There are a couple of things you need to know before you start finding your perfect BBQ rib rub. First of all, people will tell you that salt will dry out the meat and prevent browning. Oddly enough most rubs and spice mixtures purchased in the store contain salt. The truth is that you can dry meat by letting it sit in a large pile of salt for many days. However, a light sprinkling of salt on the surface of meat actually draws the flavor of the rub into the meat much more than the salt draws out the moisture. There is even a school of thought that says to apply salt 24 hours before cooking to allow it to sink all the way in.
When it comes to sugar there are a couple of basic rules you need to remember. First of all, sugar works a lot like salt. It needs moisture to dissolve. The moisture on the meat is going to be used to create a syrup-like liquid over the meat. This actually helps hold the herbs and spices in your rub in place. The other rule is the big one. Sugar burns at 130 C. So, if you heat your sugar rubbed ribs to temperatures above this for a long period of time the sugar will burn. However, the sugar in the rub will be mixed with other things like water (from the meat) and salt (from the meat and/or rub) and perhaps a bit of olive oil. This will slow down the rate at which the sugar burns. You can reach higher temperatures but only for a short period of time. This will allow you to slow cook your ribs on the BBQ or oven, then increase the temperature to caramelize the sugar at the end of cooking to create a nice crust on the surface.
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Directions: Mix together the brown sugar, paprika, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Rub into pork ribs and set aside for 15 minutes. BBQ ribs as desired. I like to slow cook them under an upturned stainless steel bowl on the BBQ for 10 minutes, and then take the bowl off to brown them for a few minutes. My mum slow cooks them in her oven and then BBQs them for a few minutes. If you have a Weber style BBQ then even better.