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Thirdeye Q

This site contains a collection of techniques for barbecuing, smoking and cooking over fire. The techniques shown here are not the only way or the best way to prepare a certain item. This site is just a starting point and these techniques are a guide to creating your own recipes. Recipes included here come not only from personal experiences, but from many knowledgeable folks kind enough to share their secrets. ~thirdeye~


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Several rub recipes are first, followed by some thoughts, uses and recipes for curing salts

The history and traffic in spices goes back to the days before recorded history. In ancient times, pepper for example, was more valuable than gold and only available to the upper class. Columbus arrived in America while searching for a direct route to the Spice Islands. Many early Americans made their fortunes as spice merchants. Today, with our various cultures and regional tastes, the United States is the world’s major spice buyer.
Let’s face it, seasonings make food taste better. When it comes to spices, we are very lucky. Spices from around the world are at our fingertips and they are affordable! When it comes to barbecue, several regions across the United States have developed a footprint or theme particular to local tastes. Kansas City, Memphis, the Carolina’s, Texas, and California combine barbecue methods with certain spice blends, generally referred to as “rubs”. There are many fine commercial rubs on the market with a huge variety of flavors. With a little guidance, the back yard pit master can experiment and develop home made rubs too. Get to know your spice options, here is a glossary of spices that is very useful.

Below are some starter rubs that will help you develop your own rubs. Keep in mind that larger things like ribs, butts and brisket will be cooked for long periods of time, and the method might involve a foil step or maybe saucing, therefore a slight over-seasoning might be necessary.  The amounts of ingredients are just a guide. Experiment by adding or subtracting one or two things at a time. Try to get the freshest spices you can find. Use caution when measuring salts because the type and even brand of salt will make a difference. 1 tablespoon of granular salt = 1-1/2 tablespoons of Morton's Kosher or 2 tablespoons of Diamond Crystal Kosher. TIP: Use only one brand of Kosher salt, and your seasonings will be more consistant.

In rub recipes below calling for Kosher salt, Morton's brand is used. When sea salt is called out, a course grind is used unless fine is specified.

The Basic Rub – About as easy as it gets

Combine amounts to taste and apply directly to the meat just before cooking. Variations of salt include sea salt, Kosher salt or smoked salts. Try to avoid iodized salt. Variations to pepper include black pepper, white pepper, red pepper and the grinds can be fine or coarse. Fresh cracked pepper will be more flavorful. Other variations: Try adding some garlic powder or maybe some onion powder, paprika, chili powder or some sugar. Okay, you see where I'm headed........

Garlic Pepper - I use a lot of garlic pepper... on vegetables, in chicken or tuna salad, salmon & trout, and on other meats of all kinds.  On my BBQ meats, garlic pepper is an important layer under most other rubs. Store bought garlic pepper varies from brand to brand but the bottom line is... for as simple as it is, store bought garlic pepper is expensive.  Below are my two recipes.  One is sweet for use on ribs, butts, and other cuts of pork.  The second is an all-purpose blend for use on anything that you don't want sugar on.  These recipes make about 1.5 ounces, which is about 1/3 of a standard spice bottle full.

thirdeye's Sweet Garlic Pepper Seasoning for Pork
3 teaspoons Garlic Powder
3 teaspoons Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Canning Salt
1/2 teaspoon Toasted Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Red Bell Pepper (ground)

thirdeye's All-Purpose Garlic Pepper Seasoning
3 teaspoons Garlic Powder
3 teaspoons Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Canning Salt 
1/2 teaspoon Toasted Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Paprika

No Sugar Rub – A traditional rub for low and slow cooks of brisket, beef ribs, pork ribs and butts. The lack of sugar does not promote premature browning during long cooks.

3T Hungarian paprika
4t sea salt (2t fine, 2t coarse)
2t garlic salt
1 ½ t cayenne
4t black pepper
4t chili powder (top hat)
4t garlic powder
4t onion powder
2t cumin

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly

Brisket Rub - Another traditional beef rub without sugar.

1 c. kosher salt
¼ cup garlic powder
¼ cup onion powder
1/8 cup ground thyme
1/8 cup ground bay
1/8 cup black pepper
1/8 cup celery seed
1/8 cup Hungarian paprika.

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Burn's Best Brisket RubJim Burns is a past president of the National Barbecue Association. Rub about three quarters of this rub onto the brisket and cook until the internal temperature is 165°. Remove brisket, sprinkle with the remaining rub, wrap in foil and return to the cooker. Cook until a probe will slide in the brisket with little resistance. Rest and slice.

1-1/2 cups sea salt
1/2 cup mild chili powder
1 cup four-peppercorn blend
1/2 cup seasoning salt
1/2 cup paprika
1/2 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup onion powder

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Here is Jim Goode’s BBQ Beef Rub. It can be used when low salt is desired. The sugar in the rub will brown and make a "carmelized crust" when using higher cook temperatures. It has been posted for quite a few years on The BBQ Forum. It inspired a similar rub known as JJ’s Rub which is exactly the same with 1-1/2 teaspoons of rosemary added.
Jim Goode's BBQ Beef Rub"This beef rub is great for beef, pork and lamb. Once you mix the spices they'll keep about 4 months in an airtight jar. When ready to use, just rub into the meat, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate the night before grilling."
Jim Goode

Original recipe yield: 3 /4 cup.

2 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon ground bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
3/4 teaspoon ground savory
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
salt to taste

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, paprika, mustard powder, onion powder, garlic powder, basil, bay leaves, coriander, savory, thyme, black pepper, white pepper, cumin, and salt. Store in an airtight jar at room temperature until ready to use.

Montreal Steak Rub – A coarse rub based on the "pickling rub" used to make Montreal smoked meat, which was made famous by Schwartz's deli.  It is also called Canadian rub.    This rub is suited for beef, but also good on pork, chicken and potatoes. 

3T coriander seeds
3T black peppercorns
4T dried bell pepper (mix green & red bell pepper)
2T onion flakes
2T garlic flakes
2T sea salt
1T caraway seeds
2T dill seeds
1T dried thyme
1t dried lemon peel

Combine all ingredients and grind in a coffee grinder.

Rib Rub - Good rub on pork ribs or butts

2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
2 tablespoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground green pepper
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon ground cayenne
2 tablespoons Turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons fine ground sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

No Salt Rib Rub for Honey Coated Ribs - There is no salt in this rub, no sugar either. All the sweet comes at the end.

3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground basil
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon red pepper
1 tablespoon mustard powder

Warmed honey

Combine all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Brush ribs with warm honey about 10 minutes before ribs come off the pit.

Hot-N-Sweet – A rub suited for chicken, pork or vegetables like corn-on-the-cob or squash.

1 ½ cup turbinado sugar
½ cup onion salt
½ cup garlic salt
2T mustard powder
3T top hat chili powder
1T green peppercorns, crushed
1T red peppercorns, crushed
1 T black pepper
1 T lemon pepper
2T cayenne
1t dried rosemary
½ cup paprika
1T dried basil
1t rubbed sage

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly

DRY CURING - APPLICATIONS and  GENERAL THOUGHTS - This section will discuss the uses of curing agents as well as a few starter recipes.  I use dry cures to make smoked trout, smoked salmon, Buckboard or Canadian style bacon, belly bacon, pastrami, beef jerky and sausage.  Specific recipes for these uses are on other pages, but I wanted to have some general information in one place.

Dry cures are a rub of sorts, the main differences between the two are: 1. Dry cures are mostly salt and sugar.  2.  Dry cures generally contain nitrates, nitrites or both.  3.  Dry cures are applied 3 to 10 days before smoking.  4.  Dry cures change the texture, flavor and color of the meat.  4.  Dry cures have specific applications.  5. Amount of dry cures are not interchangeable between types.

Dry cures come in three forms:
1. Tenderquick - This is a Morton Salt product for home curing.  It contains salt, 0.5% nitrite, 0.5% nitrate and sugar.  Usage: 1 tablespoon per pound of whole muscle meat.  1.5 teaspoon per pound of ground meat.

2. Cure #1 (Prague #1, Instacure #1) - This is a pink colored curing salt used by professionals and people comfortable with using advanced techniques at home.  It is used when the product will be cooked.  Uses for Cure #1 are hams, bacon, sausage, corned beef and so on.  Usage:  1 level teaspoon for 5 pounds of meat.

3. Cure #2 (Prague #2, Instacure #2) - This is a pink colored curing salt used by professionals and people comfortable with using advanced techniques at home. This cure is used when products are not cooked.  Uses for Cure #2  are hard salami and some of the special Italian cured meats.  Usage:  Follow directions for a proven recipe.