01 April 2017
3x recipes for rubs
Although you can buy many ready-made dry rubs, it is much more fun to prepare one yourself. It doesn’t require much and chances are you already have all the ingredients in your cupboard. In this special, Big Green Egg expert Ralph de Kok will show you how versatile and tasty these rub recipes are and that a chicken rub would also work well for prawns and spareribs.
The versatility of rubs
Rubs are great for adding flavour! Spareribs definitely require a great rub but there are other types of meat and poultry, and even vegetables, that could certainly use the boost provided by a rub. It is very easy to make them, especially if you have a good recipe as point of departure, which you could adapt to suit your own taste.
Dry rubs are often nothing more than a mixture of salt and spices, often with brown castor sugar or cane sugar and some additional seasoning in the form of herbs, lemon zest or coffee beans. You could very easily grind the coffee beans in a manual coffee grinder and the same applies to whole spices, such as peppercorns.
Rubs are usually ‘rubbed’ into the meat before cooking it. The easiest way to do this is to place the (homemade) rub in a salt shaker, sprinkle it evenly over the ingredient and press it in gently. Another option would be to first brush the meat with a thin layer of sunflower or mild olive oil to make sure that the rub will stick.
As to the quantity, always remember that the flavour of the rub must not be too dominant in comparison to the ingredient you are using it for. For example, in comparison to pork neck, you would need a substantially thinner layer of rub for chicken wings.
Rubs and their ingredients
The different ingredients each have their own function.
The herbs and spices ensure flavour and, in some cases, also colour.
As is the case with salt, sugar is added for more reasons than just flavour. Heating the meat will cause the sugar to caramelise, which will aid the formation of a good crispy layer, which is often sought after where meat and poultry are concerned. Do pay attention when grilling ingredients with a rub containing sugar. When the temperature is too high (i.e. when it exceeds 180°C) the sugar will burn and adversely affect the flavour.
Salt is more than just a natural flavour enhancer. Salt is known for its ability to extract moisture from ingredients, but after more than half an hour, the moisture, including the flavours, will again be absorbed by the meat. For this reason, it is important to immediately start preparing the food after rubbing it, or to wait at least two hours before the majority of the moisture has again been absorbed.
Rubs come in many varieties and can be used in different ways. One is more suitable for beef, while the other combines perfectly with poultry, fish or vegetables. A basic rub will suit everything.
Depending on what you want to prepare, you can either use rubs as a rub or only for flavouring. After all, the rub’s ingredients will always guarantee a good flavour combination, even when you sprinkle the mixture on the ingredient after preparing it, or if you work it into the dish.
When you prepare a specific rub for the very first time, you will probably follow the recipe quantities to the letter. Once you’ve tasted it, you can adapt the flavour to your personal taste. Do you prefer something a bit more spicy? Feel free to experiment and use a bit more cayenne pepper, for example.
And once you’ve found the ultimate recipes? Make large quantities of them so you will always have tasty and homemade rubs on hand.
Making rubs for Big Green Egg preparations? Give these 3 recipes a try!