What does Saddleback BBQ use for Spice Rubs?

Since we started our blog we have been talking about quality blue smoke and how that’s the best seasoning that you can use on BBQ. In addition to that we need to also talk about rubs and their role in BBQ. What constitutes a rub and why is it so important?

First, rubs include, but are not limited to sugar, salt, black pepper and other assorted ingredients. A good general start to a good BBQ rub would be 2 parts brown sugar, 2 parts kosher salt, 1 part black pepper, 1 part chili powder and then you would round it out with a few of the following: garlic powder, cumin, thyme oregano, etc. Typically people make different rubs for beef, pork and poultry to better suit the different taste profiles. We have a different spice rub for all of our meats at Saddleback. We have a more savory rub for our brisket. A more sweet and spicy rub for pork. We have an all around rub for our chicken. We know there are lots of good commercial rubs out there, but in order to get the results in flavor and to create a great bark – we need to create our own.

Second, why are rubs so important to everything we do in BBQ? Well rubs have a direct effect on the creation of bark, the dark crispy outer coating on our briskets and pork shoulders. Think of toasting bread and its effect on not only the taste of the bread, but also the texture. Some see the dark, crispy outer coating and think it must be burnt. Oh no, that’s where the rub comes into creating that magical sensation of sweet, salty, crispy goodness. It makes any pitmaster die a little inside when someone cuts off what they think must only be burnt. With a good rub you also help attract good smoke onto your BBQ. The coarseness of our salt, sugar and black pepper help to “catch” the very fine particles in blue smoke. That’s why our BBQ will have that dark brown (almost black) color and you know that we have done our job right.

We will go into more depth on our rubs when we break down our meats and how we smoke each of them. Each one needs its own rub to not only help season the meat, but to also help create that great bark that we all love.