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When to apply rub to meat?...

RoanokesmokeRoanokesmoke Posts: 29
edited September 2011 in EggHead Forum
(specifically a Boston butt in this case).  I've always applied a rub 2-4 hours out, as I've always read/heard that you need to be careful not to apply your rub too early, as the salt in the rub can dry out the meat.  However, lately I'm seeing that a good number of people are applying their rubs the night before.  With that being said, which method is correct?  Does it depend on the meat itself?  I could see how you could get away with applying a rub to a Boston butt the night before, but not to ribs (for example) as the ribs would dry out more quickly than a butt would.  Thoughts?


  • 4Runner4Runner Posts: 2,824
    I'm sure others will chime in but I do not believe when you add your seasoning will dry out the meat.  I just do my butts the day before and have never had an issue.  Did a rib roast the other week and it sat in the fridge, seasoned, for 3 days and we had no juice problems whatsoever.  I do think you could end up a bit too seasoned depending on how much you add and how long it sits.  
    Joe - I'm a reformed gasser-holic aka 4Runner Columbia, SC Wonderful BGE Resource Site: and  and
    What am I drinking now?   Woodford....neat
  • MCRMCR Posts: 270
    edited September 2011

    The problem I had with over night was the taste. I don't recall the dryness of the meat been the problem. It was a home made rub with ribs. My ribs were simply too salty. Salty as unpleasant and over powering.

    After I only used the same batch of rub for few hours before the cook and everything was great. I will be making more of that rub with less salt for over night seasoning. If I need to apply the rub before the cook, I would simply add more salt to the portion to be used that day.

    Good Luck!


  • I have always done mine the night before without any issues.  I don't think there are necessarily any wrong answers, but more personal preference.  I have done ribs the night before as well and that has been OK too.  Some say it makes the ribs "hammy" but I haven't noticed that.  Having said that I don't normally do ribs the night before any more as a matter of convenience.

    I wouldn't recommend doing smaller cuts the night before, but a butt, clod, turkey, big chicken are all large enough to handle that in my opinion.

    Large and Small BGE *
  • I've never done pork, but I rub my briskets a few minutes before putting them on the Egg. 

    Dripping Springs, Texas.
    Just west of Austintatious

  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,383
    I usually rub about an hour before, to give the rub a chance to melt some into the meat. I haven't noticed any dryness from over night rubs, but some ribs were rather "hammy." Not a bad thing, just a little strange. I've rubbed various meats just in salt, and left them wrapped in the fridge for up to 3 days. Being wrapped, they could not dry, but became fairly salty.
  • I used to go overnights but I haven't done it that way in years.  I rub within a hour of putting the meat on no matter what cut.  I've just found, for myself, I can't tell any difference.  Just easier to put it one right before the meat is about to go on.

    Packerland, Wisconsin

  • I leave the salt out of my rubs or cut it down significantly if am going to leave a rub on over night then add salt just prior to cooking if needed.   Ultimately it is up to you and what you feel provides the best flavor. 
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