Top Rub?
November 11, 2012 6:03 PM   Subscribe

What is your favorite (and tested) meat rub recipe? For beef? For chicken? For ribs?

I want to put together a home-made selection of rubs for my brother in law who loves to barbeque but there are a million versions on the internets. I need your advice as to which ones actually taste the best.
posted by anastasiav to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
A couple of unique rubs that I found out by accident:

Juniper berries + peppercorns, crushed. I got the juniper berries in the herb bulk section at one of the health food stores. (good on steak) The guys really like this one, and I was like, "huh, that's a keeper."

Also on steak: cocoa powder mixed with a good quality chili powder.

I've found the commercial brands to be too full of garlic powder and salt, ugh.

For southwestern chicken, cumin + chili powder. Skinless breasts need to be oiled first.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:20 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Rendezvous rub. Memphis style, my go-to mix.
posted by raisingsand at 6:39 PM on November 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Soaked, Slathered, and Seasoned has been a great help to me in exploring homemade bbq. I use some of the recipes religiously, others I fudge a bit.

For bone in thighs and legs, I use a rub made from garlic powder, black pepper, white pepper, onion powder, brown sugar, chipotle powder, hot paprika, and oregano. It's got a great kick to it.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:45 PM on November 11, 2012

Magic Dust is always a big hit on pork or chicken.
posted by mkb at 6:46 PM on November 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Magic Dust mkb mentions is also in the book. It's fantastic just sprinkled on popcorn, too.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:53 PM on November 11, 2012

You can always rely on the three Cs: Cumin, Coriander and Cayenne. Start there and branch out. Have fun!
posted by trip and a half at 8:10 PM on November 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you are smoking large cuts of beef, you can't go wrong with equal part cracked black pepper and kosher salt. The meat and the wood smoke shine through.
posted by Seamus at 10:08 PM on November 11, 2012

This is my basic rub:

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons red pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespon ground celery seed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

I use it on briskets, ribs, tri-tips, etc.
posted by Argyle at 11:02 PM on November 11, 2012

Tim Midyett's rub is pretty all-purpose; the key is the sumac. Somewhere, on Eating Well or All Recipes or something like that (on my phone and can't find it right now) there's a similar but simpler, coarser/stronger espresso rub that's especially nice on chicken. And Penzey's Mitchell Street rub for ribs and steaks is awesome, might wanna check out the spice list on the website/in catalog and tinker (IIRC the secret is citrus). There's also a recipe floating around from Sharon Shipley's Lavender Cookbook that involves lavender, achiote, cumin, and herbs that's nice. And for pork, 5-spice-based rubs can be lovely indeed when used in a panko-breaded "tenders"/shake n' bake-type deal.
posted by ifjuly at 11:04 PM on November 11, 2012

Also, thanks to Nigella I now know za'atar-type blends are awesome for roast chicken, so maybe something based on that.
posted by ifjuly at 11:07 PM on November 11, 2012

I just stumbled upon this pork tenderloin rub and it's so good. We had it twice in two weeks.
posted by getawaysticks at 7:27 AM on November 12, 2012

I threw this together for ribs over the summer and it was wonderful:

1 cup brown sugar
1 T bacon salt
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 T onion powder
lots pf salt and pepper
posted by jen14221 at 1:14 PM on November 12, 2012

Here's that coffee rub. Might be too simple for your giftin' purposes but it is quite tasty at times (sometimes simpler is better, I find). It was from Eating Well but the link I knew seems to be dead.
Coffee Rub for Grilled Meat and Tofu

½ cup finely ground coffee
¼ cup coarsely ground pepper
3 Tablespoons kosher salt

Mix coffee, pepper, and salt together in a small bowl. Measure out 2 tablespoons of the rub. Using your hands, rub it evenly onto 1 1/2 pounds (6 servings) of your chosen protein just before grilling, or allow rub to sit on meat for 30 minutes or more depending on type of meat.
And here's that lavender one. Pretty good on pork chops and chicken.
Dry Spicy Lavender Seasoning

2 Tablespoons cumin seeds
1 Tablespoon coriander seed
2 Tablespoons dried culinary 'Provence' lavender buds (culinary grade, not sprayed with pesticides)
2 Tablespoons summer savory, marjoram, or thyme
2 Tablespoons achiote powder (also known as annatto; ground achiote preferred over the paste here)
1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Toast the cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant; about 2 to 4 minutes (lower the temperature if necessary to avoid burning the seeds).

Transfer the seeds to a spice grinder and add the lavender buds. Pulse until finely ground. Add the summer savory, marjoram, or thyme, achiote, black pepper, and salt and pulse.

Transfer to an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place up to 2 months.
As for Penzey's Mitchell Street, they list the following ingredients on their site: salt, Tellicherry black pepper, paprika, sugar, garlic, onion, dill weed, lemon peel, cardamom, citric acid, natural smoke flavor, allspice. Maybe someday I will try my hand at mixing my own in case they ever discontinue it, 'cause damn, it really is good on red meat.

Oh, and since I'm here anyway I just wanna say I totally agree about Rendezvous's rub seasoning. It is just unusual enough, and wonderful on everything. I swear I'm not saying that because I live in Memphis either...I'm not even a native daughter.
posted by ifjuly at 1:46 PM on November 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

My basic rub is just salt, pepper, and thyme. A better version for steak includes ground coffee, and I like to use some herbs de provence because the lavendar tastes good with the coffee, lending a slightly sweet note.
posted by OmieWise at 6:17 AM on November 13, 2012

I am a pretty involved cook - but my brother made a rub that was stupid simple and yet tasty. Curry powder + brown sugar. That's it. Exotic enough to be interesting - straightforward enough to be unobstrusive and not overwrought. Great on ribs.

I am pretty sure he stole the idea from somewhere, cause that's how little brother are. Devious.
posted by helmutdog at 12:13 AM on November 14, 2012

Hey, this thread is still open, sweet--I discovered something pretty awesome if you're vegetarian/vegan and miss smoky bacon flavor in things like beans or whatever, and if you're a meataholic it's an excellent thing to give oven roasts grill-y smokiness:

Take lapsang souchong or other chinese smoke tea and grind it to the finest powder (let it settle a bit before you open the grinder else you inhale a bunch of floating bits) and store it for a while and then use it as a rub for meat or in beans when you're serving vegetarians and want that bacon-y smokiness.

I've been rubbing it (along with salt) into beef overnight before roasting and it's delicious, not too overwhelming/overpowering.

Here's what Schneider says about it: "This powder, my most exciting discovery with rubs, is made from Lapsang Souchong or Hu-Kwa, a smoked tea from China's Fukien province. It imparts a sweet, bacony, smoky flavor to foods. You can use it in just about any dish where a slight hint of wood smoke is desired. I've rubbed it on steaks to give them a grilled flavor, infused it into broths to impart a bacony flavor to soups, and added it to pots of beans or to roasted red peppers. When I am cooking for vegetarians, I use it instead of bacon or ham to impart a smoky flavor. While it is great as a rub on its own, I often use it in tandem with many other flavor essences and dry rubs." She says provided it's sealed and away from light and heat and moisture, it'll keep its potency for 3 months.
posted by ifjuly at 12:23 PM on April 14, 2013

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