Whether you’re smoking a prime rib, grilling an expensive cut of premium beef, or roasting a chicken over the grill, you can use a dry rub seasoning to enhance the flavour of any type of meat.
The mixture of dry ingredients rubbed well into the meat can bring out those juicy and succulent flavours and supplement them with their own flavour notes.
While dry rubs are a really great way to infuse more flavour into the meat, to get the taste you so hardly crave when you start the grill, you need to know more than just what seasoning to add to your choice of protein.
It’s not called a dry sprinkle for a reason—you really need to get your hands dirty and rub the seasoning onto the meat to get that amazing flavour.
When seasoning the meat with dry rubs, use a kneading-type motion to get the best results, as this penetrates the meat a lot more. If you’re cooking with chicken, ensure that you get underneath any skin to properly marinade the meat, and if it’s a more delicate cut of meat, you can use less force.
Some people even add a little oil to the surface of the meat before adding their dry rub seasoning to help the seasoning stick to the meat better, which can help retain more of the rub seasoning’s delectable smoky and earthy tones.
While you can cook the meat shortly after you season them with the rub seasoning, the best way to infuse more flavour into your meat is to let the meat sit for a little while.
Simply leaving the rub seasoning on the meat allows it to soak in all the flavours—delicate cuts of meat need only around 15 minutes to absorb the flavour. But, for tough cuts of meat—think pork, shoulder, or brisket—a longer time might be more beneficial.
One of the advantages of using a dry rub over a marinade, however, is that a dry rub doesn’t necessarily have to be left to soak for too long—30 minutes to 3 hours usually gets the job done.
Many people also tend to leave the meat overnight so that the flavours really get soaked in as deep as they can.
The more dry rub seasoning you use, the more flavour you’ll get. Does this mean you should be packing on seasoning just to enhance the flavour? Well, no.
There are times when less is more, especially when you have a particularly fine cut of meat. A high-quality steak, for instance, probably doesn’t require a huge amount of seasoning, as it would mask the flavour of the meat itself.
However, with bigger cuts, there is a lot of meat under the surface, which means that using a lot of rubs will likely not overpower the flavour of the actual meat.
You can even add a second layer of seasoning for these types of cut—you can do this by pressing the seasoning onto the meat, adding a little more, and then pressing it in again. This will add a lot more flavour and will allow the outside to get nice and crispy.
It also helps the meat retain more moisture, allowing the inside to be tender and juicy.
Most rubs have some form of sugar in them that helps the meat get nicely browned and caramelised.
The one rule there is about grilling your meat is that you shouldn’t grill it over direct heat as it will burn the rub seasoning instead of caramelising it—sugars usually burn at around 275 degrees Fahrenheit. So, if you’re grilling your meat, ensure that you coat the grill with a little cooking oil first.
You don’t necessarily need to grill your meat either as you can still use a dry rub even roasting the meat in an oven.
By knowing all these tips on how to make sure that you’re using dry seasoning appropriately, you’re ready to start using dry rub seasoning in your next grilling or smoking session and enjoy the immaculate flavours of your preferred piece of protein.