Spices and Seasonings for My Brisket Rub
Your basic BBQ rub recipes are simple to make and easily adjusted to suite your personal taste. But if you get the rub just right, people will swear that your BBQ is one of the best things they've ever eaten in their life. Really.
Barbecue rubs are a mixture of herbs, spices, and seasonings that you apply or rub onto your meats, poultry, and fish before cooking. The purpose, of course, is to enhance or add flavor.
To build your base for most BBQ rub recipes, you start with three simple ingredients: salt, pepper, and sugar. The salt and sugar complement each other well when balanced just right.
The pepper, of course, is how you add and control the heat of your rub, whether it's ground black pepper, cayenne, chipotle, or some wonderful combination.
Paprika is another common ingredient in your basic BBQ rub recipes. The type of paprika usually specified is your typical grocery store variety, which some recipes call "sweet paprika" to differentiate it from your smoked, Hungarian, and Spanish paprika.
This type of paprika (sweet paprika) has little flavor and is used mostly for coloring as it gives a nice, burnt orange or deep reddish color when used. For a bit more flavor, experiment with the other aforementioned varieties of paprika.
From these basic ingredients you can now begin creating your own signature rub. However, here are a few tips to keep in mind...
Sugar: For pork cuts like ribs, and especially big cuts like butts and shoulders, you want to be able to use your rub generously. Sugar is great with rubs for pork. But be careful - sugar can help you get a nice "bark" or crust on your meat, but it can also result in a burnt crust if you don't know what you're doing.
Salt: All salt is not created equal. A tablespoon of table salt will contribute noticeably more "saltiness" to a rub than a tablespoon of course salt because of the difference in the size of the grain. The grain of table salt is very fine, so you get much more actual salt in a tablespoon (i.e., by volume) compared to course salts, which are a larger grain.
Types of Salt
However, if you weigh your salt, then the size of the grain doesn't matter. An ounce of salt is an ounce of salt.
Finally, you should tailor your BBQ rub recipes to the type of meat you're cooking or how you're preparing it. As mentioned, salt and sugar play off each other well. I'm generous with the sugar in my pork rubs, but I use very little in my rubs for beef brisket.
In my rubs for chicken, I may or may not use sugar - it just depends how I'm preparing it. At any rate, sugar-based rubs are not used on anything I'm going to grill over high, direct heat because sugar burns easily.
Now regarding the BBQ rub recipes listed below, I won't legislate which ones go on pork, beef, chicken or fish unless it was created specifically for or goes exceptionally well with one of the three.
Just use them on whatever you like, even veggies. Remember: Experiment and have fun!
(enough for 1 slab of spare ribs)
(enough for a 5-6 pound brisket)
(Good Housekeeping Magazine)
(Use 3/4 cup per pound of fish)
(I created this for use when I brine my chicken)
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