Back to school? Back to chemistry class. I promise to make this painless. You already know the formula to 4-4 rub (a.k.a. the only barbecue rub you will ever need in this life), right?
Well, here, in easy-to-understand chart form, is how to customize that rub to produce a wide range of flavors and ethnic character. In other words, by subtly varying each core ingredient--and adding strategic aromatics--you can create an infinite variety of rubs.
Master formula for basic barbecue rub (equal parts each, plus aromatics to taste):
salt + pepper + paprika + sugar (+ aromatics) = BBQ bliss
Master formula for brisket/beef rib rub (equal parts of each):
coarse sea salt + cracked black peppercorns + hot pepper flakes (or to taste) = brisket bliss
MATRIX FOR DRY RUBS
Pick one from each column.
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Steven Raichlen is the author of the Barbecue! Bible cookbook series and the host of Project Smoke on public television. His web site is BarbecueBible.com.