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No secrets...but any Rub tips? (place to start)

Discussion in 'Sauces, Rubs & Marinades' started by FishInTheDesert, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. FishInTheDesert

    FishInTheDesert Fire Starter

    I definitely dont want you all to give me your personal rub recipes and ratios. Im a fishermen, and watching these TV shows and YouTube videos on pitmasters....I see that pitmasters hold onto their secrets harder than us fishermen!!! lol

    The other thing Ive noticed, and let me know if im wrong....everyones rub is basically the same(ish)? There might be a few different bases, that people work off and add their own ratios...but to me it seems like at least we are all playing on the same field. Just glad these pitmasters arent getting "persian, silk sifted, double distilled tastey powder." To me it seems like nailing that right ratio, and it hitting the taste buds JUST RIGHT....is what makes a rub, a good rub.

    How far off am I on this thinking? If Im about right....are you all willing to point me to a good resource for base type recipes? I like how a lot of members have created a compilation thread with all their good info...wondering if theres any good rub ones out there I havent come across yet?

    Ive read all the 5 day course and am already loving smoking....and im only 4 chickens, and 1 spare rib rack in!!! I definitely dont want your alls secrets, and understand the pride you all have in the rubs, and also the pride you get in figuring it out too. And also because im a picky eater, and like what I like. And with that being said...one of the biggest things that im fired up about smoking/BBQ'ing is to create my own EPIC rub and also sauces! I wanna start experimenting with making my own sauces this go round....already read a few finishing sauce recipes and I got some ideas for what sounds tasty to me!....lets just hope Im right lol

  2. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    I've made my own rubs now so I'll chime in; good rubs aren't any secret. You can pretty much google any brand name good rub and see what is in it. The secret is that it can be darn expensive to have every thing on hand. I've crunched numbers and determined that by the time I was finished buying every thing, grinding it, mixing and tinkering..I coulda bought the rub for the cost or less.

    That said? Buy Jeff's Book. He has alot of rubs in it, and people like them- but I still think unless you use it alot, just buying some decent brand and then doctoring up per cook ain't a bad way to go.
    JC in GB likes this.
  3. FTD,
    Jeff's book is a good place to start research. Start simple, salt and pepper, work up from there. The most important thing document everything so you can repeat it.
    JC in GB and entourageguy like this.
  4. crazzycajun

    crazzycajun Smoking Fanatic

    I have never read Jeff’s book but I will say the offer on this site is hard to beat read the reviews. Many will use this as a base for experimenting and the recipe isn’t in the book imho
    JC in GB likes this.
  5. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    I bought the book above... MANY chefs were interviewed about which spices/herbs go with what meats etc... It's a very good source because I had no idea what went with what... I didn't know some spices existed..
    jcam222 and JC in GB like this.
  6. AllAces

    AllAces Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Some years ago I reviewed 30-40 published rub and sauce recipes and did a frequency count on the ingredients. I then made up a rub using the four or five top ingredients, minus salt and pepper. From my notes, the top four ingredients were brown sugar, chili powder, mustard powder and paprika. Garlic and onion powder were also top ingredients. The basic four ingredients are a good basis, but not great. Getting a good flavor profile is very much a personal thing. I've tasted award winning bbq that I thought was terrible and I've had backyard Q that a friend whipped together at the last minute that was really, really good. That said, start now to develop your own flavor profile. Don't hesitate to use a commercial sauce or rub, but begin to make it your own. You will find your way through the flavor maze. One ingredient that an award winning pit master passed on to me was to use some form of citric acid, like lime or lemon juice. He used Crystal Lite Lemonade mix in his bbq sauce.
    BTW, I've watched some of those pit master TV shows and the judges seem to look at presentation, bite or chew and finally, flavor.

  7. I'm very new at using Jeff's rubs and bbq sauce but I made the batches and I really like the bbq sauce, texas, and reg rub. I think one of the things I like is it's lower sodium than most of the bought rubs. My recommendation is purchasing those recipes and then you can go from there and change things or experiment to your taste.
    JC in GB likes this.
  8. oldsmokerdude

    oldsmokerdude Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I second what banderson says. Jeff's recipe's are a great place to start, and purchasing them helps support this site. They taste great and don't require any unusual ingredients. It would be the best $10 you can spend.
    JC in GB likes this.
  9. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I've cooked for a loooooong while (but not a chef) and basically meat seasoning for standard cooking is pretty much the same for meat smoking.

    I agree with your hunch that the types of seasonings are pretty much the same and that it just comes down to the amounts. Hell look on any seasoning/rub mix ingredients list and you will see they almost always start with the same 4 seasonings and the ingredients list must be in order from Most used to Least used.

    In short you have your big 4 seasonings. Salt, Pepper, Onion, and Garlic (SPOG).
    I guarantee that if you just go SPOG on any cut of beef, pork, or poultry that you will be amazed at the flavor from such a simple seasoning! You can even improve SPOG by getting better quality SPOG ingredients (Kosher Salt, fresh cracked or ground Pepper, Onion that is granulated or my favorite dehydrated minced/chopped, and Garlic that is granulated).

    Go equal 1 part of POG and add Salt to your preference/needs/liking.
    If you make up a blend of the big 4 it is good to do an SPOG all in equal parts and a POG in equal parts where you will add Salt separately because some cuts of meat like ribs can be EASILY over salted when you are trying to get more POG on them.

    From SPOG you simply add to get to different flavor profiles.
    • SPOG + Chili Powder, Paprika, and Cumin will give you Mexican/Tex-Mex flavor
    • SPOG + Cayenne, and Bay Leaf will give you some Cajun flavor (probably a bit of paprika as well)
    • SPOG + Ginger and using toasted Sesame Seed Oil will give you Asian flavor (Add sea weed/Nori for Japanese flavor), (Sub Salt for Soy Sauce as well for more Asian flavor)
    • SPOG + Paprika will give you pork BBQ flavor
    • SPOG + a little bit of Cayenne or other ground Red Pepper gives you a pretty close Montreal Steak seasoning knock off
    You get the idea.
    Now you can go wild and make a 15 spice mix like some beginners do and I guarantee you that it is basically overkill compared to the simplicity and flavor of SPOG and SPOG+

    Once you get good with SPOG/SPOG+ then you can go as wild as you like. I think the book Dave mentions might go to a whole other level but I imagine we are starting to get into much more nuanced seasonings at that point which again may not fit the bill when Aaron Franklin is making the best brisket in the world with just 2 parts Pepper and 1 part Salt.
    (I personally go SPOG on my brisket lol)

    So that is my 2 cents and if you are ever a skeptic it is simple to go buy even the cheapest $0.50 seasonings of SPOG and grill or smoke a chicken thigh/quarter with it to try it out :)

    I hope this info helps :)
  10. Table salt weighs twice as much as kosher salt, so table salt is twice as salty as kosher salt for the same amount in volume, like tsp, tbsp (but not weight, like g, kg). Helps to know that if you're following and trying recipes.
    zwiller likes this.
  11. ristau5741

    ristau5741 Meat Mopper

    Flavor Bible is a good book for any cook, I have a copy myself

    I use a standard 8-3-1-1 measure for the rubs I make.
    8 part sugar, 3 parts salt, 1 part leafy green spice, 1 part other spices

    type of salt are a discussed issue item, and amounts to make 3 parts is different depending on the type of salt used.
    e.g 3 parts table salt is much greater then 3 parts coarse salt as mentioned previously. (the 3 parts is for course salt, and adjustments need to be made when using table salt or seasoned salt)

    I've come to a mighty good mix, but am dealing with issues where the sugar balls up when rub sits in container for a few days. Trying to get past that, and I'm not sure how. I've tried a coffee grinder, but that make the rub too fine.
    dan the mano likes this.
  12. tallbm

    tallbm Master of the Pit OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Good point. Dave has posted a chart in the past that shows salt weight to sodium content (I think it does) that is pretty helpful and backs up his suggestion to weight spices as needed :)
  13. mike243

    mike243 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    There are so many that it will take awhile to find THE ONE,only advice I can give is if you use brown sugar use brownulated,wont cake up and if you have left over rub a week or months latter it will shake out with out having to bust it up.No taste difference that I can detect,good luck picking just 1
  14. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    GATOR240 and KrisUpInSmoke like this.
  15. zwiller

    zwiller Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You simply must have Jeff's rub and sauce recipes. Tweak em a bit. I find them a little hot... Mixon's book is another great resource. Remember though, no rub or sauce is gonna make up for poorly smoked meat. Focus on producing TBS and holding consistent temps and learn proper IT for the meats. Then learn what woods work for you. These things will have a much profound effect on your end results than a rub.
    JC in GB likes this.
  16. lemans

    lemans Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Jeff's Rub and Sauce is a must... SPOG is a great start. But Jeffs is the bomb... His bbq sauce well
    I always have a batch in my fridge.. If you substitute Mustard for the Ketchup you get an amazing mustard sauce!!
    JC in GB likes this.
  17. Xendau

    Xendau Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    One of the best books ever! A chef i once worked for gave me one as a parting gift when I left his establishment to move on...
  18. smokeybreeze

    smokeybreeze Newbie

    I also agree on the Flavor Bible. I'll also add The Food Lab (J Kenji Lopez-Alt) as a great all around resource.

    Earlier this summer I did a dry rub rib-off up at the lake with 5 different rubs (10 full racks, 2 racks of each), no sauce was used at the grill or at the table.
    The 5 entries were:
    Bad Byron's Butt Rub
    J Kenji's all purpose rub
    Pork Barrel BBQ All American
    Cow Town The Squeal rub
    and one other off-the-shelf sugar-based rub which I can't remember the name of (it was brought by a guest)

    The results were evenly distributed among the rubs by the 16 attendees/eaters.

    That being said, the best rub I've used on spatchcock chicken is CowTown Steak and Grill Seasoning.
    After removing the backbone of the chicken and flattening, I place it in a 10" pyrex pie pan and put it in the refrigerator (skin side up) uncovered for 2-3 days to dry the skin out. When it's time to cook, I get my BGE to a steady 375 dome temp, brush the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with the CowTown Steak rub and cook, direct, for 30 minutes each side. (165 IT breast temp, 180 IT thigh temp).
  19. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    One more tip.... Make any of your rubs without salt.... You can add salt at +/- 2% weight of the meat then ALL the spices you want..
    tallbm likes this.
  20. mng024

    mng024 Fire Starter

    Have any of you tried the texas rub with brisket?