The Four Steps of Making a Great Dry Rub

Beef brisket dry rub

When it comes to creating a succulent, flavorful main course, a dry rub is often the perfect choice, whether you’re making beef, fish, poultry or pork. This common cooking step is simple, easy and amazingly effective: once you find the best dry rub recipe, you’ll have your family and friends raving about your cooking abilities. However, before you can begin cooking with dry rubs, you need to learn how to use different ingredients to your advantage. Read on to learn how to make the best dry rubs with spices and seasonings you likely already have in your kitchen!

Start With Salt or Sugar
Every dry rub recipe begins with salt and sugar, but different types and ratios of these common ingredients will work better for different recipes. For example, dry rubs for steak, fish and wild game often benefit from a higher ratio of salt to sugar, while dry rubs for pork will taste better from more sugar. Once you have decided which will work better for your recipe, you can play around with different types of these seasonings. Plain salt, for example, gives a good, simple taste, while kosher salt has a coarser texture and sea salt and seasoned salt can add interesting flavors. Meanwhile, white sugar will scorch at higher temperatures and brown sugar adds a sweet taste and nice color to barbecues.

Add a Little Heat
The best dry rubs have a little kick in addition to the sweet or salty taste established in the first step. Slowly add small amounts of this spice until you reach an ideal blend of flavors, being careful not to overpour. Look for interesting flavors, like cayenne pepper, white pepper, black pepper and chile pepper to build the taste you want.

Pick Your Transition Spices
Transition spices are a mild but essential part of the culinary experience: these spices tie together the salts, sugars and peppers and can be used in greater amounts as a result. Common examples include chili powder, cumin and paprika, all of which can be used with almost any type of meat.

Finally, Select Your Signature Flavor
This is arguably the most important step of creating a dry rub, as this seasoning will serve as the most noticeable component of the dish. Carefully considering the other spices you plan to use, select a seasoning like coriander, dill, garlic powder, ginger, onion powder, mustard power, rosemary and thyme. Some cooks are even beginning to turn to products like fennel pollen, an ingredient famous for its strong, anise-like taste, to create an unforgettable taste. Feel free to play around and combine different spices for your signature, but if you plan to use dill pollen or fennel pollen, be cautious: this spice packs a punch, and you only need a little to see results.

Once you have settled on a ratio of the ingredients above, rub the mixture into your meat and cook the recipe on low heat for an extended period. By the time the dish comes out of the oven, the seasonings will have permeated the meat, giving it an unforgettable taste and smell. For this reason, as you get ready to prepare a dry rub, don’t be afraid to experiment with different spices and flavors. However, if you’re worried about making a mistake, you can also buy some of the best dry rub recipes pre-mixed to save time and see some amazing results.

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