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prime rib rub

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

i put a rub on prime rib; the main ingredient was pepper and garlic.  i rubbed the beef with honey to make the rub stick - acceptable or not?

post #2 of 4

Usually not a good idea, but there's some wiggle room depending on how and for whom you're cooking. 


Honey burns at a fairly low temperature, and burnt sugars are bitter.  If you roast at a lowish temp, say around 250F, you might be able to avoid the bitterness problem.  But still...


Very few sweet rubs are what you'd call complimentary to beef.  Unless you use very little honey and combine it with something mutually complimentary, mustard for instance, you're likely to end up with something which tastes a little strange.  The largest class of exceptions to "no sweet rubs" on beef which I can think of are some styles"Southern" barbecue which call for some brown sugar in the rub -- usually complimented with cayenne or something similarly spicy.  You often hear the phrase, "a little bit of sweet and a little bit of heat."  But outside of the south you seldom see sugar in beef rubs, even for (low and slow) barbecue.  


There may be some ethnic traditions too, but they're not ringing any bells as I write. 


As a sort of general rule, honey works best as a glaze, applied near the end of cooking; and works best with poultry or pork. 


Without advocating my own taste as any sort of arbiter, I don't use anything sweet when seasoning beef.  Not for "high end," and not even for barbecue. 


If the surface of the meat isn't absolutely dry, the rub will stick anyway -- so unless you want to season the fat (which you probably do), you don't need to do anything extra.  The best way to season the roast -- fat and all -- is to remove the fat cap in one piece, season the entire roast, then return the fat to the meat and truss it in place over the rub.  I have to say though, that this isn't something you want to try for the first time for a Christmas dinner.  Getting the fat cap off in one piece isn't hard, but practice makes a difference.


If you want to trim the fat very close, so you have just a little AND want to make your rub stick, there are a few ways to go about it which don't involve honey.  The first is to use a slather -- made from baseball mustard, mayo, or a mix of a stronger mustard like dijon and mayo -- then apply the rub over the slather.  Slathering -- especially with baseball mustard alone -- is a very common practice with barbecue. 


The second is to put your rub in the blender and make a paste by adding oil and/or pureeing it with onions and fresh herbs. 


My suggestion is that you wipe the roast clean with a damp towel and start over with a mustard/mayo slather.  Because prime rib doesn't have much surface area relative to the portion size, you won't really taste your rub unless you season very heavily.  So... season very heavily.


If it is already too late, oh well.  Don't worry about it 'til next time.  We're talking about the difference between good and better.  Everything will be more than fine for today.


Good luck and merry Christmas,


Edited by boar_d_laze - 12/26/12 at 7:44am
post #3 of 4

I agree with BDL, sugar and beef are a combo that I don't care for. A good rub of olive oil will make rub stick also, I use it on bison which is very lean and needs the fat.

post #4 of 4

Mustard always works for me.

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