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BBQ Dry Rubs and Wet Rubs

What is Dry Rub?

A Dry Rub, a.k.a Spice Rub, is a blend of various crushed spices, which are prepared in order to be rubbed over the raw meat before it is cooked. Usually, a Dry Rub is used for cooking chicken, pork, ribs, steak and fish. The dry rub is rubbed all over the meat and then usually left to be marinated for some time. This allows the flavor to slip into the meat and gives a nice color or texture after being cooked. There is no single universal Dry Rub recipe as such. There are plenty of rub recipes available, which vary from region to region and culture to culture. A dry rub recipe varies based on the type of meat. With that said, BBQ professionals take years to perfect their Dry Rubs and hold the recipes as closely guarded secrets.

Dry RubA typical Dry Rub may be made by mixing one-fourth cup each of paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, salt, crushed pepper and half a cup of dark or light brown sugar. After mixing the ingredients thoroughly, store it in an air tight container or jar. In order to make it a little “special”, you can add ground red cayenne pepper, dry mustard and ground bay leaf. But, when talking about Dry Rubs, don’t forget that there are more than one or two standard recipes.

To bring out the true flavor, the Dry Rub recipe for chicken is a little different from above. A more appropriate dry rub for chicken can be made by mixing four tablespoons of paprika, one tablespoon each of ground black pepper, white pepper, sugar, ground cumin, garlic powder, brown sugar, ground oregano, dry mustard, celery salt, common salt and two cups each of chili powder and cayenne pepper. After mixing all the ingredients, rub the mixture on the chicken meat and wrap it up in silver foil and let it marinate for at least seven hours before cooking. Again, the message is that the Dry Rub needs to be tailored for each type of meat, fish or chicken.

The recipe for a good Dry Rub for ribs is not much different when compared to the chicken dry rub. All you need to do is use red pepper instead of the black and white peppers. You may also want to exclude oregano and cumin from the above recipe to make a more suitable rub for ribs. Opinions differ on the amount of time to marinate the ribs in the rub. Some recommendations are overnight, whereas others suggest marinating the ribs will be only one hour.

The general recipe for the Texas style Dry Rub differs yet again. The Texas Dry Rub is probably as famous Rub Dry Rub into Meatas Southern Dry Rubs. A typical Texas Dry Rub mixes one fourth cup of salt, half a tablespoon of white pepper, garlic powder and lemon peel. Then you add one tablespoon each of celery salt, cayenne pepper and dry mustard. Add two cups each of black pepper and chili powder. Finally, add three cups each of paprika and ground cumin seeds. This rub can be used for marinating chicken, beef, pork and also fish.

As you can see some of the basic properties of Dry Rubs are consistent for each meat and at least somewhat in geography. But, we should note that by adding just one or two new ingredients or changing the mix of ingredients, the flavor of the rub is greatly enriched and gives a nice mouth watering taste and aroma to the food. So, there are no bounds in experimenting a little with the conventional Dry Rub recipes to come up with your own Dry Rub. You can pull up your sleeves and take a stab at your own trademark Dry Rub today.

It can take years to develop just one great Dry Rub.  Of course if you want to move right to the perfect combination of Dry Rubs, browse the selection at ArmdilloPepper.com. We offer a wide variety of Dry Rubs for all types of meats. You will find special “Hot” versions, Dry Rubs with Bourbon, Dry Rubs with Orange and Habanero, with Rosemary, with Chipotle and more.

Let's disclose one BBQ secret right here.  Before applying any Dry Rub (or Wet Rub which we discuss below), always remove the Rib Membrane.


What is a Wet Rub?

The only moisture that the Dry Rub has to adhere to the meat’s surface is the moisture of the meat itself. Some people apply a light oil over the meat before applying the dry rub, while some folks just roll the meat in the rub mix directly. (If you decide to roll the meat, be careful to not allow excess Dry Rub to stick in some places of the meat and overshadowing the real flavor of the meat.)

When a Dry Rub will not adhere well to the meat many people use a Wet Rub. A wet rub is basically a Dry Rub with some marinade or oil added. They are generally used in barbeque (BBQ) smoking, baking, grilling and are rubbed or sprinkled all over the meat before they are left to marinate (may range from 1-7 hours, depending upon the type of meat). You marinate the meat in order to penetrate the skin of the meat with the specialized Rub spices and flavors.

A simple recipe of wet rub includes hot chili powder, cayenne, fresh ground pepper and lemon juice. The main advantage of the wet rub is that it adheres better to the meat. This is very significant when it comes to cooking chicken or pork, because the surface of poultry meat is dry in nature. Therefore, when the wet rub is applied over this type of meat, it forms a layer to help prevent the drying out process. There is another simple and easy way to keep the natural juices of the meat intact. All you need to do is add some oil in the wet rub. Apart from this, there are two more advantages of adding oil to the wet rub. The first is that the oil content keeps the meat from sticking to the grill. The second advantage is that oil gives a stable thick paste, which is needed for any wet rub.

Rubs can be simple or complex depending upon what you want to make. Over time people tend to improve and refine any particular rub. At the end of the day it is a personal taste statement. There are plenty of recipes available and you may already have most of the simple rub ingredients in your kitchen  But, again, if you don't want to spend years refining and perfecting your Wet Rub, select any of the ArmadilloPepper.com Dry Rubs to make a perfect start for your Wet Rub.

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