It’s no secret. We like beef.
We don’t have beef for every meal, but you will usually find it on our dinner table two to three times a week.
And since we like variety just as much as a good steak, we’re always trying new recipes, rubs and marinades.
After talking with many customers, it turns out that homemade rubs aren’t used in many home kitchens. I’m guessing this is because most people don’t know that herbs and spices can literally transform a steak.
They add flavor, but not fat.
They’re also very simple to make. To me, trying a new rub is less intimidating than trying a new recipe. I’ve never completely ruined a meal with a new rub. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about new recipes. 🙂 There have definitely been a few new recipes that I threw away because they were awful.
Since rubs are new to some people, let’s go over a few basics.
What’s a rub?
Rubs have two varieties — dry and wet. Dry rubs use dry herbs and spices, and wet rubs use spices plus a wet ingredient like lemon juice. Rubs are applied directly to the surface of the meat, and they’re a very easy way to enhance the flavor of the meat without overpowering it.
How to apply a rub?
The application of rubs is very easy. Simply mix the ingredients and then rub all over your favorite piece of beef. We usually use one or two tablespoons for every pound of beef. Then, let the beef soak up the flavors. You can either put the beef in a Ziploc bag, or wrap it in plastic and place it in the refrigerator. The longer you let the beef soak, the more flavors you will notice when you eat it. We’re not very scientific on timing it, but usually, we try and put on rubs anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours before we cook the beef.
10 of our favorite rubs:
- The Dalmatian (Salt & Pepper) – This is a classic. It will tenderize the meat and bring out its natural flavor. We like using sea salt (a small amount will do) and freshly ground black pepper.
- Sugar – This is another classic, and either white or brown sugar will do the trick. Believe it or not, many five-star restaurants use sugar when grilling beef so that their steaks have that tasty thin crust on the outside while being juicy on the inside.
- DIY 8:3:1:1 – We’ve talked about this 8:3:1:1 rub before. It is one of our favorites because you can use almost any ingredient in your spice cabinet and your meat will turn out great. One of our favorite combinations is 8 Tbsp light brown sugar, 3 Tbsp kosher salt, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp thyme and 1/2 tsp onion powder.
- Sweet & Spicy Hamburger Rub – Mix 3 Tbsp paprika, 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper, 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar, 2 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp cayenne pepper.
- All-purpose Dry Rub – Mix 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp salt, 1 Tbsp paprika, ¼ cup brown sugar.
- Roast Dry Rub –Mix 3 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 Tbsp salt, 2 Tbsp Ground Black pepper, 1 tsp chili powder and ½ tsp cumin.
- Beef Brisket or Beef Ribs Dry Rub – Mix 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, ¼ cup salt, 1/8 cup ground black pepper, 1/8 cup paprika, and 1 Tbsp garlic powder.
- Cocoa Rub – Mix 2 tsp cocoa, 1 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp onion powder, 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp ground black pepper.
- Carolina BBQ Rub –Mix 2 Tbsp salt, 2 Tbsp sugar, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp ground cumin, 2 Tbsp chili powder, 2 Tbsp ground black pepper, 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 cup paprika.
- Classic Wet Rub – Mix 2 cups Dijon mustard, 1 cup minced parsley, 1/2 cup dried orange peel, 1/2 cup rosemary leaves, 1/4 cup black pepper.
An obvious secret about rubs
It probably goes without saying that you’ll get better results from your rubs if you use fresh ingredients. If you’re in the St. Louis area, we really like the spices from Olde Town Spice Shoppe in St. Charles, MO. We have no affiliation with the shop, but they have traditional spices as well as some great pre-made rubs.
Over to you…
Do you have a favorite wet or dry rub?
Let us know your favorite rub recipes and tips so we can continue the discussion!