Flavor is one of the driving factors in consumer acceptance of the foods we eat. Barbecuing adds great flavors to meats through the application of seasonings, smoke, cooking method, and the product that is being cooked.
Flavor is a very complex subject scientifically with thousands of compounds responsible for the uniqueness of each product. For many, seasonings are a matter of personal preference based on what they grew up eating. Regionally, flavor profiles from the Carolinas, Memphis, Kansas City, and Texas are unique based on seasonings, sauces (if used at all), smoke, and type of product being barbecued (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, goat, etc.).
Seasonings are an interesting area because of where they are sourced and how they are processed. Salt and black pepper are foundations to most seasonings are are the primary flavorings added to Central Texas barbecue. Paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, and onion powder, along with salt and pepper, form the base for many of the rubs used in barbecuing. For those who like things hotter, cayenne or other chile peppers can add to the spiciness of the rubs. Seasonings should always complement the products being barbecued and not mask the basic and underlying meat flavors.
- Simple pork rub: Take and combine equal parts of paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, salt, and brown sugar
- Brining: Want to add some extra flavor and moisture? Add 1 cup of salt (1-1/2 cups of Kosher salt) to one gallon of water. Soak about one hour per pound of product. Best for pork and poultry. Add one cup of sugar for flavor.
- Central Texas brisket rub: Take equal parts salt and black pepper cook it over post oak wood/smoke until the salt begins to turn color.
The Scoop on Rubs
How do you create the right rub recipe? The secret is understanding how flavors work. On this page, the BBQ experts break it down for you.
- The 4-S Rub method (Salt, Sweet, Spicy, and Savory): Learn more about these spices
- 4-stage rub: From the kitchen of Big Bob Gibson, this rub recipe can be used at any stage
Dr. Savell’s Recipes
These recipes work well as a base for you to try out your own combinations. Use them as they are or feel free to add, remove, edit and tweak.
- Poultry Preparation — Poultry: Basting, Bringing, and Marinating
- Brining Pork, Keep it Moist and Tender by Brining First
- Cooks Illustrated — The Basics of Brining
- Famous Dave’s BBQ Sauces, Barbecue Spices, Barbecue Seasonings
- The Spice House — Barbeque Seasonings — Information and Spice Variations
- Amazing Ribs — Recipes
- The BBQ Report
- World Champions Smokin’ Guns BBQ
- About.com’s Top 10 Rub Recipes, Most Popular and Best BBQ Rub Recipes
- More BBQ Sauce recipes
- Adams Flavors, Foods & Ingredients Barbecue Summer Camp rubs