The rub is the second most important part of the barbecue process, the smoking technique being the first. There are two main concepts to keep in mind when formulating your rub. The proportion of salt should be great enough to trigger osmosis and begin to draw the moisture from the surface of the meat, and (some may disagree with this) the proportion of sugar should not be excessive because it will caramelize and burn during smoking and leave a bitter taste. However, since sugar contributes to osmosis, it is an important component and shouldn't be eliminated.
Your rub should only be limited by your imagination. The other ingredients to consider can include paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chile powder, oregano, sage, or anything that you enjoy.
Keeping your rub in a shaker makes it easier to apply. Rub should be applied at least the night before smoking. For better flavor let the meat absorb rub for up to three days. Shake the rub over the entire surface of the meat to be smoked. Use a generous amount at first and then, as it starts to get moist and adhere, add more. I don't think it's necessary to "rub" it in. Wrap the meat loosely in butcher paper and leave in the fridge until a couple of hours before smoking.
Rubs are better than marinades for large pieces of meat such as briskets and pork butts. For cuts such as these, the internal and external fat melts through the meat during cooking keeping it moist. The dry surface of the meat and the rub itself combine to produce a flavorful and attractive crust on the finished product.
There are regional differences and preferences regarding types of sauces and sauce bases. Southern sauces are typically vinegar and pepper-based, while South Carolinians prefer mustard. In the Midwest and Texas as well as farther west, the sauces are most often tomato-based and spicy. In the far West, fresh herbs and citrus fruits are used.
Additionally, there are Asian barbecue sauces, and some that use alcohol like Jim Beam bourbon or Zinfandel wine for flavoring. Specialty sauces include one designed specifically for game, and another white barbecue sauce for fish and poultry. The chiles in some of these sauces vary from mild jalapeños to fiery habaneros and African bird peppers. However, the tomato and ketchup-based types still outsell all others.
One thing almost all these sauces have in common is a sweetener, which can be sugar (white or brown,) honey, molasses, or even maple syrup. Because sugars tend to burn easily, sauces should only be used during the last hour of cooking. This is especially true with tomato-based sauces which will blacken long before the meat is done.
All of these sauces provide an easy way to prepare tasty dishes in a relatively short period of time. While it's difficult to find the time to prepare and simmer your own sauces these days, you can quickly turn a commercial product into your own signature sauce by adding ingredients such as chiles, hot pepper sauces, ginger, or even fruits.
Basic BBQ Sauce recipe:
Heat oil in a sauce pan. Add onion and garlic and cook until slightly brown. Still in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Apply to ribs when completely cooked. You can either cook with sauce an additional 15 minutes to serve.
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 4 tablespoons minced onion
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
Wood smoke - not charcoal lighter fluid -- gives barbecue that barbecue flavor. The choice of wood is very important to add that special flavor. Mixing of these woods for a unique flavor is also a "good thing". These are our wood suggestions.
Steak and other beef, lamb, chicken, turkey and other poultry.
Beef, chicken, pork, fish, ribs and sausage.
Hamburger, turkey, chicken, lamb.
Pork, beef, brauts.
A marinade is a seasoned liquid that contains a tenderizing acidic ingredient such as vinegar, wine, soy sauce, or citrus juice. Marinade seasonings can be a combination of herbs, spices, and even vegetables, but they generally reflect the tastes of the region in which they were made. For example, Bubba Brand Back Bay Marinade from South Carolina contains bourbon and peaches, while Chuck Evans' Mayan Magic (Montezuma Foods) uses exotic annato seed and sour orange juice to duplicate the taste of a pit barbecue, or pib, in Yucatán.
Regardless of the ingredient combination, all marinades are used by soaking meat in them to add flavor and to tenderize before cooking. Always follow the directions carefully since some foods, especially fish and shrimp, can become mushy if left in too long. Always be sure to marinate in a non-reactive pan or a plastic bag.
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/8 cup white Worcestershire sauce
- 1 large garlic clove -- crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 pinch white pepper
- 1/8 cup honey
- 1/4 cup dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
outdoors almost beg for red wine,
though there are exceptions. Grilled
meat tends to develop a slightly bitter
flavor when charred or smoked, so a
medium tannic wine such as
Sangiovese or Syrah will balance out
the bitterness of the meat.
Of course, most of us just don't toss a
naked slab of meat on the Barbie. We
like to sweeten things up a bit with BBQ
sauce, relish, ketchup and garlic. Those
coatings work well with wines that are
not too dry and slightly sweet, providing
both a challenge and an opportunity to
experiment with both red and white
For instance, BQ ribs with grilled corn
goes nicely with either a Syrah or a
Riesling, while grilled porkk chops and
grilled pineapple pairs well with a Merlot
or a Chardonnay. Another match made
in heaven is grilled chicken with bell
peppers and a Sauvignon Blanc.