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Advantages of Using Smokey Q BBQ Rubs

Advantages of Using Dry BBQ Rubs

The big advantage of dry rubs, and the reason we love using them so much, is that they don't add any additional moisture to the exterior of a piece of meat the way that a marinade does. Whenever you apply heat to chicken thighs, pork chops, or any other piece of protein, the moisture on the surface needs to evaporate before a sear can start to develop, so dousing them in liquid beforehand doesn't make a whole lot of sense. A dry rub—which is, naturally, dry—is going to put you on a faster track to the beautifully-caramelised crust you're after.

But while a dry rub is our preferred pre-cooking treatment for meat, there's nothing wrong with incorporating a liquid element after you've gotten some browning going. We love glaze, we use our cold smoked honey and barbecue sauce, onto during the last few minutes that they're on the BBQ, creating layers of complex, concentrated flavour.

That’s not to say a dry-rubbed piece of protein needs a secondary element. It doesn’t. If you balance all of the elements of a dry-rub correctly, that aggressively seasoned crackly exterior will hold its own. And by hold its own, we mean make you forget about marinades all together. Which you probably should do.

The four Ss

A good rub is like a good orchestra, it has a range of instruments to play all the notes in harmony. They are:

Sugar. Sweetness is a common addition because it is a flavour enhancer it helps browning and crust and bark formation.

Savoury. We speak of savoury as being a pleasant smell or taste, but in the culinary arts, savory flavours come from amino acids called glutamates, green herbs, some spices, garlic, and other flavourings.

Spices and herbs. Not all of them work on all foods, but the spice rack is full of great flavours. Paprika is often included, not so much for flavour as for colour.

Spicy. Hot pepper sensations, often called spicy flavours, are often in rubs because they add excitement, but go easy, not everyone likes it as hot as you do. Black pepper is common, so are ground hot peppers such as cayenne or chipotle. Ginger, horseradish, and mustard powder also fit in this category.