Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dry Rubs and Marinade's

So it's coming up on that time of year again where the temperature heats up, the sun is out, where summer is all but upon us. I figured with memorial day coming up I would dedicate a few posts to the love of summer foods and barbecuing. However lets start of at the beginning with Dry Rubs and Marinades.

A dry rub is any mixture of ground spices that is rubbed on raw meat before it is cooked. The secret to dry rubs is to cover the meat enough that when you cook it, it forms a nice crust or coating. It is in my opinion that all dry rubs should have both salt and pepper and those two spices should be the basis for any rub. For example, if I were to do a chicken fajita, I would rub the chicken with a mixture of salt, pepper, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and ground red pepper. If I were to do say a pork rump for a pulled pork, I would use salt, pepper, cumin, brown sugar, a touch of ground chipotle pepper, and a touch of mustard powder.

Another factor to consider with a dry rub is time. How long does one rub before cooking? Well the rule I go by is, at least one hour before cooking. The hour allows the rub to set and begin to incorporate into the meat, but the time frame is entirely up to you. I find with dry rubs, the longer the better, up to about a day or so. Again always consider the dish your trying to make before doing a dry rub, you don't want to use the wrong spices and wind up with a not so tasty dish.

Marinating is the process of soaking meat in a seasoned and often acidic liquid before cooking. Before continuing, lets go over some acids, and I'm not talking about batteries. In the food world there is quite a range of acids, but the most used are citrus fruits i.e. lemons, limes, and oranges, and vinegars such as white wine, red wine, balsamic, sherry, cider, malt, and many more. Sometimes wine itself is used as the acid in a marinade, and I've even heard some grill masters use soda like coke and root beer in their marinade's. One of my favorite acids to use though has to be the almighty beer, and a good ale can add so much flavor to a marinade. The use of acid is to break down the muscle fiber to allow more liquid to enter the meat creating a tender juicier meat. However using acid is some what of a delicate science and using too much and for too long can easily ruin the meat.

Most marinade's also contain oil, generally olive oil, and both fresh and dried spices. A general rule I live by is two parts oil to one part acid and some times less. Lets take those same fajitas again only this time as a marinade. I would keep the same dried spices (chili powder, paprika, cumin, ground red pepper, salt and pepper,) but then I would add olive oil, fresh garlic, a touch of fresh cilantro, and for the acid a mix of orange and lime juice and a touch of tequila and beer. As you can see a marinade can wind up having a ton of ingredients, and the trick is to balance them out, and to be honest I can't tell you how much of anything I use. A good rule to have though, is your only coating the meat and not drowning the meat, so if you use the 2 parts oil 1 part acid rule in conjunction with the coating rule you'll be on your way to creating your own flavorful marinade's in no time.

I leave you with a few flavor profiles and ingredients you can use for your own dry rubs and marinade's.

Dry Rubs

Your looking for sweet and smokey savory flavors use any of these ingredients together to create your own dry rub, also salt and pepper are a given in all.
Chili powder's, mustard powder's, brown sugar, regular sugar, garlic salt and or powder, cumin's, paprika's, oregano's, and dried ground chillies i.e. chipotle, ancho, gaujillo and pasilla.

Basically looking for the same as BBQ minus the sweet so all the ingredients listed above will work well for Mexican flavors minus the sugars and mustard's.

Your looking for savory crisp Mediterranean flavors.
Oregano, thyme, rosemary, paprika, cumin, white pepper.

This is actually a wide range of flavors from sweet spicy hot savory and more.
Oregano, basil, chili pepper, 5 spice, ginger, anise, coriander, sugars, and garlic salt or powder.


Using the same spices, adding olive oil, ales, sodas, specialty vinegars such as balsamic, and apple cider, fresh chopped garlic and even some citrus juices will create a wonderful marinade.


Same spices, tequila, light beers like corona, and dos xx, lime, lemon, orange, fresh garlic, fresh cilantro, fresh oregano, olive oil, fresh chilies i.e. poblano, jalapeno, habanero (be careful), and serrano chilies.

Again using the same spices, adding olive oil is a must, lemon juice, fresh garlic. I use these three ingredients, salt and pepper for my New York strip steak marinade. Also white wine vinegar, and red wine vinegar.

Same spices, olive oil, sesame oil, vegetable oil, fresh basil, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, fresh chilies like szechuan and padi, soy sauce, hoisin, sriracha, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce,and way too many more but this should get you started.

1 comment:

  1. "Your" is a possessive noun like "Your shirt is blue"

    "You're" is a combination of a noun and a verb "You" and "are". "You're looking for sweet and smokey savory flavors..."

    I like your blog but the grammar was killing me. Sorry, I couldn't help but correct it. I figured if this is seen by millions of people it would annoy a lot of people too and they wouldn't be able to see how great your ideas were.