Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dry Rub Magic

More on grilling, this Memorial Day weekend. If you haven't spiced up your grilling with a bit of dry rub yet, I have a tip for you. Unlike marinades, dry rubs can be put on your meat close to grilling time, so using them requires no advance planning. You can rub them on in advance, if you like, but it's not absolutely necessary to impart flavor. The dry rub brings plenty of flavor in no time at all.

There are an infinite number of dry rubs, depending on where you draw your influence from. This is a traditional American BBQ style rub, a little sweet, and one that you can use on poultry or any kind of red meat, even salmon. I used it most recently on Cornish game hens, which are great on the grill. They are a bit more expensive than chicken, but they are also a bit more impressive than plain chicken. Everyone can get their own half a hen and they cook in 30 minutes if you split them in half before cooking. Another advantage of splitting them in half is you can cover the inside of the bird with the rub too.

In keeping with the quick theme, rub on the dry rub when you start your grill. By the time the coals are ready or your grill is hot, you can put the hens on. If you have more time, put the dry rub on a few hours ahead and refrigerate until you're ready to cook them. Either way, they will be delicious.

This recipe makes more rub than you will need for a single meal. Put it in a glass jar and store in a cool, dark place. You'll have it in the pantry whenever you need a quick BBQ fix. Use it up with a few months of mixing it up. For 4 Cornish game hen halves, you'll need about 6 Tablespoons.

Basic BBQ Dry Rub
(makes 1 cup)

¼ cup coarse salt, such as kosher salt
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup sweet paprika
3 Tablespoons ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon dried minced onion or onion powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix together in a bowl and store in a tightly covered jar in a cool, dry place.

Use on chicken, Cornish game hens, ribs, pork chops or roasts, salmon, or steak.

Adapted from a recipe by Steven Raichlen.

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