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rubs, rubs and more rubs.....does it really matter

PlanoPokes79PlanoPokes79 Posts: 197
edited 12:30PM in EggHead Forum
So, while I understand that the various rubs contain different flavors and spices, what's the difference between a bird rub, a pig rub and a beef rub? No, this isn't a riddle! I'm really trying to understand the differences since I typically ignore the type of meat when selecting a rub.


  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,521
    Beef and game is richly flavored, and can stand more spice flavor in general. Also, I think beef and game is best without a lot of sweet or tang.

    Poultry is a much more mildly flavored meat, and benefits from a rub with some tanginess and a bit of sweetness. But not too robust on the spices or you may overwhelm the subtle taste of the meat. Similar with seafood.

    Pork is also robustly flavored, but seems to taste best with plenty of sweetness and some tang as well. And the richer fattier pork cuts can hold up to a fair amount of spice flavor and heat as well.

    Not sure if it helps, but it's all I gots!!
    Have a good one and happy cookin.
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
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  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,874
    I did a survey of about 100 rub recipes posted on the web. While I concentrated on pork and beef, I did note poultry. There were a fair number, maybe 20% that were general purpose & about 30% that were not described as special for anything. Of the remaining, there was a slight tendency for pork to have more sugar than beef, and beef have a bit more salt. Beef rubs often favored southwestern flavors, such as cumin, and maybe a bit more unusual, having coffee or cocoa. Poultry tended to be a little more herbal in terms of volume.
    I tend to use a sweeter rub for pork and chicken and a more savory rub for beef and lamb. I am very sensitive to hot pepper so that is a factor, a hot rub can spoil a cook for me. I also don't need a lot of salt in a rub as I think a lot of it gets lost in the cooking process. I salt at the table and it gives me good control of it.

    I make my own rubs, it is much more economical. Especially if you get your spices at Sam's Club, BJ's or Costco. Supermarket prices are off the wall.

    Here is an example of one of my all purpose rubs.

    1/2 C paprika
    1/8 C fine Sea salt
    2 C Drk. Brown Sugar
    2 T Dry Mustard
    1/4 C Chilli powder
    1/4 C Cumin
    2 T Blk. Pepper
    2 T Garlic powder
    2 T Onion powder
    1 t Cayenne pepper
    2 T Nutmeg
    1 T Cinnamon

    Rubs are all subjective to your taste and you can experiment with them till you get what suits you.


  • I have a rub that my grandfather made up on the ranch here in California over 100 years ago. It is sage based. I have tried it on chicken, beef and pork. On chicken and beef it is the best I have ever had. :) On pork it is truly awful. :sick: So the bottom line is "Yes it does make a difference".
    Wise words from the Master rub maker, I find rubs hard to perfect. It takes a lot of testing and hard work. My hat's off to you Chris, I know you have put great effort into your rubs and their popularity shows it.

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  • I use the same rub for everything I cook that requires a rub (pork, chicken, beef, baked beans, etc). I don't know everything that is in it because I purchase it in 5 lb bags a case at a time. It tends to get pretty spice with the crushed pepper and cayene in it.

  • Richard FlRichard Fl Posts: 8,244
    Sounds great, love sage with poultry. Care to share the recipe?
  • that is basically what I do, I use Head Country rub and then add heat or more garlic or...whatever as I feel that will make a good final outcome or NOTHING...have yet to have a bad cook....thanks everyone
  • Blair, I have been buying spices in the hispanic section of Publix and Sweetbay, and it's much less $$ than in the spice isle. The brand is Badia, and it less than half the price of McCormick and the other ones.
    Happily egging on my original large BGE since 1996... now the owner of 6 eggs. Call me crazy, everyone else does!
    3 Large, 2 Smalls, 1 well-used Mini
  • I've tried many different types of rub. Some do a great job in bringing out the flavor of the meat, others, not so much. If you find a rub that you like it can make all the difference in the world!

    The best brand I've found up in my neck of the woods is called "rub with love"

    Good stuff!
  • Holy Smokes,

    That's neat. stike was talking about that rub on a fishing trip last year B)



    Caledon, ON


  • Egg JujuEgg Juju Posts: 658
    It is obviously a personal preference. I make my own. I have tweaked them over the years and like the flavors for specific meats. I use one for pork butts which is more peppery and less sweet, one for pork ribs which is sweeter with brown sugar, a very simple one for beef as I feel the beef flavor should be allowed to take the lead, and I play around with chicken based on the sauce or method of cooking. I think, personally, that some chicken and less fatty pieces of pork need brines or marinades and those flavors will guide my final rub choice as well.

    I have always shied away from commercial rubs as the tend to be heavier with the cheaper salt. That isn't to say that there aren't good commercially prepared rubs as this is just my preference. When I have purchased one, rarely, I carefully read the label to insure I am not paying $20/pound for something that is largely salt.

    A fellow I know that has been making Que for a very long time gave me some great advice. Start with salt and pepper and build from there. Want it more sweet add some sugar. Want more spice add some pepper. You can then begin to bring in things like cumin, garlic, onion, paprika, oregano, various chili powders, and any other flavor you like to get the final flavor profile.

    The most important thing is do you like the way it tastes. Try some various things. Doctor some store bought product. Start with salt and pepper and build from there. Cold Mountain Rub, reportedly one of the oldest known rubs, is salt, sugar, pepper, and paprika and thats a good place to start.

    Have fun and I hope that helps.
    Large and Small BGE *
    Thanks Faith, I use the spices from the Hispanic ilse too. Your right, they are much better priced and you don't have to buy as much as at Sam's. I sometimes I make large batches of rub and like the big jars at the club stores. Then again the clubs do not carry all the spices I want. :)


  • Carolina QCarolina Q Posts: 12,873
    I really don't know. I have a bunch of DP rubs and I have a bunch of individual spices. When it's time to decide, the rub I reach for most often is a homemade rub I came up with that was supposed to be for brisket. I like it so much on the brisket that I tried it on other beef, then on pork and chicken. I mixed up a huge batch for family members for Christmas. The label on each jar said, "Everything Rub".

    I'm almost convinced that there very well could be a... one rub fits all. Besides, I'm running out of room in my cabinets!!

    I hate it when I go to the kitchen for food and all I find are ingredients!


    Central Connecticut 

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