Dry rub mixes are a great way to add plenty of flavor to meat, poultry and fish without adding loads of extra fat. In fact, they’re also great on tofu for you vegans out there — just sprinkle it on after your regular marinade. A lot of the time, we opt for premade rubs instead of throwing together our own. Sure, store-bought might be a teensy bit faster — but they just don’t pack the same flavor punch as DIY rubs.
Not only that, homemade dry rubs are much cheaper than the store-bought versions, and they allow you to be in control of what goes into them. People who are sensitive to MSG know they’re getting a rub without it. Need a lower sodium content? Reduce or substitute the salt. You can even control the levels of spices like cayenne pepper to keep it mild or amp up the fire. You’ll never buy store-bought again.
Before you start experimenting with DIY rubs, here are a couple of tips to make yours the best it can be.
- To mix, use a mini whisk so you really get everything incorporated. You can also whiz them in a small food processor or coffee grinder if you’d like a finer blend.
- Clean used spice bottles are a great way to store leftover seasoning. You can also buy shaker lids for Ball or Mason jars. If worse comes to worst, a plain old plastic baggie will do just fine. Just make sure it’s an airtight container, especially for the recipes that have sugar in them.
- Kosher salt, sea salt and table salt don’t substitute equivalently. If using table salt for either of those, reduce it by at least half, and salt to taste.
Ready for the recipes? Let’s get to it.
DIY dry rub recipes
A version of this article was originally published in May 2015.