You know I've noticed that when I do BBQ catering gig, i get a lot of the same questions over and over again.

"What kind of rub do you use?"

" Do you make your own rub?"

"Do you use the same rub on poultry and meat?"

So I thought maybe I should do a short primer on rubs and hopefully encourage some of you to experiment with rubs of your own. Maybe one day you will have your own rub on the grocery store shelves! (Hey, it could happen.)

Now a "rub" is just a seasoning mix that is meant to enhace the flavors of meat. It probably got it's name because some people like to rub it into their meat. Personally patting works just fine for me.

Before you start experimenting with rubs, I suggest you follow this one simple rule. Cook a piece of meat with just salt and pepper on it. Experience the taste of the meat without any extra flavors. This way you have a taste baseline and you will know when you are enhancing the flavor and when you are covering it up.

Tasty Barbecue on a stick BBQ ribs

Here is a basic savory barbecue rub:


4 parts kosher salt 4 parts garlic powder 2 parts black pepper 1 part cayenne

You can use this rub on any type of meat with great results. just remember that measurements aren't as important as keeping the proportions correct.

Some people like a sweeter rub on their meat, especially pork. Here is a more complex rub that would go well with a pork butt or some spare ribs.


8 parts brown sugar 4 parts kosher salt 4 parts paprika 2 parts garlic powder 2 parts black pepper 1 part allspice 1 part cayenne

I think you will be please with the alternating sensations of sweet, savory and heat.

Well now you are own your own. Go out and experiment with making your own rubs. Don't hesitate to send some of the bak to me so I can try them out. And if you are interested in seeing experimentation taken to it's extreme, check out this Mad Scientist's Experiment. I guarantee that you will find lots of ideas to experiment with. (Special thanks to bigabyte and the BBQ Brethren).



The Survival Gourmet