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Sprinkling A Rub?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
In his book, The Great Barbecue Companion, Bruce Bjorkman assures me that rubs are not meant to be rubbed into the meat but rather to be sprinkled over it -- WHAT!?!?

I've never actually done a rub -- only marinades -- but have been wanting to try a good rub... I always thought I understood the world: now, I have come to find out that I have NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON! Is there no order to matter???

OK, so if one sprinkles on a "rub" (ha!), does one first need to lay down a marinade or some sauce to ensure the spicy crust, that is surely the goal of the rub, sticks to the meat and does not come off in one piece when one slices the meat?

Also, a side query on rubs: is there a special ingredient to make sure the meat stays juicy and moist 'neath a rub? (Or, does that crust keep moisture from escaping?)

Thanks in advance guidance,

post #2 of 12
Bruce is correct in that all you need do is apply the rub to the meat and you don't actually have to rub it in since it won't get too deep anyways. Rubs are meant to be a topical application unlike marinades/brines.

As for pre-application of a rub, most of us use yellow mustard. It not only helps the rub stick to the meat without adding any flavor, but the vinegar in the mustard does help to start to break down some of the meat fibers.

The secret to moist/tender meat is the low and slow cooking process where the meat is cooked slow enough the there isn't as much internal pressure trying to push all the juices out of the meat like grilling or roasting over higher heat would do.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
...but I thought it was commonly accepted that smoke dries out meat -- ?
post #4 of 12
Then why is a rub called RUB if you're not suppose to rub it on? If you just sprinkled it on, wouldn't it just be called salt and pepper?icon_question.gif
post #5 of 12
Same reason you Drive on a Parkway and Park on a Driveway...icon_mrgreen.gificon_mrgreen.gificon_mrgreen.gif
post #6 of 12
I normally dump, spread, wait a few minutes, then do the other side. Whatever rub sticks to the meat in the few minutes I wait generally turns out to be the right amount. Any flavor the rub will impart internally leeches in during cooking.
post #7 of 12
I sprinkle my meat very heavy with a rub, then pat it to stick it to the meat. I find if I rub it, most will fall off.

now I have never used mustard or anything under the rub to hold it on, I don't understand how the mustard could not impart a flavor to the meat. but I have never had a problem getting rub to stick to bare meat, I just make sure it is moist not dry.

post #8 of 12
Well, take a look at some of the finished Qview pics and you will see that is not the case. biggrin.gif Of course it dries it out some from its original moisture content of when it's packaged, but it doesn't dry it out as much as grilling or a high heat cooking method, which when done properly, can still result in a very juicy piece of meat.

I guess if the rub just contained salt and pepper, it would be. But why isn't a marinade called a "soak". biggrin.gif If it makes you feel better, don't call it a rub, call it a pat.

Try the mustard. You won't taste it after it's cooked. But you're right. Just rinsing the meat then putting on the rub seems to work for me as well.

post #9 of 12
I guess that I don't know if I'm right or wrong but I "Sprinkle" the rub on the meat and them I "Rub" it into the meat and then I do it again after a nighttime stay in the refrig and then it to the smoker with it. Now if I'm wrong then I'm wrong but doing it the "Wrong" way sure taste like the "Right " way to me.
"MY WAY" taste good way
post #10 of 12
I get my meat wet with water then sprinkle it on then massage it in then sprinkle pepper on it. The water makes kind of a paste on the outside. I don't think there's a wrong way to do it, just the way you like it.
post #11 of 12

Replace the water with Frenchies Yellow mustard.

post #12 of 12

I've always been curious about the same....if you read books and watch shows, most clearly say to "rub" the rub into the meat.


My experience has always been that after I sprinkle the rub on, if I try to rub it in, I rub it off.


Rubber gloves with a little oil on them solves that problem.


However, I am very generous when applying rub and leave my rubs on for at least 12 hours before putting the meat to the smoker. I paint whatever I am smoking with exception to fish and jerky with mustard and sprinkle the rub on. That's it. The mustard will moisten the rub and wet it to the meat surface. The vinegar in the mustard will break down some of the tougher sinews on the meat surface.


As far as smoking "drying meat out". I've never heard of masses of people claim that "smoking" dries meat out. Unless you are preserving fish or making jerky I guess. The whole point of BBQ'ing was that poor folks could only buy the tougher cuts of meat....brisket, pork shoulder, all the cuts that are lower on the animal. BBQ'ing - Smoking, not grilling made these cuts tenderize by a low heat and slow cook process. You're taking a piece of meat past well done to the point where connective tissue falls apart.


Living high off the hog, back in the day, meant you had enough money to buy ham. If you were broke and bought a ham, people would say that you're living high on the hog. Isn't it funny now that most people will arrive in masses to good BBQ joint and order those poor cuts. Ever seen a ham joint?

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