (27) but have been cooking for years. However, I'm still not great with spices. I know that salt is salty and pepper brings heat, and other elementary logic. But I don't know spices well enough to know what to add to something when I want more X flavor. I wish I could take a seminar in spices and seasonings or something. I've never created my own rub from scratch. Just don't have the knowledge to do so without wasting stuff. And spices get kind of expensive. Anyway, thanks for the sound advice. I'm probably going to try it this weekend on some chicken.

post #4 of 9

You're most welcome!


Since you mentioned not having a very good knowledge about various spices & herbs and are hinting about possibly wanting to make your own rub in the future, this should be a valuable tool for you...I googled spice listing and had tons of hits, but this one seems to have a good general description of the most widely used, from the general basic stuff all the way to the really exotic. They also list what dishes, meats, etc that they are most commonly used for, and, the spices are listed alphabetically by name for reference:


You may want to bookmark this so you can reference it whenever you fancy the idea of trying a new blend:



When you're thinking about putting together your own rub blend(s), you can find what's on the list for the particular use you're intending, and dig through your spices and find what you have to work with, and if you feel inclined, purchase what you don't have.


My main spices are chopped onion, minced dried garlic, black pepeprcorn, kosher salt, sweet basil, parsley flakes, cumin, sage, oregano, thyme, red chili powder, crushed red pepper (cayenne) and ground cayenne pepper. Sometimes, I'll grind up some ancho chili (milder and different flavor profile than red chili), jalapeno, red bell pepper or green bell pepper for certain specialty recipes of mine, but the first listed items can make good specialty dry rubs for pork, beef and poultry, as well as a basic fish rub. We buy in bulk containers whenever possible, unless it's something we don't use much of or very often, but then, we do alot of cooking from scratch and are feeding 7+, depending on if we have guests. The 1lb or larger containers are typically double what you'd pay for a couple onces in a small container, so if you'll use alot of it, you may as well get enough to last. Garlic, peppercorn and kosher salt, especially.


Have fun smokin'!



post #5 of 9

I'm no guru compared to many.  I've been smoking for several years but am new around the forum.  You might think about adding a touch of fine ground coffee.  I've used a touch of Starbuck's to achieve a little more depth and another flavor level and interest in a rub.  I find a little goes along way, and it does seem to cut the sweetness as well.  Start with a teaspoon and see what you think.  -- Addison

post #6 of 9

   SC,you may have already tried this,but take some of your favorite Spices and play with them...(you can get a very close perception of how it will taste by smelling it; or you could actually taste it and decide if you like or not).

   I like well pronounced flavors in my Rub. Some Spices a lot of people overlook or don't think as a BBQ spice are:

Cloves(ground)  ,  Cinnamon(ground)  ,  Chinese 5 spice powder  ,   Mace  ,  Tumeric ,  Sugars   and others you may like. Be epxerimental,try different mixes and come up with something you and the Family enjoy on Beef,Pork and Fowl (you might want different taste on each type of meat).

   I tend to go simple,as on Beef(especially Brisky) I use only S/CBP.put her in at around 225*f and let her go till done.

   The choices are yours,yes there are a lot of good rubs out there, but `I like my mixes(that coming from a retired Chef).biggrin.gif

   Have fun and ...

post #7 of 9

take out the cayenne and sub it in with crushed red peppers or chili powder. leave the amount of sugar and add more salt or maybe add onion or garlic salt

post #8 of 9

Warm a bit of water in the microwave, dump a small amount of the spice in question in the warm water, and stir.  Basically make a tincture.  Give it a good deep smell and then a sip.  Write down your own impression of the flavor profile.  You can play this game a couple of times even closing your eyes and trying to guess the name of the spice. Once you get the basics try mixing two of them together and see if the flavors and smells compliment each other.  You just want to get basic flavors down, cooking, fat, flavors of the meat and other ingredients will change the flavor profile but this is a good way to start.

post #9 of 9

Your rub is almost 25% salt now so IMHO adding more salt and cutting out sugar simply make the flavor profile more salty, is that what you really want? If it were me I would up the garlic and onion to 2 tablespoons each and add 2 tablespoons of chili powder(salt free BTW). the amount of cayenne will not make this rub overly hot, 1 teaspoon =

< 4% of the total volume.

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