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BBQ Dry Rub

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
So I have a dry rub that I use on just about everything, pork, chicken, ribs, I love it (I also came up with the recipe myself) but I have noticed it lacks the sticking power that I need. It will often melt, having a fair amount of brown sugar, mixing with the juices of the meat at the bottom of the aluminum foil instead of staying on the meat. I find myself getting a brush and re-basting on a regular basis.

My issue, how do I get my dry rub to stay on the meat so I dont have to keep re-applying. Its partly out of laziness, but its also because I want a better product, one that can build several coats of glaze.
post #2 of 15
You post is a bit confusing. First you call it a dry rub, then you call it a baste, then you call it a glaze. They're all different things though and each one is for a different purpose.

I always use dry rubs. I usually coat the meat with a little olive oil and then rub it on. Should stay put. I've never used sugar in a dry rub because it burns and chars. A dry rub will never give you a glaze, only if you add a wet and sweet component to it.

I'm not an expert in BBQ and I do not prefer my bbq to have sugars and honeys too much but in my experience these kinds of sauces are added near the end of the cooking process in order to avoid scorching.

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #3 of 15
It sounds almost like you're more concerned with a crusty layer than just the seasoning. In my view, the rub should be about seasoning first. Textural layers can be influenced with the rub, but don't expect complete adhesion.

Coarse rubs shed more than fine rubs. There are times coarse rubs are appropriate as with a pepper crust. But expect some shedding.

Fine rubs stick better generally and you can get some of it to dissolve faster this way, mostly the sugars and salts. However, they too will shed some, It's just part of how it all works. Remember, meat will exude fat and liquid which will cause some seasoning to dislodge.

I've found that a fine rub looks better on most barbecued meats and eats better without a layer of rub coming off in your mouth. Again, not a hard and fast rule as there is a subset of memphis style that adds dry rub at the end for eating.

Meat needs some preparation for good rub adhesion. Pull off silverskin. It's too slick and blocks flavor. Generally, you need to dry the meat off. If it's too wet, the spices can move more easily than if it's just the tacky dampness of meat.

Oil is of some debate. There are those who claim that it creates a barrier impermeable to the rub reducing the seasoning effectiveness. I think that's somewhat true, but not completely. And there are meats and cooking techniques where this is desirable, say blackening. Not the classic blackening technique, but one I like.

On a related note, chicken skin is not particularly permeable to spices. And it renders plenty of fat that may dislodge the rub as it drips away. However, cooking skin on adds flavor and improves presentation and chicken skin is itself a delight. If you're coooking chicken skin on, then rub underneath the skin as well.

Many people swear by slathers, sort of like the oil theory. Mustard or mayo+mustard are quite common. Paint on a THIN layer, then apply the rub. I like my pork shoulder slathered, but not my ribs. For that pork shoulder, I usually do a light layer of rub, paint on the slather, then more rub. That's also a bit about creating bark. Some slathers are used to help chicken skin cook better at low barbecue temperatures in an effort to avoid the rubbery dry skin.

For a roast where I've used a rub and it will be cooked in the oven, I'll sear it first in a pan on the stove. That helps the rub stick and creates a nice crust. There is also a reverse theory of searing at the end. Both can produce good results, though you'll have more rub stick with the first approach in my experience. There is some debate about how much flavoring the rub can do when seared off at the beginning compared to letting it cook in slowly.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #4 of 15
There are a few problems answering you. Some engendered by what information you've given, and some because you didn't give much.

There are probably two reasons your rub falls off. You're not sticking it to the meat to begin with. You're fooling with the meat in the pit too much.

What Kouki described with her oil is something called a "slather" in barbecue parlance. Oil is okay, but a thin coating of mayonnaise or "sunny yellow" mustard is better. You can even rub dry meat pretty effectively. At any rate, the meat can't be wet before it's slathered and/or rubbed. It must be completely dry.

(It's worth noting that neither mayonnaise nor common "sunny yellow" aka "ballpark" type mustard bring much flavor to the party when used as slathers. Commercial mayo's taste is mostly oil. Yellow mustard's is mostly vinegar and turmeric. Turmeric doesn't have much flavor of its own but does have a tendency to make a lot of ther spices taste a bit more like themselves.)

After the rub is applied, it must be rubbed in. That's why they call it rub. If it's not rubbed in, it will fall off when and if the meat is turned. In fact, pretty much whatever doesn't stick at the time of rub, will fall off during the cook. Unless, that is, it's a low and slow cook. In that case, a good rub will become part of the bark.

That's a problem with your post -- we don't know if you're grilling or barbecuing. Generally, the more specific you are about what you're doing and what you want to do the better we can help.

Good luck,
BDL

PS. I suggest getting rid of the sugar, or at least using very little, for anything but pork. If you want to talk about how to build a balanced rub in another thread, start one.
post #5 of 15
On butts and brisket I use a mustard slather, on chicken and ribs I just aplay a heavy coat of rub and then I let it set for a bit so it sticks to the meat better. While that is going on I get the pit fired up and up to temp which takes about an hour. I never use foil when cooking but I will foil and into a cooler for a rest.
post #6 of 15
I first apply a mustard coat onto the meat followed by either sprinkling or downright rubbing a spice mixture into the meat. Visit The Virtual Weber Bullet - For the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker smoker enthusiast.

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
sorry about that, when I say I re-baste I am just talking about talking the liquid that has melted down from the dry rub. Ill take a brush and try to re-apply anything that has melted off.

It just gets really frustrating when I have this flavorful rub and it wont stick to the meat properly. More often than not, I find myself taking the liquid from the foil and reducing it down. That typically has better sticking power though and I am considering just giving up and using a home-made BBQ sauce or glaze or something.

Sorry for being so ambiguous and thank you for your help
post #8 of 15
You're undoubtedly "basting" too much. This is one part of a larger problem -- you're messing with your grill,smoker, and/or the food on it too much.

Also, I can't believe you haven't said whether this manifests during grilling or barbecuing.

If you put more on that the meat and slather can hold, the excess will fall off.

If you don't rub it into the meat, it will fall off.

If you turn the meat a lot, or otherwise move it around, it will fall off.

What foil? When did the foil happen?

Are you smoking part way, then wrapping? If so, you only open the foil once -- to take it off. While the meat cooks in the foil, humidity builds up in the package until it becomes moisture and moves on to full blown wet. Yes, this will wash some of your dry rub off off. But foiling is not a part of a dry cook. There are perfectly good reasons to foil; it's easier to get a tender product and the cooks goes quicker. Unfortunately your bark (sufrace texture) isn't as good, and you get a braised quality to the meat. A wrap is not a dry cook, it's a choice, and you have to accept the consequences.

It's very common for people who wrap to use a mop or glaze when the meat comes out of the foil.

A picture is starting to emerge. You wrap.

As I said, having the rub get wet and fall off is just a normal part of wrapping. Some people even push the process by adding a little moisture to foil pack before closing it up -- very good practice. Excellent, in fact. Your method of using the seasoned the juices to mop the meat after opening the foil is a fine way of getting flavor back onto the surface of the meat. You don't need to use a "barbecue sauce," although you certainly can if you like. There are no "rights" or "wrongs" here. Different techniques give different results is all.

One thing though, you should restrict yourself to two mops. Once when you open the package and get your meat back in the cooker; and once just before the meat comes out. That means there isn't time to reduce the juices before the first mop. The biggest reason not to mop frequently is to keep the cooker's doors closed -- which in turn keeps the temperature steady and teh atmosphere humid.

It's only natural to knock off almost all of the rub, doing foil wrap cooking. But you've independently co-invented (aka stumbled upon) one of the best ways of saving all that flavor and putting it back. That is, using the juices. Whatever seasoned juice is left, you can dump into your sauce.

Good luck,
BDL

PS. It would be helpful if you'd actually describe what you're doing in step by step fashion instead of us hoping we'll guess right.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Step 1, put my product in foil, top open. I only do this for easy clean up, the foil is never closed

Step 2, cover product with dry rub of brown sugar, salt, chili powders, other spices and gently rub into meat

Step 3, place on grill, or in oven (depending on whats the weather is like, ill do this inside with oven and broiler). Remember, foil is still totally open. In fact, at no point is the foil closed, its just there for cleanup but ends up catching all the juices.

Step 4, Cook. I will occasionally check up on the meat, and notice the whole rub has melted away (being brown sugar based) This is obviously my stumbling block.

Step 5, Pull the product when done, drain any juices that have accumulated, reduce them into a sauce and put that on the meat. I finish on direct fire or broiler for a very short amount of time, re-apply wet sauce and serve.

I do get the great 'bark' as you call it, then cover that with more wet sauce and it comes out great, I guess I just want to change my methods up a bit. To be perfectly honest, this method has given me phenomenal results, however I was hoping I could eliminate a lot of the drippage somehow.
post #10 of 15
I have a tip for easy clean up so you don't have to use foil. When you remove your food from the grill, have a bucket of cold soapy water nearby and dip the grill brush (the wire bristled brush) into the water and scrub the grates, then when you've cleaned the grates, dip a rag into the water and wipe down the grates. That's what we do and it works great!

We've cooked hamburgers on the grill on foil a time or two but didn't like it. We like the grill marks on our food and they seem to taste better than when they steam in their own juices. The juices drip down onto the hot coals and helps to season, at least that's my take on it. I noticed that a lot more using a gas grill in which there was no smoky flavor to season the food.

In my opinion, using that foil is keeping your meat moist through steaming and that's part of the reason your rub isn't staying in place.
post #11 of 15
I think this a good part of your problem, you're not giving your meat a chance to seer and keep the natural juices inside. The meat is more 'steaming' in its own juices.

Also, you mentioned you "gently" apply the rub... as BDL said, you need to RUB it INTO the meat.. That's why it's called a 'rub'... Dry your meat and get it IN TO the meat with some energy. And get the meat ON the grill... it's a BBQ.. it's supposed to get dirty. The heat will clean it up.

It sounds like you've got a great rub in flavor so give a chance to really work!!
post #12 of 15
Already there have been lots of good and informative responses... although I have to say a lot of that information is academic and not really addressing your question :) (No offense guys!)

Basically you need to use the right rubs for the right jobs... if you are BBQing a dish that is a slower cooking meat (i.e. tri-tip and thicker cuts) then you are going to want to avoid rubs that use a lot of sugar because they tend to char.. Also if you do use rubs with lots of sugars in it then you want to make sure you coat the thicker meats ahead of time and also allow them to sit and achieve near room temperature before BBQing... (this allows the sugars to diffuse into the meats and reduce charring)

If you are making a meat that is made for searing and fast cooking (i.e. a good steak, filet, etc...) then sugar in your rub is great because the crust on the outer layer it creates adds to the flavor.

The key is to understand what types of sugars you use and how they react to heat (if that is really your problem)... for example, a granulated sugar or brown sugar will melt and char much faster then a smaller mix of a powdered sugar. (Again I am not a huge fan of using powdered sugars in rubs, but I just wanted to illustrate my point...)

Anyway, I hope that helps from a simple/practical BBQ standpoint (I love grilling!)
post #13 of 15
Rub means rub and you simply rub it into the meat. PERIOD.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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post #14 of 15
Hmm.

True 'dat. Depends what you mean by "BBQ." If you mean cooking low and slow and mostly indirect (smoker or open-pit), it's pretty difficult to get the meat's surface temperature hot enough to actually scorch the sugar. The actual scorch point of sugar is 350F. That's not an oven temperature or air temperature (convection) but a contact or immersion temperature. So, I'd have to disagree with the reasoning behind this. While you sometimes see enough heat to do this in a "Santa Maria" style open-pit barbecue, it's uncommon anywhere else. In fact, it's almost always the sign of a poorly managed pit.

Anyway, when it comes to 'cuing tri-tip, whether direct or indirect, sugar is not a good rub component.

Remarkably untrue. You get maximum penetration, about `1/4" of dry rub, within 30 minutes. With a few exceptions, long, "dry marinades" are pointless.

This is the statement that brought me back into this thread -- because it's so wrong. Chef, remember what you said at the top of this post, how sugar burns? That's exactly why you don't want much sugar, if any, on meat that will be grilled over a direct heat. It will not form a crust ("bark" in barbecue language), but will char quickly, than burn. Burnt sugar is never desirable because it's bitter and smells bad.

If you like, you can a sweet sauce at the last minute and get a little char on it, than pull. Alternatively, you can sear, mop with a sweetish sauce or glaze, then finish cooking indirect.

The reason the OP's rub is "melting" is not because of the sugar, but because he's essentially braising the meat. The meat "sweats" during the cook, and the moisture dissolves and washes the rub off.

This needs some 'splainin'. Chef, forgive me, but I don't think you "understand what types of sugars you use and how they react to heat," either. Granlulated sugar is crystallized, refined cane juice, crushed to the appropriate texture. Brown sugar is granulated sugar plus a little molasses -- light brown has less molasses, dark brown has more. Powdered sugar is crushed granulated sugar plus a little cornstarch to keep it powdery. Since all three are pretty much granulated sugar," how do you think they differ in their response to heat? Hint: They don't -- at least not by much.

As a general rule, it's a good idea to reserve sugary rubs for slow cooking pork. For all other meats and techniques, if sweetness is desired, it may be brought later. This is true for barbecuing (indirect or open-pit), high-heat indirect (as in a Weber Kettle), and trebly true for grilling.

Sorry to come down on you so hard, but it's important to keep these things straight.

Hope this helps,
BDL
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
BDL, you are awesome, ty for all the help
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