[ Here's the Rub: DIY Dry Rubs ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
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If only three letters could spell summer they would have to be BBQ. Strung together like peas in a pod, these alphabetic characters allude to the expectation of enjoying fire-roasted foods and a "come as you are" social gathering at the same time. Even better, a table of shared side dishes (and maybe a few rounds of suds) builds community.
Whether you fancy Tex-Mex, Creole or Carolina slow-style, one of the best routes to great-tasting BBQ is a dry rub. A well-balanced rub creates magic on grilled chicken, burgers, steak, pork and seafood. But the flavor fun doesn't end there. In fact, here's a few suggestions that might rub you the right way: use your favorite blends to add zesty flavor to roasted vegetables, scrambled eggs, salad dressings, dipping sauces, French fries, popcorn and brownies!

[ Here's the Rub: BBQ Beginnings ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

a. bbq beginnings

Precisely when or why human beings started to cook their food remains a mystery but, with the discovery of fire more than 50,000 years ago, the practice of roasting food over an open fire is clearly ancient. Although it's likely that our Neanderthal ancestors discovered both element and method by accident, there is paleontological evidence that they learned to use seeds, nuts, fruits and wild plants to improve the flavor and texture of fibrous roots and tough mammoth. There is also evidence that the use and trade of spices with neighboring peoples began near the end of the Stone Age.

Cooking techniques gradually improved with the advent of communal living, the domestication of livestock and the cultivation and trade of vegetables, grains, herbs and spices. No doubt the introduction of earthenware stirred things up. However, even though new foods and utensils became more accessible, the roasting spit remained more or less unchanged for centuries. In fact, the modern barbeque grill is essentially the same apparatus with the added benefit of having an on/off knob and a cover (and let's not forget those handy side burners). The name for the method of cooking was reputedly inspired by the observation of Caribbean natives, who referred to their practice of slow-roasting meat in fire pits as barabicu. The term was adapted in the U.S. during the colonial period, and eventually morphed into "barbeque.""

[ Here's the Rub: Regional Rubs ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

b. regional rubs

Modern grill masters take barbeque very seriously. It's even fair to say that regional sub-cultures have been built on BBQ flavorings and techniques.

The "barbeque belt" of the southern and southeastern portions of the U.S., for example, are influenced by a medley of Native American, French Acadian and African gastronomy. As a result, traditional southern-style dry rubs typically consist of dry mustard, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and paprika. In Cajun territory, dry rubs often contain a combination of thyme, oregano, cumin, red pepper and gumbo file (powdered sassafras leaves).

Give international flair to roasted meats and vegetables with Asian-inspired seasonings like ginger, garlic and 5-spice powder. A blend of garam masala, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin and turmeric makes a deeply aromatic and flavorful Indian dry rub. Other herbs and spices that suitable for dry rubs inspired by these cuisines include coriander, cayenne, allspice, nutmeg and cloves.

[ DIY Dry Rubs: Go Ahead Rub It In ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

c. go ahead, rub it in

One of the best things about using a dry rub seasoning is that there is no need to marinate the food in liquid for hours. As you might have already guessed, the basic idea is to rub the dry seasoning mix onto the meat (or firm tofu or tempeh). To ensure that it coats and sticks, the surface of the food must be free of moisture, so be sure to pat dry with a paper towel first.

This is one occasion where it's okay to play patty-fingers with your food. The goal is to get a generous and even coat of seasoning on each piece of meat, both sides. The best way to make that happen with less mess is to work over a towel or cutting board with a bowl of your chosen rub at your side. Then you can start cooking right away or, for deeper flavor, pop the prepared meat in the fridge for an hour. Just be sure to let it come up to room temperature again before grilling.

Try some of these diy dry rub recipes to get started on your blending adventures.

[ DIY Dry Rubs: Rub Rules ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

d. rub rules

When it comes to herb and spice combinations in dry rubs, the sky is the limit. But there are a few best practices to observe to get the most from this method of cooking.

Score beef brisket, pork loin and other large cuts of meat to help the rub reach deeper.

For chicken pieces with skin, work the rub mixture under the skin as well as on top.

For best flavor, allow rubbed foods (especially beef) to rest in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Discard any unused portion of rub that you’ve dipped your fingers into to apply to raw meat.

Store dry rubs in a tightly sealed container for up to six months.

Freeze rubbed foods to have ready-to-go entrees to cook at a later time.