Flavour profiling is an important consideration when seasoning our meat for the grill. It is ideal to hit on all the different tastes to create a balanced flavour that will have everyone salivating. First, we need to look at the different tastes, salty, sweet, savory, spicy, sour, and umami is the flavour notes we want to hit to create a balanced flavour profile, and using one rub sometimes doesn’t quite get us there. By combining different rubs it allows us to take flavours from one rub and combine them with another to create a harmonious flavour we can even combine rubs to get a specific colour as well.
One tip when seasoning meat always start with your rubs with larger particles and end with rubs that are finer in texture to maximize the amount of rub that will stick to your meat.
Let’s look at where the different flavours come into play in a great rub and what kinds of ingredients we might see that let us know what that particular rub has to offer.
The main ingredient in many rubs, salt can help enhance flavour, but if there is too much it can be overpowering and make your meat unappetizing and inedible in some cases. Look at the ingredients on the spice rub label they are always listed in the order of the amounts of ingredients, those being at the beginning of the list comprising more of the rub.
A key flavour in most rubs, and always a balancing act, too much sweet, and it can be off-putting on the meat too little and it can feel like something is missing. When seasoning meats like chicken, pork, and lamb, tend to tolerate more of a sweet rub, whereas fish and beef you would want to look at rubs with less sugar in them.
These would be what I call the supportive actors when it comes to a rub, spices like cumin, basil, rosemary, thyme, and herbs bring out more savory notes, if you notice your rub is more on the course side it usually is because it has more herbs in it.
When it comes to spice it can be hard to please everyone, when I am seasoning meat for a crowd I tend to not be too heavy-handed in the heat department, I look for a rub that has a bit of heat that builds as you eat, I like people to know it is there but I don’t want it to be so intense they don’t want to eat it.
I tend to hit on these notes in the sauces I use on my meat, also sour flavours don’t lend themselves to everything, but should al Save ways be something to consider, a great vinegar sauce on a sweet rubbed pulled pork can’t be beat.
This is that earthy flavour in rubs, coffee and mushrooms are great examples of this.
Some rubs have great colour that make your meat look delicious, colour comes from things like paprika, and some sweet pepper flake varieties.
Below are some great rub combinations that have been tested in our own kitchen we feel are real game-changers in the flavour department, and have been carefully curated on our product pages that can now be purchased as a bundle of rubs!
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