I haven't counted, but I'm pretty sure there are about a million commercial rubs out there for different meats/styles of cooking/ethnic themes/etc.
I have picked up about 7 new store bought rubs in the past month, and since I use them on all sorts of different meats, it is really hard to decide whats best on what. So this weekend instead of doing some huge cooks like shoulder, brisket, chuck roast, etc, I have a different plan.
Starting Friday night, I am going to grill chicken breasts. I'm cutting each breast in half, and using a different rub on each piece in addition to a simple salt and pepper rub.. We are then going to cut them up and evaluate how each rub tastes on the chicken and sort of do an unscientific but personal "rank" of our favorite flavors on that cut, and some notes about the taste (ie: sweet, spicy, savory, etc)
Saturday lunch, I'll do some pork with the same test,same spices, etc, etc.
I plan to try this on several different meats, fish, and poultry, to get a "head to head" comparison for OUR tastes. The reason is, in the past I'd do ribs with one rub, then 2 weeks later do ribs with another rub and we try to decide which was our favorite using our memory....which isn't as accurate as a head to head comparison. That and some days spicy is mouth watering, some days sweet is mouth watering. So to know which rubs make which cuts taste a certain way can help plan which rub will be best for any given cook.
I think of a cup of coffee as my inspiration for this "experiment". I grind my beans fresh every morning. Heat my water in a kettle, and then combine them in a french press. So to me, this is the ultimate coffee base, and my guests and better half agree.... but I add half and half, 2 Splendas, and stir to make the "perfect cup". I have many friends who would completely disagree...they want 1 Splenda, or real sugar, or no creamer, or skim milk, etc. So "perfect" to one persons tastes is completely irrelevant to another's. So when you follow a recipe and expect it to be "the best ever"....it's really only the best to that particular persons taste buds, not really to yours, or your families.
Has anyone else tried anything like this? If so, was it an eye opener as to your tastes in seasoning on the grill? I've found my favorite seasoning of all time, so far, for mixed vegetables is a "Salmon" rub we got at our local ACE hardware store. So I don't really limit my seasonings to the purpose labeled on the bottle.
I'll try to update my findings throughout the weekend. I'm interested to hear anyone else's experiments with this type of thing.