There’s nothing more inviting than the sweet, smoky smell of grilled meat on a summer’s day. The secret is in the seasonings. Our easy-to-make recipe uses ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. This all-purpose dry rub recipe is versatile and can be used on any type of meat for grilling or smoking. Now, let’s fire up those grills!
FAQ About A Dry Rub Recipe
1.Is there a difference between a marinade and a dry rub?
Yes. A marinade is a wet version of a dry rub.
Marinades use an acidic base to tenderize the meat while dry rubs create a light crust around the meat, locking in moisture.
The acidic components of a marinade allow the liquid to be absorbed by the flesh more readily keeping it moist. They may also be used to baste the meat as it cooks on the grill. Chicken, seafood, and pork are good candidates for one.
You can use a dry rub on almost any meat, but it’s especially effective on cuts that are naturally juicy and retain their juiciness when cooked, such as steaks and ribs.
2. What is a dry rub?
A dry rub is a loose combination of herbs and spices and herbs that’s applied to meat before grilling. Sugar is frequently added to the dry rub, to create a caramelized crust as the meat cooks.
3. What does Dry rub do?
Dry rubs caramelize while cooking creating a light crust around the meat, which locks in moisture
4. Is dry rub the same as seasoning?
Seasonings and rubs are both dry ingredients, but they are not quite the same thing. Seasonings are individual or blends of dried herbs and spices used to add flavor to food before, during, and after they’re cooked.
A dry rub is a combination of some sort of sugar, various spices, and salt that is applied to meat before it’s cooked. Rubs provide flavor and texture to meat.
5. When should you apply a dry rub?
There are many different ways to answer this question. Everyone grillmaster has their own opinion about the best way to do it.
Some people say to put the rub on the meat just before you put it on the grill. Other people say to do it hours before. Still, others say to do it a day in advance.
If any of the ingredients in your dry rub are meat tenderizers, putting it on too early will probably make the meat mushy. Who likes that? Yuck!
Most people massage it into the meat just before it goes on the grill, and find it tastes wonderful. We usually do 30 minutes to a couple of hours depending on the meat we’re grilling.
Do some experimenting and find what works for you. Don’t worry about following the rules because there aren’t any hard and fast ones.
6. Can you leave a dry rub on overnight?
Like we just talked about, there are no hard and fast rules for when to put a dry rub on meats. However, one thing we should mention is that if you are using a salted dry rub on meats you need to put it on the meat at least a couple of hours before grilling, but not over 12 hours.
7. Can you use too much dry rub?
Yes, especially a salty dry rub recipe. But here again, everyone has their own taste buds and ideas of the way they like.
We recommend you apply a nice even coat by sprinkling from 6-8 inches above the meat. Pay attention to where you’ve applied it because it will begin to dissolve once it’s on the meat. You may think you’ve missed spots and over-apply the rub if you don’t pay attention.
Coat all sides of the meat this way. If you find you want more or less of the dry rub, make notes of what you did and adjust your seasoning method next time you grill.
If you’re using a dry rub for the first time, I recommend grilling something you’ve previously grilled. This is a good way to learn how to use dry rubs and compare the results.
All-purpose Dry Rub Recipe
- 1 ½ tablespoon real salt
- 2 tablespoons finely ground coffee
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
In a small mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients. You can store it for up to 6 months in an airtight container or until ready to use.
You can adjust the amounts to your taste, add your other favorite spices, or leave out any of these you don’t like.
If you’re not sure what real salt is, you can learn all about it in our article on the different types of salt.
Tips For Using a Dry Rub Recipe
This is how we use our dry rub recipe for grilling, smoking, or frying meat. There are other opinions and definitely other methods.
- Steak that has been kept in the refrigerator may cook unevenly.
- To ensure even doneness, set the meat out 30 minutes before you want to cook it so that it can reach room temperature.
- I do this for grilling, broiling, or cooking on my cast iron on the stovetop.
- Rinse the meat you will be grilling with cold water and blot it dry.
- Coat all sides of the meat generously with a binder.
- This could be butter, olive oil, avocado oil, or our favorite coconut oil. Use the oil you like best.
- Some people prefer to use condiments like mustard, ranch dressing, or even hot sauce as their binder.
- Once the binder is covering the meat, apply the dry rub.
- You will find the method of applying the rub that works best for you.
- I use my dominant hand to sprinkle it on, being sure to evenly and generously cover the meat. I dip my left hand in cool water and heartily massage the rub into the meat. Then I repeat this for all sides of the meat.
- Be generous with the dry rub. The more you apply, the more flavor there will be.
- You will want to be sure you use quality spices. I’ve been across the nation and haven’t found any as high in quality and flavor as those of Mountain Rose Herbs.
- It takes more force to penetrate larger cuts of meats like pork roast or prime rib.
- Some people use their fists to massage the dry rub deep but I don’t have powerful hands or arms so I use this meat tenderizer.
- Some cuts of meat are more tender than others and cannot withstand the same amount of tenderizing.
- Just use your common sense when applying the dry rub to the meat- if it seems like the rub isn’t penetrating well, then apply more pressure.
- Let the rub sit on the meat for the amount of time you have decided it should.
- Remember, there are varying opinions about the length of time. We usually let it sit while the grill is getting hot or while we get other parts of the meal ready. It ranges from 30 minutes to an hour.
- We do let ribs and larger cuts of meat sit in the refrigerator for a few hours.
- Now it’s time to cook the meat.
- If I am in any doubt about whether or not the meat is done, you can use this meat thermometer to make sure it’s done the way we like it.
In the grilling world, you’ll see the terms “direct heat” and “indirect heat”. Direct heat is when something is cooked right over a flame which gives the meat that delicious charred look and taste. This is best for steaks, burgers, chicken, and things like that.
Indirect heat is when the food is cooked to the side of the heat source. This method is ideal for low-and-slow cooking, such as roasts and ribs.
Another thing to consider is the temperature. If you’re not very comfortable judging the doneness of meat, you should buy a meat thermometer. Be sure to know the correct temperature of the cut of meat you’re cooking for the doneness you want.
- For a rare steak (the way we like it), an internal temperature of 125-130F is what you want.
- For a medium-rare steak, 130-135F
- For a medium steak, 135-145F
- For a medium-well steak, 145-155F
Another method to tell if the meat is done is to touch it. It should give a little in the center but bounce back quickly after you press it.
For the tenderest bites of meat, cut against the grain. Most cooks know to cut perpendicular to the grain (the direction of the fibers in the meat), rather than parallel to them for the most tender, easiest to chew bites.
Bonus Tips For The Perfect Grilling Night
This small grill is perfect for small dinners for 2-4 people. It heats up quickly, is portable, and is efficient.
For grilling smaller veggies, a grill basket works great.
If you don’t have a local source for organic, free-range, grass-fed meats, try Butcher Box or Seven Sons. They allow you to customize the box you get and the delivery frequency, and they offer great customer service.
Grilling is one of our favorite ways to cook meat, but there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that your meat turns out moist, tender, and delicious.
- Start with a dry rub recipe made with quality herbs and spices.
- Secondly, be generous with the dry rub and let it sit on the meat for an adequate amount of time.
- Thirdly, use the correct cooking method and make sure to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat if in doubt.
- Finally, cut against the grain for the tenderest bites of meat. By following these tips, you’ll be sure to have a great grilling experience!
As always, we’re here to help.