Foodies everywhere are taking up a new fad. Hand blending ingredients like the barbecue professionals and head chefs. Certainly learning from popular website and top TV cooking shows, they can be seen in kitchens throwing together a pinch of this and a dab of that. Wives report husbands are creating like mad, to use this "top secret blend of herbs and spices" on their beef, poultry, chicken, or ribs this weekend. Grilling for their home cookout, they are their own pitmasters. Much like the stars of the BBQ Pitmasters show, these home foodie grillers win awards from their approving family and friends over Saturday night dinner.
So what are the benefits of dry rub spices? Truth be told most dry rub spices have a base of salt mixed with spices. When added or rubbed onto your food in advance they serve as a dry marinade, in place of liquid marinades. Too much salt is not good for you, or your blood pressure, says plenty of doctors and medical experts. So are dry rubs an issue?
"Not at all" claims dry rub expert Wayne Schafer of Big Fat Daddy's. He says, "In all actuality only a small dash of dry rub is needed. A tablespoon of dry rub can be rubbed onto four pound beef chunk that you will be grilling for your family. In essence the amount of salt in that tablespoon may be a teaspoon, rubbed on the meat. After the roast gets cooked and portioned out to your individual serving size, it's nothing more than a normal salting of your food."
So says Schafer, some salt does a body good. Will the average foodie be able to eat only a portion if it tastes so good? That remains to be seen. Dry rubs seem to have originated on the East Coast for grilling, but it's hard to say since people have been using spice blends for centuries on their food. This begs the next question, if we will see dry rub replace wet marinades? It may yet to be seen. Some dry rubs are versatile and seem to go with everything. Others may taste good on fish, but not on pork. You have to find what works best for your flavor palette. Some grilling tips for dry rubs from Schafer include:
- A 24-48 hour marination window on meats, fish, or poultry is key.
- Using dry rub as a salt replacement on vegetables is a must, not "in addition to."
- Blending in small quantities as needed is essential so that your spice retains freshness.
- Using fresh ingredients for robust flavor will have your tastebuds thanking you.
- Use sparingly but never overdo, as during marination the salt will soak in for more flavor.
- Adding too much will ruin your food and leave you dying of thirst.
- Grilling with hardwoods in combination with dry rubs prove to be their own flavor combination, meaning the possibliltes are endless.
- A small bottle of dry rub may will last you longer than a bottle of marinade whcih is overall a better value for your buck.
If you are going to make your own, the last tip of course is writing down what you have created. When you finally find that perfect seasoning, you may realize after tossing ten spices together that you have forgotten just what made it taste so perfect. There are more tips found in the Complete History of Dry Rub.