To Rub or Not To Rub?

Most of us have marinated meat, poultry or fish before cooking but how often do we try a dry rub? With warm weather and barbecue season approaching it might be a good time to look into the world of dry spice rubs.

A dry spice rub allows you to add flavour to the meat and, because it is dry, and not a wet marinade, it also makes for a nice crust that develops while the meat cooks. Just letting a chicken air-dry naked in the fridge overnight will help make for a nice crispy skin, add a spice rub to the air-dry and you’re adding deliciousness as well.

This simple barbecue spice rub recipe in Saveur is a good one to have on hand. It incorporates dried spices with kosher salt, mustard and brown sugar. The brown sugar helps the crust of the meat to caramelize, the salt tenderizes and the various spices add notes of interest that you just wouldn’t get from a simple sprinkling of salt and pepper. Jamaican jerk is a famous spice rub that will add serious fire to your grilled chicken or lamb. Bust out some habaneros and try this jerk recipe, also from Saveur.

note: Saveur always has the best recipes, they are properly tested and always accompanied by great photography. Don’t waste your time searching through dubious recipe sites, go to a site you can trust, like Saveur, Martha Stewart, Bon Appetit or Food and Wine.

Always make your spice rub from fresh dried herbs and spices. That may seem like an oxymoron,

how can they be fresh if they are already dried?’

but the fresher your dried ingredients are the more flavour they have. Taste some paprika after it has been in the cupboard for six months, compared to some you just bought – you’ll notice a big difference.

Mix it up fresh and keep stored in an airtight container, it should last for a few months. By mixing your own rub you can ensure that no dubious ingredients get into the recipe. Some pre-mixed rubs contain MSG and hosts of other preservatives and chemicals. Keep it fresh, stick to ingredients you recognize and then you’ll be ready rub to your heart’s content this summer.

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