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What is a grill rub , BBQ rub and how to use it?

Grill rubs are a blend of spices and herbs used to flavor infuse different meat before you grill.

BBQ rubs are usually dry, although they can be wet, or paste-like.  Grill rubs can be used on chicken, steak, pork, fish, shrimp, or turkey.

BBQ rubs can be an alternative for those who don't like their meat smothered in sauce but they can also be a compliment to some sauces.

Grill Rubs are fun to experiment with since they can pack so much flavor in every bite, they can be sweet, salty, mild, or hot.

BBQ rubs are very easy to make and generally only require you to mix together the right amounts of several different spices, but I caution beginners to use pre-made rubs to get a since for likes and dislikes.

Now that you know what a grill rub / BBQ rub is, next step how to use it. On chicken or turkey you should first rinse the chicken and then pat it almost dry, next let’s assume it’s an herb rub, take the grill rub and rub it into the chicken covering the entire bird or chicken pieces.

There are cases where the rub should be placed on the bird after the bird is warm or hot. Let’s make another assumption, you are grilling the entire chicken and your rub happens to have a decent mix of sugar, this kind of rub is best when it melts into the chicken. If you are new to grilling please grill / BBQ chicken with indirect heat.

Using grill rubs on steak, one way is to simply take the grill rub and rub into the steak or my preferred method is to marinade the steak first and then rub the grill rub into the steak. How much grill rub to use depends on how much you enjoy the flavor of the grill rub vs. the steak, balance is key.

If you are a traditional steak eater who says, “I like my steak to taste like steak” you probably will use very little rub, but if you enjoy a good steak with extra flavor add the recommended amount rub usually listed somewhere on the package.

Since, pork is rather lean meat you should use the grill rub before and during grilling. First take the pork and the grill rub and rub the spices into the meat as much as possible. Next, after the meat is at a good temperature but not yet cooked you could try adding a little more rub. Again, balance is key you don’t want to have too much rub covering your pork.

Fish or shrimp should have the grill rub placed on them before grilling. Fish is usually best with a savory herb rub, while shrimp is very versatile you could try many different flavor of rubs.

For all the different meats mentioned above make sure there is some moisture present to help the rub sink in, you could wrap the meat loosely or toss into a plastic bag and keep it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Time is your friend when it comes to rubs the more it has to soak, the more flavor you'll get in the meat. Happy grilling and remember if you are unsure about how to grill / BBQ any meat,  here are many posts that can help.

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About George Robinson

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  1. Excuse me for my long silence.
    My best regards in the future.

  2. Sir, I'm a bit confused. Grill rub is similar or different from BBQ rub?