Last week, the Ingredient of the Week was an Asian garlic chili sauce that doubles as a condiment and a marinade. This week, I decided to continue the meat-prepping theme by showcasing an American seasoning just in time for summer barbecues.
What is it?
A dry rub for various meats such as beef, pork and chicken. Ingredients include salt, garlic, chili pepper, onion, sugar and paprika, all conveniently located in one 12-ounce jar. Now you can get a consistently spicy rub without stocking five different canisters in your pantry. Dry rubs not only season the meat but also seal in the juices, creating a nice flavorful crust.
How do I use it?
Before firing up the grill, wash the meat thoroughly, and then pat dry with paper towels. The meat needs to be dry in order for the rub to adhere; otherwise, you'll end up with a mushy, clumpy mess. Add the seasoning as liberally as you'd like, making sure to coat evenly and massage the spices into the meat. Then cover and refrigerate for at least one hour--obviously the longer it sits in the rub, the more tasty it will be after cooking. I like to leave it overnight.
Before throwing it on the grill, remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it return to room temperature. This ensures more accurate cooking, preventing the outside from charring while the inside remains raw. The best way to tell if your meat is done is by inserting a food thermometer: beef steaks and roasts should be 120-130°F for medium rare; pork chops and roasts should be 135°F; and chicken should be 165°F.
Because ribs are thin, contain a lot of connective tissue, and come in various sizes, it is harder to determine the temperature and doneness of a rack. The best method for cooking ribs is on a lower temperature, over a longer period of time. Do it enough times, and you'll become an expert at knowing when they're ready to eat. Tip: Ribs should never be falling-off-the-bone tender -- this is a sign of overcooking. Rib meat should pull cleanly off the bone but still retain resilience. Mushy rib meat means the meat has been steamed in the process, therefore has lost flavor.
Where can I find it?
At any of the Rudy's "Country Store" and Bar-B-Q locations. There are three in the Houston metropolitan area: one on the Northwest Freeway, one up north in Spring, and one down south near NASA.
Recipe: Beef Brisket
This method uses an oven instead of a grill. Rub Rudy's Rub liberally over 4 lbs. of extra-lean beef brisket. Cover in several layers of foil and refrigerate overnight. Before cooking, remove brisket from fridge and let it return to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°F. Place brisket in a large roasting pan, cover, and roast for 5 to 6 hours. Remove brisket from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing and returning to pan. Pour barbecue sauce over the sliced meat, cover, and roast for another hour. Serve with your favorite summer sides.