A long time ago I would never consider myself so arrogant as to say "Hey, I know what the Best Dry Rub for Ribs Is". Man, that's a "bold statement". Truth is there are literally hundreds of Rub and Rub Recipe Rib types that can meet your fancy. So, I'm a little leary when I see some website or blog taunting the fact that they know what the best this is or that is when in fact most have no idea at all. I've been in the business of Barbecue and Barbecue production production for over 20 years now and some days I find myself wanting to know more about the career choice and the products I've made. But in reality when you compare our knowledge against so many of those bloggers I guess you find out that we might actually know something about the topic. So, we'll take a shot at giving you the best of our experience and work toward heading you in the direction that would serve you best. Or at least what we believe will serve you best. Keep in mind dry rubs vary just like people's preferences for spicy and non-spicy foods, it's all relative and cultural. I've been some place across the globe that you couldn't pay me to eat some of the things I saw but when properly conditioned folks eat them like there's no tomorrow. So, on to the topic of what is the Best Dry Rub for Ribs.
We'll focus on pork ribs and the application process necessary to make them tender and juicy. As a proctor in the field true barbecue should not be so tender that the meat falls of the bone. Think of picking up a rib bone with a clean shirt on only to find half of it on your clothes. You want to have a degree of firmness in the meat while giving the best chew texture possible. A good rib is moist and meaty, a great rib is tender, moist, meaty, juicy, and firm exhibiting an amazing meat flavor all at the same time. So if you're going to season the meat then you want to focus on the end first which ultimately is the desired taste you want out of all the effort you put in.
We believe in properly marinating the meat beforehand. That means if the meat is frozen you'll need to thaw it out. If the meat is old you'll probably want to throw it out and start over. You'll want to give yourself the best chance possible at achieving the best taste possible so starting with a good fresh cut of meat is just about the beginning of the process. As for seasonings and marinades you'll want to ensure your seasonings are fresh. So, if you decide to make the seasoning mix at home you'll need to check the expiration dates on your peppers, paprika, onion, garlic and all the other elements that will go into your Dry Rub for Ribs. One thing I focus on a whole lot which not too many people talk about is the use of Yellow Mustard. I can't say enough about something so simple that will deliver a really nice flavor to the meat. I like meat to have a subtle tartness during the marination process. Yellow Mustard adds that bit of tartness that I just can't seem to get from brines or a submersion in liquids. So, first clean the meat, wash it thoroughly pat it dry then follow with a nice coating of the Yellow Mustard. Here's a key to the process allow the mustard to do its job properly. That means allow the mustard to remain on the meat for at least 2 to 3 hours. That will help break down the muscle fibers and tissues in preparation for the application of the dry rub.
Once marinated begin the application of the dry rub. The dry rub must be applied evenly that means that we want to see the meat coated on all sides. I like to be able to see the redness of the meat through the dry rub. If you have so much rub that all you see is rub on all sides of the meat then you've applied too much dry rub. You can start over by washing the meat to remove the excess dry rub. Keep in mind it is not necessary to begin the mustard application process over again as the meat is already marinated and ready for seasoning application. Add about 4 to 6 tablespoons of the dry rub over the meat. If the rub has sugar in it keep in mind sugar will begin to caramelize once it nears the 275 degree mark. When you get past the 275 degrees sugar can start to burn so a good temperature for grilling or cooking the meat is around 250 degrees. We want the meat to rest in this temperature for a long period of time usually about 2 or more hours.
Now at about 2 or more hours the meat is approaching the desired finishing temperature. But we want the meat to be tender and juicy so we're going to keep grilling. You may notice that as the process continues longer the increments of cooking Temperature may slow down. What this means is that is the temperature goes on the internal heat of the meat may drop down from 5 degrees per 15 minutes to 1 or 2 degrees per 20 to 25 minutes. This is very common and means that you have reached what is called in the business the "stall" period. It's the point in which the application of heat will no longer cause the internal temperature of the meat to rise without some other process involved. Well we have just the deal to resolve the stall. Some call the process the "Texas Crunch" an odd sounding name which I tend to think is the result of the materials used to get past the stall point. Essentially you take a large piece of aluminum foil and completely wrap the meat sealing it in the foil. It is at this point you'll decide if you want to flavor the meat even more or if you'll simply complete the cooking process.
To complete the cooking process you'll allow the meat to continue cooking for about an hour. If you apply a meat thermometer you'll notice after about a half hour the meat's temperature has risen and gotten closer to the desired finish point. Once you achieve the desired temperature of about 200 degrees you'll test the meat by simply pulling on one of the bones. If the meat is firm then you've done your job and are to be congratulated. If the meat is break apart then you may have overcooked the meat but not to worry there is a way to fix this. Simply leave the meat on the grill and open the foil down the entire rack. The meat will continue cooking on the foil with topside open. Allow the meat to rest on the grill for about 30 minutes this will dry up any moisture and will firm up the meat.
Now we can't say enough about the finishing steps needed to complete the ribs. The ribs MUST rest appropriately. What does that mean...it means that the ribs must be held in a location that is contained either a large cooler or an oven where no additional heat is applied. The ribs will give over their heat and continue some internal cooking for that period of 30 to 45 minutes. Do not worry about them remaining warm as I think you'll find when they are properly rested the meat will exhibit the perfect degree of warm during the eating cycle.
Optional flavoring the meat. If you desire to flavor the meat you can do the following which I've done often. Take 3 to 4 1/4 inch pats of butter and lay them on the foil underneath the ribs. Then add about 1/2 cup of liquid either Apple juice, Guava juice, Pomegranate juice or if you're really daring some form of soda pop like Dr. Pepper or Coca Cola. Seal the foil and allow the ribs to steam in the mix. Keep in mind if the liquids were cold then you will probably add another 25 minutes to the cooking cycle. Allow the meat to reach the desire cooking temperature of about 200 degrees. Once reached open the foil and allow the meat to continue cooking for about 30 minutes. Your meat at this point has reached the fall off the bone stage however, we want to firm them up by drying out the ribs with the foil open. When all is done move the ribs to a container such as a cooler or oven and wrap them so that they will rest for at least 30 minutes to an hour.
Now to the Best Dry Rub for Ribs Recipe
The Best Dry Rub for Ribs must contain some key elements such as Paprika either Spanish, Indian or Hungarian, Black Pepper, preferably coarse ground, salt either smoked or kosher or if adventurous celery salt, Onion either ground or coarse and dried, Garlic the same as Onion, for spiciness you can use cayenne pepper an old standby or dried jalapeno and if you just want basic heat then bump up your levels of coarse ground black pepper. I also use a nice round amount of mustard flour which gives an amazing tartness all the while delivering a little pucker to the rub. Last but not least I use white sugar or some form of sugar. In most cases I will use Brown sugar. The Brown sugar has a more mellow flavor than pure white and will caramelize nicely on your ribs and chicken. And for those who like a little bit of chili imitation in their dry rub I use cumin ground.
So let me collect all those Dry Rub items for you below.
- 3T Paprika
- 1T Black Pepper
- 1T Salt or Celery Salt
- 1T Onion Powder
- 2T Garlic Granulated
- 1/2 T Cayenne pepper or Jalapeno Dried
- 1-1/2T Mustard flour
- 4T Brown sugar
- 1/2 T Cumin
With this recipe you will create your Best Dry Rub for Ribs that you've ever made. And as a friend of mine once said, "it's not so much about the ribs and the rub that make a great barbecue, but really the friends that you're able to share it with". I hope you have great friends and family to enjoy your results.
And after all that if you find you'd rather get your Best Dry Rub for Ribs premade then by all means visit our website at Jake's Famous Foods and go directly to our dry rubs page or visit our BBQ Deals page for some great specials use code: Barbecue10 and 10% off your purchase at checkout.