How to get the most out of your rub

How to get the most out of your rub

When to Use a Wet or Dry Rub

There’s a few things every cook can do to make their protein taste even better: pat dry to increase browning, brine in salt to increase flavour, rest steaks and chops after cooking to retain moisture. Another great ‘hack’ to make your food taste even better is a flavoured rub: think barbecue, mediterranean, jamaican, curry, lemon herb and more. These rubs imbue flavour into the meat and can help with building a crust, retaining moisture and more. Seems great, right? But of course, things are a bit more complex than that, the exact vehicle for delivering flavour can change, specifically as a wet or dry rub.    
As the name suggests, dry rubs are a blend of dry spices and herbs. Common ingredients include salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and brown sugar. These blends are massaged into the meat, coating it completely, then when cooked begin to melt and set into the meat. Wet rubs, on the other hand, start with the same dry ingredients but add a liquid component like oil, vinegar, mustard, or even yogurt. This mixture forms a paste that you spread over the meat. Either method works in a pinch, but there’s a few factors to consider if you want to take your meat to the next level. 

The choice between a wet and dry rub can significantly affect both the flavor and texture of your meat, so let's get into it.  Dry rubs are great when:  
- You’re looking to add texture to your meat, as the sugars and herbs will caramelize and harden to create a coating or ‘bark’ on the meat.  
- Your meat would benefit from a journey of flavours: the dry rub will concentrate flavours on the surface, meaning the flavour of the meat inside will still shine on its own. Think of steak au poivre, rare steak cooked with a peppercorn crust. In this recipe, you enjoy the flavours of pepper and caramalisation, but retain the fresh and rich taste of a good steak. 
- The meat cut has a lot of moisture or fat, as a wet rub would provide too much moisture and may prevent browning. - You’re cooking fast and high such as grilling, and also in smoking which is generally a wetter environment. 
- You’re short on time. Dry rubs are quick and easy. Just mix, rub, and cook. They don't require hours of marinating to impart their flavors. 

Wet rubs are great when:  
- You’re roasting or slow cooking, to retain the moisture of the wet rub and keep the meat tender and succulent.
- You’re cooking with lean cuts such as chicken breast or fish, to prevent the meat from drying out. 
- You’re trying to wow a guest or loved one. Wet rubs require a longer amount of time to imbue flavour than the dry rub. If you enjoy cooking or want to put a lot of effort into the meal, a wet rub can show a lot of dedication and passion for the meal and the people eating it.
- You’re looking for deeper flavour penetration. If you have a very large cut of meat, such as a brisket or a whole chicken, or if your meat has little flavour on its own, such as turkey, a wet rub can help imbue interesting flavour throughout the whole meat cut. 

Keep in mind, a generous hand is best in both situations. For a dry rub, use more than you think you need. Make sure to cover every inch of the meat. If you can, let the meat sit with the rub for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. For an even more intense flavor, let it sit overnight in the fridge. Though, you can rub and go. 

For wet rubs, apply the rub evenly and allow the meat to marinate. Depending on the recipe, you might need to let it sit for several hours or even overnight. After, you can either leave the rub on the meat or pat the meat dry with a hand towel or food-grade paper towel before cooking if you’re aiming for a crispy exterior. Chucking a steak on the grill plate with nothing but salt and pepper? Delicious! Applying a generous amount of barbecue dry rub to your chicken drumsticks before blasting them on the bbq? Yum. Looking to impress by flavouring a pork roast with an apple sauce and sage wet rub? Impressive! Whatever you do, do it well with high-quality ingredients. Order your kitchen staples, including a sirloin steak for our recipe blog of the fortnight,  online or in-store.