Basic Rubs, Sauces and Marinades for MAK Grills, Memphis Wood Fired Grills, and all other Wood Pellet Grills
|Preparing meat for cooking can be as complex as selecting the right wine for a special celebratory dinner or as easy as adding a little salt and fresh ground pepper. Those of us who are "driven to perfection" in the art of "pellet cooking" are constantly striving to find nirvana, that place in "grilling immortality" where the latest production is better than the last. It's that meal where our friends that have experienced our grilling talents tend to talk up "how great that rack of ribs was" or how flavorful, tender and moist that last morsel of chicken was. Often we hear how well the smoke highlighted that beef brisket and how tender it was as it melted in their mouth. The rubs and sauces develop and enhance the flavors of the smoke infused meat and sometimes become maligned as to how important they are to bring the whole package together.
Rubs are as varied as the region from which they tend to come from. However, most are made from the same ingredients but in varying amounts of each. Rubs are generally applied to the meat for several hours before cooking and some are best when left on the meat overnight. Most dry rubs are comprised of the following spices, herbs and sugars:
Brown sugar (light and dark)
Cumin (Ground cumin)
Coriander (Ground coriander)
Chili peppers (Various types ground and fresh minced)
Mustard (dry mustard)
Paprika (Smoked Paprika, Smoked Hungarian Paprika)
Onion (Dried and minced)
Garlic (Powder and minced)
Salt (Kosher, sea salt, other course salt)
Black pepper (Peppercorns)
Wet rubs will incorporate the dry ingredients above with other liquids such as olive oil, citrus juices like orange or lemon, vinegars and ketchup.
Sauces are as varied as the rubs. Some are bottled commercially and readily available at the local market. Others are only available from specific dealers or the original sauce maker. Some cookbooks provide recipes for various types of sauces for specific uses such as for fish, meats, or even vegetables. It should be noted here that typically BBQ sauces are usually applied at the end of the cooking process as they generally contain sugars that will burn when applied to food under high heat during the cooking period. The exception may be when the cooking temperature is lower for smoke barbequing and there is a separation from the fuel source and the food, otherwise known as indirect heat cooking as previously described.
Marinades are applied to the food hours before cooking. This exposure provides time for the marinade ingredients to meld and penetrate into the food. Often the marinade will have ingredients that initiate a tenderizing process in the food and is especially beneficial for cheaper cuts of meat.