1. Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

To Rub or Not to Rub?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by ozrugby, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. The night before....  That is my question.  I see a lot of people suggest both sides.  I usually rub and wrap overnight, but I read a lot about how the rub is for the coating, not the flavoring, so rubbing just before smoking is fine.  My opinion is that I get a huge mess in the fridge every time I do it the night before, so if no need, I will be rubbing the day of smoking.

    Please chine in.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  2. damon555

    damon555 Smoking Fanatic

    I never could tell the difference.....I just do it right before it goes on the smoker now.
  3. wade

    wade Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    It depends on what you are cooking. For me the rub is there for flavour as well as coating. I always apply it the night before and vac pack. I find this has more effect on larger joints though than for ribs - it seems to make little noticeable difference with ribs if you leave in on for 2 hours or for 12. If you specifically want to use the rub for coating then simply apply a little more before putting it in the smoker.
  4. foamheart

    foamheart Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Every person will have their own thoughts. Personally on a large meat like a butt or a brisket, I rub wrap in plastic wrap, let set 2 days in the fridge, start my smoker, bring it to temp and/or get the pretty smoke puffin, then I unwrap, re-rub and put the meat on. I always heard salt in rubs causes dehydration, the drawing out of the moisture you want to say in the meat. I usually use light brown sugar sparingly on my pork to seal the meat. It will encapsulate the skin as it liquifies then caramelizes, crystalizing, creating a delicious outer skin to help hold those juices.

    Small meats, ribs, turkeys, loins, chickens, etc I just sprinkle with salt and pepper, maybe go wild and use some onion and garlic too. I have in the past sometimes rubbed a loin or two, ( a pork loin!), and the out come was delightful. I like Tony's More Spice on my fowl skin. There are also some tastee recipes here for home made ones also.

    So its all about your whims, your wants, your time, your techniques.

    I have never rubbed a piece of meat which it did not bring some additional flavor to the party. I do rub it though, I learned long ago, to massage the spices/herbs into the meat, just like a back rub. I also do the 2 day wrap in the cooler.

    As to the mess, you need to do a better wrap, don't think any of mine have leaked, course now the mojo is on me, the next one will for sure! But think of it like when eating crawfish, its ain't good till the juice is dripping down your elbows.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  5. ironhorse07

    ironhorse07 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I rub the night before when I have the time. I have left rubbed meat in the fridge 3 or 4 days with no problems. When we had our bbq business going full steam, most of the time it was rub then into the smoker, really did not notice any difference. ribs I still rub just before smoking.
  6. wade

    wade Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Like Foamheart says - You probably need to do a better wrap.

    What are you wrapping in?

    When I first started I was wrapping in plastic film. This would result in a lot of mess as the salt in the rub draws out quite a bit of moisture from the meat. Storing it in the fridge in a roasting pan did help catch the escaping brine and minimise mess.

    I quickly moved on from there to putting it in large press seal food bags from the local supermarket. This worked well and keept the resulting brine contained.

    Moving on to vacuum packing was the most effective step as not only did it contain the natural brine produced by the rub but it kept it intimately in surface contact with the meat - ensuring that none of the flavour dripped away.