Rubs are good if you are in a time crunch. Sometimes if you have something that needs to be marinaded you have to do it for six to twelve hours and can be too much planning ahead when you're trying to pull together a quick dinner. A rub can be a good way to add that boost of flavor in a pretty short period of time.
Rubs usually contain salt which is one of the reasons you don't want to put it on your meat too early. If you put it on your meat several hours in advance, the salt with pull the juices from the interior of the meat and make your meat dryer than it would otherwise be. So to impart a good flavor, get a good crust and not dry out the meat you don't want to put your rub on any sooner than 30 minutes before you're ready to cook your meat. That gives it a chance to meld the flavors together without drying it out.
There are as many varieties of rubs as there are people. Your basic rub is always going to have salt and several different herbs, it will likely have something spicy in it (in this part of the world) and many times a rub will incorporate some sugar.
I really enjoy working with rubs because of the fragrance of the spices. You hear the word “redolent” – the spices are so fragrant. I just love opening a bag of seasonings I'm about to work with: The aroma is so lovely; it's beautiful. You can just feel yourself being immersed in this beautiful smell of paprika or cinnamon or even the garlic.
The Gypsy Dust Chicken Rub I make tends to be a little more herbaceous. My Steak and Salmon Rub has more spice to it: Neither have MSG!
You can use a rub when you're going to cook out on the grill: That's how most people do it. First, get your grill heating. Take your rub, sprinkle it on the meat. Now: Gently pad it on. Despite the name, don't rub it in because you will tear up the fine fibers of the meat and cause some of your juice to leak out.
When I'm doing a cooking demonstration or cooking at home, – esp. with a chicken breast – I'll put the rub on the meat and get a saute pan super hot on the stove and put a very thin layer of oil on it and cook the chicken on one side till brown maybe about 5 to 7 minutes on each side. I use a lid although I am careful to not overcook because chicken can dry out easily. I like using a mister: It's one of my best kitchen friends. You can mist the chicken with the oil of your choice omitting the oil from the pay. You can do this on an outdoor grill too. This is great with a skinless breast on the grill to keep it from sticking. If you've got the skin on the chicken, you don't need to add oil if you don't want to.
The other thing you can do with a rub is use it as a marinade right before you cook. If I'm going to roast an entire chicken, I'll clean the chicken thoroughly, pad it dry, put some of the rub with olive oil on the bird. I'd use 3 tablespoons of olive oil and mix it really good with an ounce or two of my chicken rub, then smear it all over the chicken inside and out. Then you can fill your chicken with some cut up celery, garlic, onion; then truss it at the end to hold it all in. I like to bake it at a high temperature and then turn it down so you get it nice and crisp with sealed in juices. I bake at 425 for 15 minutes then turn the temp down to 325 and bake till done depending on size of the bird.
You can do a pork tenderloin with my Steak and Salmon Rub. Start at a high heat for 15 minutes, then turn it down; or cook it at high heat the whole time if you mist with a little olive oil.
Those are just a couple of ideas for working with rubs. I'm working with new versions all the time. I'm hoping to use some porcini salt for my next one. Be sure to check back to our website or “like” us on Facebook for new information.