Jeff's Rub was a miss, what next?

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AxxelH

Newbie
Original poster
Dec 15, 2021
5
3
I'm still a beginner, but I've had a number of happy meals using commercial rubs from some Texas favorites (Salt Lick, Rudy's). Typically that's been tri-tip and (a lot fewer) pork ribs. As those commercial bottles run out I've been wanting to try homemade rubs. Since Jeff's Rub gets discussed here so often, that seemed like a place to start.

Last weekend's ribs we done with the (purchased) recipe for Jeff's rub, and cooked using his directions. The results were solid from a cooking perspective, but the flavor profile was not a success. Too little salt, very unbalanced paprika. The feedback was clear, this was not a repeat, and was so far off it was not worth trying to tweak.

I've been allowed the opportunity to try a new experiment this weekend to redeem myself!

However, a lot of the frequently-mentioned alternatives on this forum also seem to be in the same flavor profile. For example, while recipes for "Magic Dust" are all over the place, many seem heavy on paprika relative to salt and other spices. I recognize that Texas rubs have a different flavor profile than traditional pork rubs, but Jeff's "Texas" rub drops the paprika entirely, which seems like moving too far in the other direction.

Is there another well-liked "baseline" pork rub that's starts in a different direction than Jeffs?
 
Welcome Axxel, Glad you found SMF! The whole point in the homemade rubs it to tinker with them until you find what you like. If you thought the salt and paprika were off, keep notes and adjust at the next go. After a few attempts, with notes you find out what works for you. That’s kind of the fun of it , to tinker till it’s your taste. I think you’ll find that with most recipes.

There is no shortage of opinions when it comes to anything in bbq. The only thing I think most people who enjoy to BBQ can agree on is everyone has their own preferences and one reason we like to cook is it gives us some control over what we want.
 
I'm still a beginner, but I've had a number of happy meals using commercial rubs from some Texas favorites (Salt Lick, Rudy's). Typically that's been tri-tip and (a lot fewer) pork ribs. As those commercial bottles run out I've been wanting to try homemade rubs. Since Jeff's Rub gets discussed here so often, that seemed like a place to start.

Last weekend's ribs we done with the (purchased) recipe for Jeff's rub, and cooked using his directions. The results were solid from a cooking perspective, but the flavor profile was not a success. Too little salt, very unbalanced paprika. The feedback was clear, this was not a repeat, and was so far off it was not worth trying to tweak.

I've been allowed the opportunity to try a new experiment this weekend to redeem myself!

However, a lot of the frequently-mentioned alternatives on this forum also seem to be in the same flavor profile. For example, while recipes for "Magic Dust" are all over the place, many seem heavy on paprika relative to salt and other spices. I recognize that Texas rubs have a different flavor profile than traditional pork rubs, but Jeff's "Texas" rub drops the paprika entirely, which seems like moving too far in the other direction.

Is there another well-liked "baseline" pork rub that's starts in a different direction than Jeffs?

Hi there and welcome!

Not that I would call this some secret rub but you get amazing flavor on pork ribs, pork butts, and chicken when you go Salt, Pepper, Onion, Garlic, and Paprika.

Go Pepper, Onion, Garlic, and Paprika in about equal amounts, and enough so that it sticks to the meat about at a level the meat wants to allow while it's wet/bloody (not using any mustard here). The meat being wet will dictate how much it naturally wants to take and that is kind of a natural way to easily measure how much of those to add. If you keep add more than it wants to naturally hold, well you are just caking it on and will get out of balance for sure.
Then do Salt separately but not too much salt. I say salt is about 70% of what you added for any of the other seasonings. Ribs are VERY EASY TO OVER SALT.
Also don't worry if not too much sticks to the bone side. Whatever sticks, sticks and thats it.

This should do the trick for you because it does it amazingly well for me every time.

Notice there is no sugar mentioned.
If you nail the seasoning mentioned above then you can add some sugar in your next attempts if you like. Or don't add it at all. I don't add sugar at all and just put BBQ sauce on the ribs when they are on my plate. I get all the sweet I want from the BBQ sauce. This keeps things simple and makes it so everyone can easily customize to their tastes while on their plates.

Simplicity is often the key with most of this stuff we are doing. People often get good results in spite of doing simple things because everything else they do is overkill on top of the simple things lol.

I hope this info helps :)
 
Salt, pepper and garlic, maybe throw the sugar in there if that’s your palate. The rest is all noise. Simple is always better. 4-5 ingredient meals are often the best. Keep it simple in foundation and build from there. In Jeff’s original rub, I up the salt and lower the sugar. You just have to play with an established baseline and work it from there To your preference. No magic dust or bullets. No rub or technique will make you famous. You have to search that out for yourself by trial and error.
 
Seems to me as though generally you don’t enjoy the flavor of paprika. Neither of the commercial rubs you reference are paprika forward. I don’t think the standard salt lick rub has any. Everyone has their own taste but most commercial pork rubs are heavy on the paprika and brown sugar. For beef I’d say just SPOG and add some herbs as you like. For pork perhaps try Memphis rub.
 
Seems to me as though generally you don’t enjoy the flavor of paprika. Neither of the commercial rubs you reference are paprika forward. I don’t think the standard salt lick rub has any. Everyone has their own taste but most commercial pork rubs are heavy on the paprika and brown sugar. For beef I’d say just SPOG and add some herbs as you like. For pork perhaps try Memphis rub.
I'm with you there. Salt, Pepper, Onion, & Garlic (SPOG) is the big 4 and basically any meat taste great with just those 4 seasonings. Everything else added is to start tweaking to hit another flavor profile but its all based on the big 4 SPOG :)
 
Welcome to SMF
Great suggestions above.
Most commercial recipes are way to salt forward for my taste.
Jeff's is way to sugar forward for my taste.
You also don't need to cake on the seasoning that is so commonly seen on YouTube videos. A pork butt maybe, but ribs need a light dust if any at all.
I normally do not spice (rub) my pork ribs. I only use paprika in my spice blend on pork butt and no sugar.
...
Is there another well-liked "baseline" pork rub that's starts in a different direction than Jeffs?
tallbm tallbm beat me on the SPOG or Salt, Pepper, Onion powder, and Garlic Powder suggestion for a start.
Note, the ratio is not the order of the ingredients.

Does all paprika disagree with you? I have American, Spanish, and Hungarian in my cabinet. I detest American or generic paprika. My favored is Spanish. Maybe give that a trial?
 
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Welcome to SMF!
Maybe you should start with just S&P, and add ingredients from there. We have been using just S&P on most meats with very good results. Ribs taste like smoky pork, instead of being overwhelmed with the flavor of a rub. Just a thought!
Al
 
I'm in the salt , pepper and smoke crowd .
I do mix one up , but put it on veg and pasta / potato salad the most . Use it on chicken too .
Base is turbinado sugar and mesquite powder . I do it all by taste .
 
Hi there, and welcome from Iowa!
Yep... what they ^^^^^^^^ they all said! They all gave you some good ideas. There are alot of rubs you can buy but if you don't really care for them then you have a whole bottle of something you really care for. So totally your choice...good luck! Look forward to what you come up with and some food pics!

Ryan
 
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I'm with others on this...
Salt is the biggee... weigh the meat, add 1.5% salt... then add others.. Add what you like best.. then reduce other spices that you like not so much... If the spices are in containers, weigh them before and after addition to get an idea of where you are... Note all the weights as to #'s of meat for later use.. Make adjustments accordingly...
 
WOW. The info in this thread is killer! I will tack on a few things but the basics are already covered. I much prefer Jeff's tex rub. If I use his classic one I sub chili powder for the paprika and cayenne. I like too like the simplicity of SPOG but no onion for me. SPG and that is fresh cracked black pepper only.
 
SPG works for just about everything.

I like to season several hours to a day prior to smoking the meat.

With pork being so drippy and washing away some of the seasonings, a nice finishing sauce can get the flavor profile right where you want it.
 
I got a big basket of rubs under the Xmas tree year before this last one. All I ever use them for is a rack of spares or a butt, I like Sea Salt and CBP on my steaks. I was thinking I could just dump them all into a big bowl and mix them up, can't tell much difference between any of them. RAY
DSCN2598.JPG
 
Wow! Thanks for the welcome and all the responses. Forgive me if I try a bit to summarize, since many responses seem to group together...

I definitely want to experiment with tweaking a rub to my family's taste. The problem I faced was that Jeff's rub was so far removed from their their preferences that it didn't feel like a place where it was just a question of what to add or subtract. Its hard to riff on a song you didn't much like in the first place, I'd rather start with a new piece of music. Hence the search for a new starting point.

I don't think we object to paprika in general, the extended family pulled pork recipe (unsmoked, don't yell at me! :emoji_astonished:) is well-loved and has the paprika, etc. flavors I associate with "southern" vs "Texas" BBQ. I had considered using that recipe's spices as a rub, but decided instead to explore the collective wisdom first (hence the attempt with Jeff's).

I take the SP, SPG, and SPOG recommendations seriously, and already use it in other contexts (beef grilling vs smoking). For pork I was looking for something more, and my wife does like restaurant ribs that have the brown sugar notes. That said, I take the point that I should try it simple sometimes too.

Beyond that I see a recommendation for "Memphis" rub, does anyone have a particular reference? A search produces many results, these seem plausible:
Thanks again for all the feedback...
 
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We've been getting away with what I call "POG".
That would be all the above "SPOG" mixes, minus the SALT.
I haven't added Salt to anything in years, whether the other ingredients include it or not, but that's because I have far too many health problems that came up since my Open-Heart Surgery that I never had any reason to worry about before.
You'd be surprised how quickly you can get used to Salt Reduction.

Bear
 
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