BBQ Experimentation: New Dry Rub Recipe

BBQ Experimentation: New Dry Rub Recipe

Stop sniggering at the back.

Dry Rub is a carefully prepared blend of herbs and spices that are added to meat before cooking. Usually low’n’slow cooking. Really! Still sniggering?

This mini-obsession with BBQ started with the Digital Mission trips to SXSW and has surfaced again as we prepare to take 40 companies to this year’s mega-conference in Austin, Texas. One of the happy by-products of the trip is the chance to indulge in some of the best BBQ available.

There’s plenty of debate on the best dry rubs, the best BBQ sauces, how to prepare the meat, how to cook. So I’ve been experimenting. This time, I remembered to take pictures…so if you fancy giving it a whirl…read on:

Dry Rub Ingredients

Full list of ingredients:

  • 2 tbl black peppercorns
  • 2 tbl coriander seeds
  • 0.5 tbl fenugreek
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbl oregano
  • 1 tbl thyme
  • 1 tsp smoked hot paprika
  • 0.5 tsp cloves
  • 0.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbl garlic powder
  • 3 tbl dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbl salt

Start with the harder ingredients – black peppercorns and coriander seeds – and pound them into powder using a pestle & mortar, then start adding in the softer ingredients. If you can get whole ingredients rather than powder, I think the flavour is better.

Took me about 10 mins of heavy-duty pounding to get a reasonably fine powder for the rub. It could definitely be finer still, but I’m quite lazy. A tip here…use the weight of the mortar to crush the spices, if you use arm action alone, it gets tiring quickly.

This is roughly what it looks like:

Dry Rub Mix Ground

Now time to add the mix to the ribs. Take the tough membrane off the underside of the ribs, if it’s still there. Most butchers will have done this already.

Don’t worry too much about fat. Fat is good. Keeps everything juicy and lovely. And with this length of cooking time, much of it will cook off. At least that’s what I tell myself. Doctors may disagree.

Adding Dry Rub to Ribs

Spread evenly across the ribs and make sure the meat is covered. Scoring the underside of the ribs where there’s a little more fat helps to get the flavours into the meat.

Dry Rub & Ribs

Once you’re done, the ribs should be evenly covered and the texture feels like silky wood shavings. Then it’s time to wait. Boo. Cover with clingfilm and pop into the fridge for a while. In this experiment, I left them alone for 2.5 hours.

Dry Rub Rubbed In

Time to cook. Almost. Whip the ribs out of the fridge, remove clingfilm and let them come up to room temperature. This can take a while. But it’s worth it…that’s extra time for the dry rub to work it’s magic.

Whilst that’s happening, pop the oven on to 100C ready for the ribs.

For the cooking, low and slow are the by-words here. I like to pop the ribs on a rack above an oven dish that’s filled with water. This helps keep the ribs moist as they cook. Give them a while – 3-4 hours.

Ribs Ready to Cook

And this is the result:

4hrs Cooking - Ribs Ready to Eat

The ribs have a spicy, peppery crust but are moist and should pull apart really easily…

Ribs, Mmmmm

And eat! Took us about 20 minutes to wolf down the whole lot.

We tried them with a couple of different BBQ sauces, but in the end, I prefered them sauce-less. Let me know how you get on.

Photos (cc) Sam Michel. See the set on Flickr.


Inquisitive. Hopeful. Jovial. Cantankerous. Digital marketer. Event organiser. Long-time fan of tech, collaboration and innovation. Exploring digital, social, business, technology, society, psychology & startups. Founder Chinwag, Digital Mission, Pitch NYC, ChinwagPsych. Former Exec Dir, Social Media Week London. More short stuff @toodlepip on Twitter.

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