Food & Drink

Give your grilled items more flavor with a rub

A great way to change the flavor of meat, poultry and seafood is to spice them up with a rub before grilling. A rub is a mix of spices, herbs and other seasoning (often including sugar) that can quickly boost flavors before grilling, according to Jamie Purviance in Time to Grill. "If you leave a rub on for a long time, the seasonings intermix with the juices in the meat and produce more pronounced flavors, as well as a crust. This is good to a point, but a rub with a lot of salt and sugar will draw moisture out of the meat over time, making the meat tastier, but drier," he said.

Here are some guidelines from Purviance for how long meat should stand, covered with a rub, before grilling.

■ No more than 15 minutes: Small foods, such as shellfish, cubed meat for kebabs, and vegetables.

■ 15 to 30 minutes: Thin cuts of boneless meat, such as chicken breasts, fish fillets, pork tenderloin, chops and steaks.

■ 30 minutes to 11/2 hours: Thicker cuts of boneless or bone-in-meat, such as leg of lamb, whole chickens and beef roasts.

■ 2 to 8 hours: Big or tough cuts of meat, such as racks of ribs, whole hams, pork shoulders and turkeys.


Herb rub for pork tenderloin

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons salt, divided

¼ cup olive oil

1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

2½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Using a mortar and pestle or the flat side of a knife, mash garlic with 1 teaspoon salt until it forms a paste. Transfer garlic paste to a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil, vinegar, sage, rosemary, thyme, pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Smear mixture all over pork. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight before grilling meat.

From The Deen Bros. Get Fired Up

Basic chicken rub

2⁄3 cup chili powder

½ cup sugar

4 tablespoons kosher salt

4 tablespoons onion powder

4 tablespoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients thoroughly. You can store this rub in an airtight container indefinitely.

Makes 2 cups.

From Smokin' with Myron Mixon

Chile rub

¾ cup chipotle chile powder

¼ cup ancho chile powder

4 teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons dried oregano

4 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place all rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well. The rub can be prepared in advance and will keep in an airtight container for months. It goes well with fish and shellfish. It's best to apply the spice rub to fish about 5 minutes before grilling. The salt in the rub might dry out the fish if you leave it on longer.

From Lourdes Castro Latin Grilling

Magic rub

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon granulated onion

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon granulated garlic

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

In a small bowl, mix the ingredients. Makes 2 tablespoons. Good on beef, pork, chicken, fish or vegetables.

From Time to Grill

Hickory grilled baby back ribs

Hickory rub:

½ cup store-bought hickory-smoked salt or kosher salt

¼ cup garlic powder or granulated garlic

¼ cup onion powder

¼ cup chili powder

3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika

3 tablespoons firmly packed light or dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons dry mustard

1½ tablespoons ground ginger

1½ tablespoons red pepper flakes


4 1½ -pound slabs baby back ribs, back membrane removed

Hickory wood chips

1 16-ounce squeeze bottle clover or other amber honey

2 cups tomato-based barbecue sauce

To make rub, combine all seasonings in a bowl. Sprinkle both sides of each slab with rub.

Prepare a moderate charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill to medium (375 degrees). Grill slabs for 15 minutes a side, turning every 5 minutes, or until slightly browned. Transfer ribs to a baking sheet.

For a charcoal grill, lift up the grill grate, brush the coals to one side and throw moistened wood chips directly on the coals. Replace the grill grate. For a gas grill, turn off a burner, enclose the wood chips in a metal smoker box or an aluminum foil packet with holes poked in the top, and place the box or packet on the grill grate over the heat source.

When you see the first wisp of wood smoke, place ribs on the indirect side, using a rib rack if you like. Cover and grill, turning or repositioning the ribs every 10 to 15 minutes, for 30 minutes longer, or until meat begins to pull back from the ends of bone about ½ inch. Squeeze honey on both sides of ribs and brush to cover meat. Then brush on barbecue sauce. Cover and grill for 10 to 15 minutes, turning several times, until the sauce on the ribs has caramelized. Serve one-half slab per person.

Makes 8 servings.

From Everyday Grilling

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