Make These BBQ Rubs for Your Most Flavorful Grilling Season Yet

Make These BBQ Rubs for Your Most Flavorful Grilling Season Yet
Make These BBQ Rubs for Your Most Flavorful Grilling Season Yet

The critical elements to the most flavorful meals are salt, fat, acid, and heat (there’s a reason that’s the name of one of our favorite Netflix binges and a popular cookbook). For BBQ fare, the grill brings the heat, and the meat offers the fat naturally. So all you have to do is invite salt and acid (and maybe some sweet) to the party, and you’re sure to win a BBQ blue ribbon from your friends and family. Enter: BBQ rubs. Here, you’ve got a complete guide on how to make and use BBQ rub and the real difference between wet and dry rubs.

What Is a BBQ Rub?

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13 Best BBQ Rubs & Seasonings for Grilling in 2023

A BBQ rub is a mixture of herbs, spices, and seasonings liberally applied to coat the outside of meat, poultry, or fish. Salt is always a great starting place for a rub. It helps the rub penetrate, and it rounds out and brings together the flavors of the ingredients. Here are some common types of salt used in BBQ rubs:

  • Table salt : Very fine grains
  • Kosher salt : Coarse grains
  • Sea salt : Evaporated from seawater, can be fine grains or larger flakes
  • Seasoned salt : Table salt + other spices

How to Make BBQ Rubs

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13 Best BBQ Rubs & Seasonings for Grilling in 2023

To begin your search for the perfect rub, determine if you want a wet rub or a dry rub.

Dry BBQ Rubs

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13 Best BBQ Rubs & Seasonings for Grilling in 2023

Just like it sounds, dry rubs contain only non-liquid ingredients. A dry BBQ rub is all about achieving that perfect crust that boosts the meat’s flavor (not the moisture content). The mix of dried herbs and spices, plus salt and sugar, adheres to the natural moisture of the poultry, meat, or fish. For the best results, a rub needs time to work its flavor magic. So how long do you leave dry rub on steak, chicken, turkey, or pork? That’s up to you: The longer you allow it to sink in, the deeper the flavor will be. Allow the BBQ rub to rest on the food 15 minutes to 2 hours (and up to several hours if you’ve got time) before tossing the meat on the grill or in the smoker. It depends on the density of what you are applying it to and the strength of the flavors in your BBQ rub recipe.

Test Kitchen Tip : Store all raw meat in the fridge before or after it’s rubbed to avoid food safety risks.

Wet BBQ Rubs

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13 Best BBQ Rubs & Seasonings for Grilling in 2023

On the flip side, wet rubs add a moist ingredient to the spices and herbs. The resulting texture is similar to a paste. Common liquid wet rub ingredients include horseradish, mustard, finely chopped garlic, oil, and yogurt. They adhere to food more easily than dry rubs, and you’ll achieve maximum moistness and flavor if you allow them to marinate the meat for at least an hour (in the refrigerator, of course) before cooking. Since wet rubs are ideal for adding moisture, they’re often used on tougher cuts like flank steak and skirt steak, which could use more time soaking up the wet rub. As a general rule, apply wet rubs 2 to 6 hours before cooking. And it bears repeating: Keep rubbed food in the fridge, for safety’s sake.

Test Kitchen Tip : To use chicken rub, if the skin is still on, use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the meat, then add the rub under the skin.

Storing BBQ Rubs

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13 Best BBQ Rubs & Seasonings for Grilling in 2023

If you’re searching for how to make BBQ rubs in advance, you’re in luck: Dry rubs will keep in tightly closed containers for up to 6 months. Wet rubs will generally keep for a few weeks when refrigerated. For the longest shelf life and best results, use recently purchased dried herbs and spices. Most lose their flavor after the bottle has been open within 9 months to a year.

Try these BBQ Rub Recipes for Your Next Grilling Session

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13 Best BBQ Rubs & Seasonings for Grilling in 2023

Here are a few BBQ rub recipes that are sure to add big flavor to your meat without much effort:

  1. Classic BBQ Rub

    • 2 tablespoons paprika
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  2. Sweet and Smoky Rub

    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  3. Herb and Citrus Rub

    • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
    • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
    • 1 tablespoondried oregano
    • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
    • 1 tablespoon orange zest
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  4. Spicy Cajun Rub

    • 2 tablespoons paprika
    • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  5. Smoky Chipotle Rub

    • 2 tablespoons chipotle powder
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  6. Maple-Bourbon Rub

    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1 tablespoon maple sugar or syrup
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Feel free to experiment with these recipes and adjust the quantities according to your taste preferences. The beauty of BBQ rubs is that you can customize them to suit your personal flavor profile.

Are expensive BBQ Rubs a rip off? Homemade BBQ rubs that cost less \u0026 taste better REVEALED

Are expensive BBQ Rubs a rip off? Homemade BBQ rubs that cost less \u0026 taste better REVEALED
Are expensive BBQ Rubs a rip off? Homemade BBQ rubs that cost less \u0026 taste better REVEALED

Conclusion

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13 Best BBQ Rubs & Seasonings for Grilling in 2023

With these BBQ rub recipes, you’re well on your way to achieving the most flavorful grilling season yet. Whether you prefer dry rubs for a crusty exterior or wet rubs for added moisture, there’s a recipe here for you. Remember to give the rub enough time to work its magic by allowing it to rest on the meat before cooking. And don’t forget to store your rubs properly for maximum freshness and flavor. So fire up the grill, apply your favorite rub, and get ready to impress your friends and family with your deliciously seasoned BBQ creations!

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