What is a Rub, Why and How to Do It?

Rubbing is an important step to master the art of food smoking. A rub is a secret ingredient that makes every smoked food lip-smacking. It not only enhances the flavor and taste of the food but also intensifies the color and smell it. Whether it is smoking or grilling, if you want to create some magic, a rub is a great way to go.

We will give you brief details on rubs and their application along with some pro food smoking tips. So, without further ado, let’s start with the definition of a rub.

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What is a rub?

A rub is a blend of different flavoring ingredients or seasoning that is applied all over the raw food before smoking or grilling. It can be prepared by mixing spices or herbs or both. Rubs are generally of two dominant flavors salty and sweet. You can experiment with other flavors like spicy, pungent, earthy, etc.

There are two types of rubs, dry and wet. Each type of rub has its unique benefits and process of preparation that makes food smoking fun.

Dry-type rub

As the name suggests, dry rub is made with dry ingredients only like spices, herbs, ground seeds, etc. To apply it, use your hands to smear it all over the raw meat and let it rest for a while. This will ensure the flavors are absorbed into the food enhancing its taste.

Benefits of dry rub

  • Creates a good, charred crust on the outer part. (also know as Bark).
  • Best for foods that cook faster and don’t require a tenderizer. As it doesn’t add extra moisture to the food to make it tender.
  • Preserves the natural flavor of the meat while enhancing it.

Preparing dry rub

You have to create a base flavor before applying the dry rub. Generally, paprika, chili powder, or onion powder are preferred here. Then, you can add a mix of spices or herbs depending on the type of food you want to cook. Check out the recipes on the next pages to explore and try your favorite ones.

Wet-type rub

Wet rub contains the same ingredients as the dry one but has a liquid base added to it. It is applied by dipping the raw food completely in it and then leaving it for a while. This will not only help the flavors to seep into the food but add moisture to it.

Benefits of wet rub

  • Ideal for slow cooking as it adds moisture to the food preventing it from drying out.
  • Acts as a tenderizer apart from enhancing the flavor.
  • Gives good charring on the outside.

Preparing wet rub

Here is a list of liquids used as a base:

Oil: only adds tenderness to the food without much flavor. Olive oil is the most suitable and versatile.

Vinegar: It adds a tangy and acidic flavor to the food making it succulent. Any type will work.

Juice: Fruit juice contains some chemicals that act as a natural tenderizer. Pineapple and apple are the most popular options.

Alcohol: Beer, wine, whiskey, etc. adds a unique flavor to the food while adding to its tenderness.

Don’t forget to check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.