I have to agree with many of the reponses I read here. The KISS method...the old timer may have been truthful, or he could have been toying as well, not wishing to reveal his family's secret traditional recipes...can we blame him? We may never know the truth, but I think the truth in this instance is not really important.
I can say that I used to blend some fairly complex dry rubs for my spares ribs, etc., over the past several years. I remember the days when my ingredient count was in the teens. I experimented with different things and would try them for awhile. Recently, through comments from my wife, family, friends and co-workers (who also had my Bbq), and my own enjoyment in eating my creations, I have come to the realization that we seem to enjoy the simplest things the most.
I do like to play with the flavors of seasonings, just to see how it brings out the best flavors of different foods. Enhancing the good and smoothing out the less desirable flavors was always the agenda...then I would move on to the finished apearance and textures.
After reading this and looking back on my past ex[eriences, I think at times, we may find ourselves getting too involved with finding the best...the ultimate in taste sensations, and textures so unique that words can not describe them.
My friends, let the good things come to you and reveal themselves...they will...and when they do, you may revel in the fact that you were there to experience it. There is nothing at all wrong with seeking the ultimate, as long as we can recognize it and enjoy it when it happens.
Great thread you started here, Fishawn!