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I'm relatively new to smoking, and in the last month or so have produced some good smoked meat on my new 008: baby back ribs, butt, a Fattie and tomorrow a chuck roast. But for all of these, I have used one rub (which has worked nicely thus far).

But what I'm wondering is - will I "OD" from the taste from just using the one rub, and wouldn't it make sense to have a few rubs to rotate through? The related question is do you find that different rubs have a significant effect on the end product?

You would think the effect might be significant, but maybe it's largely the wood smoke flavor and the type of meat that are the most important variables.

Do I need another rub?

Steve P.
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I have a rub I really like for chuckies, but I don't use it for brisket. I have a rub I like for PB, but I don't use it on ribs. I have a chicken rub I like, but I don't use it on turkey.

I like to try new and different rubs, but I always have my standbys to fall back on...kinda like "comfort" rubs, I guess.

There are endless combinations of rubs and smoke and methods. Why limit yourself to one when the next you try could be your new favorite?

Then again, if you really, really like your current rub and don't want to deviate from it, that's OK too. Its *your* que!

Originally posted by reevus:

Do I need another rub?

Steve P.

As you develop your technique for different meats/poultry, it's fun to experiment with different seasoning rubs. I happen to like a basic spicy salt & pepper rub on brisket. For ribs and pork butts I like a bit more sugar to build bark and offset the vinegar in my BBQ sauce (ribs) and finishing sauce (pulled pork). Chicken...I like a combo of all.

If you're close to a food club, spices are reasonably cheap and you can experiment creating your own. The other route is to buy a few rubs via the internet. If you wish to try making your own rubs to experiment with, Google up Paul Kirk's "Championship Sauces & Rubs". He details a number of flavor profiles and recipes.

If you want to PM me, I'd be happy to suggest the rubs I've purchased via the internet and their uses.
You'll find rubs geared towards the type of product you're smoking. You can use a general purpose rub that'll handle most everything or use a targeted rub. With that in mind, I've got different rubs each for brisket, pork butt, ribs, tri tip, beef short ribs, chicken, turkey, salmon, prime rib, etc. I also have a couple of the targeted rubs for most, a couple general purpose rubs, and a Greek rub.

I get them premade at the store, online and make my own mainly from Paul Kirk's and Dr. BBQ's books as well as others. If I'm smoking ribs, for example, it's kinda neat to look in the pantry and decide whether I have a taste for one of the general purpose rubs or one of the rubs made specifically for ribs. Then there's good old salt, pepper, and garlic. Yea, I've got several steak rubs too.
Originally posted by Chef-Boy-Arnie:
I have a rub I use on everything from a recipe I bought from Jeff

You bought a recipe? Wow, there are a bajillion free ones out there and we have a bunch of free ones too.

Maybe I should sell my brines...


That's just a normal thing in Q. You'll get tired of the same thing and want to change it up.

Change the rub
Change the sauce
Change the wood
Change the method

Lots of options. 40+ years I'm still changing all the time.

For me, I like more salt in my pork, my beef more pepper and my chicken varies.

Variety is the spice of life and it's fun to experiment.

How will you ever know if what you're doing now (for a rub) couldn't be improved on.
At the risk of thread-jacking... Nearly $20 for recipes for a rub and a sauce seems kinda out there to me...and I'm thinking the point here was that the same recipes are already available somewhere! I understand the money goes towards helping run the site so why not offer memberships to the site and include the recipes "for free"?

Anyway, I too was concerned about using 1 rub all of the time, but only because I thought I might be missing out on some other good ones! So I've got 6 on the shelf now that I rotate through, to try and to support the folks making them (who have helped teach me the ways of great Q!). When they are gone I'll probably pick 1 or 2 to stick with...unless I find another one where I can also get a cool t-shirt!!!
I have to agree with the experienced cooks above.

Often,it seems that the less additions we make,the more correctly cooked meat tastes like the desired product.

Seems like most cooks can mix some salt and pepper in the palm of their hand and get something that won't harm what they are cooking.

A little sugars can aid the bark if desired and give a taste of upfront sweet that some folks enjoy.

A light touch of pepper can give just a little back heat-when desired.

If it is a short/quick cook, many cooks can season the product as they might season a chop or small portion of poultry at the table.

If it is a long/slow cook,much of the seasoning may be lost in the process,as mentioned above.

For the cook looking to add just a little more flavor to the product,a pinch of granulated garlic,or onion added to the palm of the hand often does no damage.

Many fine cooks might suggest that adding much else should best be put off until we are sure we can correctly prep and cook the meat.

Many good cooks find that there are many fine,proven,inexpensive products readily available at the local grocery that may require only minor tweaking to meet their flavor profile,as they change cooked product.

Of course,poorly prepped and cooked product can often be aided by a "super" rub,or sauce.

Although I didn't read the site deeply,I'm not sure what credentials Jeff brings to the table, other than stringing together many other peoples' posts.

Just a couple of thoughts.
Cookshack and Smoking Meat are the two main forums I go to if I have a question or am looking for a new idea. While I do more than my fair share of experimenting as you well know when the door is wide open there can be too many variables.

I have tried several free rubs from multiple places on a variety of different smokes. What I’ve found with Jeff’s recipes is they have not overpowered anything I’ve smoked with too much sugar, too much salt, or too much spice. And yes there is something to be said for just mixing a little salt, pepper, and garlic in the palm of your hand and rubbing that in.

Jeff’s recipes are good when the recipe is followed to a tee, or they can easily be dressed up or down with minor changes for different types of smokes without becoming overpowering.

I believe they saved me a good deal of time trying to find a starting point and I believe in supporting the people who help me along the way. There are few things worse than ruining a good smoke because the rub used just wasn’t as good as you thought it might be.IMHO
Ah yes, you make a very good point about ones taste and how it can vary from person to person.

I have found that just tasting from the hand is nice,but may not be the profile one is looking for when added to meat and smoke.

While I'm new at comp judging. I can tell you that I have to agree with Tom on the need to cook a product properly, cause more often than not that is the product that does taste the best and scores the best.

I do agree that a person has so many options and supporting those that helps a person out makes perfect sense to me.With this thought, I can say I use CS rub and add a little of Cal's magic with it or at least that is what I call tweaking it a little for whatever kind of meat I'm smoking.

There is no sense in hiding the taste of quality meats, only a little enhancement per say.
Thinking about the various replies, I think what I need to find is a more savory, non-sweet rub for my ribs to occasionally change from the somewhat sweeter rub I have now (in other words, one that doesn't have any sugar in it). I'll have to work on that, but if anybody has a good one along those lines that they want to pass along it would be great. I think I'd like to avoid cumin in it as well (it's in the one I have also).

Thanks for the comments

Steve P.
First, if you read all the goodness in this forum, you should never need to buy a recipe. Most recipes have a basic base and the rest is added by taste and experience. If you can't find what you need here, just google and you will find a lot of really good basic recipes. Hey, worst case you just salt and pepper, it will taste great. Ahh, Primal meat flavor! Add a little of your Own/favorite BBQ sauce. Yum! It is really all in your taste. Mixing it up and trying new ideas is what it's all about. Nothing better someone saying "Man this is awesome! What is on it?" and you replying "Oh that is my own rub I created." Nice! Good luck!
I use this basic rub:

1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (substitute brown or raw)
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tbsp coarsely ground pepper

It is good on everything.

It is also a good base for other rubs. I suggest that you start with a simple rub like this and then add or subtract from it to suit your tastes. If it is too salty, cut back on the salt. If it is too sweet, cut back on the sugar. If it is too spicy, cut back on the pepper or paprika. If you want more zing, substitute 1 tsp pepper flakes for 1 tbsp of the black pepper. If you like garlic or onion, add 1 tsp of onion or garlic powder to the rub. You can add parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme for poultry. And on it goes.

I have found that starting with this simple rub and doing excursions from it is the best way to know what flavors you like and don't like, as well as adjusting the spices to those that are appropriate for various types of meat.
Originally posted by reevus:
if anybody has a good one along those lines that they want to pass along it would be great.

First thing that comes to mind is a Texas style brisket rub. Google "texas brisket rub recipe"'ll find 2 recipes with no sugar in the 1st 5 hits. Both include cumin so just leave it out.

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