The Science of Dry Rubs

Article sourced from Bunzl Australia & New Zealand.

Starting from a small family run butcher shop that put quality and flavour above everything else, Lesnie’s has been supplying butchers for 100 years.

Since 1910 Lesnie’s has been providing retail butchers and food processors with high quality supplies and smallgoods ingredients to enhance meats cuts and create better value products Lesnie’s is dedicated to delivering current and relevant products when it comes to flavour trends, and, as such, is continuing to build on our favourite flavours to meet the more modern palette.

The dry rubs range is an example of this flavour evolution.

In the world of dry rubs knowing which ones will work best for which product can be difficult.

A quality dry rub should be the perfect blend of seasoning and spices that will upgrade, not over power, the flavour. A good rub will give you the chance to create a new flavour experience for your customers while adding value to your product range.

There are varying degrees of involvement when it comes to the world of dry rubs. The most basic rub can be as simple as a combination of salt, pepper and brown sugar. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can have more than eight different seasonings and ingredients – as long as it includes a good dose of salt and sugar, you’ve got yourself a dry rub.

Aside from the base flavours, dry rubs should also include variations of flavour enhancers. Popular enhancers are things like cayenne, chilli powder or paprika, which will add some spice to the mix. It’s also important to remember that every spice plays an important role when it comes to flavour profiles: soft, smoky cumin reflects the smoke of a fire pit; tangy, dark paprika adds complexity; fiery cayenne heats things up and sweet brown sugar caramalises.

Other common ingredients you’ll find in a quality dry rub are things like garlic, mint or black pepper which all add some earthniess to the meat. When it comes to dry rubs, flavour can go in any direction – as long as there’s a good balance  between all the ingredients. The key elements of a good dry rub work in harmony to bring out the best in your meat.

What spices pair best with which meat?

Beef: dehydrated basil, black paper, cayenne, cumin, dry mustard powder, garlic powder, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme.

Pork: allspice, caraway, celery seed, cloves, coriandar, fennel, ginger, juniper berries, dry mustard powder, sage, savory.

Lamb: cinnamon, curry powder, garlic powder, marjoram, dried mint, onion powder, rosemary, sage, savory, thyme.

Poultry: cinnamon, garlic powder, mace, majoram, onion powder, paprika, saffron, thyme.

So, what’s the advantage to using a dry rub?

Dry rubs don’t add any additional moisture to the meat the way that a marinade does. Whenever you apply heat to a cut of meat, the moisture on the surface needs to evaporate before a sear can start to develop, which is why dousing it in liquid beforehand can be counter intuitive. Using a a dry rub puts you on a faster track to a delicious flavoursome crust.

But just because you incorporate a dry rub pre-heat, it doesn’t mean you can’t also add a good marinade afterwards to further magnify the flavours. Brushing a glaze or a marinade on your meat after you’ve got some browning going can create layers of complex, concentrated flavour that’ll bring any meat to the next level.

Whether you’re a retail butcher, supermarket or working in food processing – a good dry rub can enhance the taste of any protein or vegetable. And with Lesnie’s new refined flavours you’ll be on trend to meet your customers’ expanding pallete expectations and on track to offer a greater range of delicious options for tonight’s dinner.