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2021 Meat-Up In Memphis Canceled - Rescheduled for March 2022

We've unfortunately had to cancel the 2021 Meat-Up in Memphis. We are rescheduling for March 18-20, 2022. More details and re-booking info coming soon! For now click here for more info.
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To Rub or not to Rub?

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  • Jmccloskey659
    Former Member
    • Jul 2017
    • 72
    • Cornwall, New York

    To Rub or not to Rub?

    After years of experimenting with salting techniques and rubs for strip steaks (1.5 inches thick), I finally decided to turn to the experts for guidance. Do I dry brine (I.e., salt in advance) and if I do, do I eliminate the rub to avoid over salting? Do I apply a steak rub instead of dry brining and if so, when and how much? There is a lot of conflicting advice out there....Help!!
  • Mr. Bones
    Charter Member
    • Sep 2016
    • 10168
    • Kansas Territory
    • Grills / Smokers

      Kingsford 24" grill (Free) 'Billy'
      Brinkmann Smoke n Grill
      Oklahoma Joe Highland, gaskets, LavaLock baffle / tuning plate. 'Big Joe'
      Weber 18" Kettle ($30 CL) 'Lil' Feller'
      Weber Smokey Joe ($25 CL) 'Lil' Brother'
      Weber 22.5 Master Touch '93 P Code Blue($85) from fellow WKC member Bmitch 'Elwood'
      Weber 22.5 Bar-B-Q Kettle '69-'70 "Patent Pending" Red ($80) from fellow WKC member dwnthehatch 'Maureen'
      Weber 22.5 OTS DD Code Black ($40 CL) 'DeeDee'
      Weber 22.5 OTS DO Code Black ($15 CL)
      Weber 22.5 OTS E Code Black ($20 CL
      Weber 22.5 OTS EE Code Black ($20 CL

      Weber "C" Code 18.5" WSM '81 ($50 CL) 8-0!!!
      Weber "H" Code 18.5" WSM '86 ($75 CL)
      Weber " " Code 18.5" WSM

      Weber 26.75, $199 NFM clearance !!!
      Weber SJS AH 'Lil' Brother'
      Weber SJS AT 'Lil' Sister'
      Weber SJS DE Code (FREE) 'Lil' Helper'
      Weber SJG M Code 'Lil Traveller'
      Weber SJS AH Code 'Kermit'
      (Lime Green)
      Horizon 20" Classic, w/baffle/tuning plate (FREE)
      Good One Open Range, (FREE), Monthly Prize from AR giveaway!!!!

      Ol' Skool Bi-metal probe pocket thermo, that has checked / served ~ 1,000,000 meals in my possession, easily...
      Maverick ET-732, (Black)
      Thermopops, (Red, Yellow, Green)
      ThermaPen Mk4 (Black), THANKS!!! to jgjeske1
      Blue ThermaPen Mk4
      Orange Thermapen Mk4
      Pink Thermapen Mk4
      ThermoWorks IR-GUN-S
      ThermoWorks Smoke
      ThermoWorks Open Box Smoke
      4 Pro Series cable extensions
      Smoke Gateway

      2 Slow 'N Sears, Slow 'N Sear XL, Grill 'N Griddle
      BBQ Vortex, 2 Hovergrills, Top Deck
      Warming shelf
      MyWeigh KD-8000Kitchen Scale
      Backyard Grill marinade injector
      Acoustic Guitars/Electric Guitars/Basses/1928 National Duolian/Harmonicas/Banjo Washboard, Spoons, kazoos, pocket comb with wax paper, egg shakers ;-)
      Bear Paws
      Meat Rakes
      BBQ Dragon/Chimley of Insanity, Dragon Wing Shelves (x2 ea.)

      Probably a ton of cast iron, mostly very old...still cookin'
      G'Ma's Piqua skillet, :-)( They went out of business in 1934~)
      '60's Revere Ware (Mom's), + others found elsewhere
      60's CorningWare 10-cup percolator (Mom's) Daily driver
      50's CorningWare 10-cup percolator (G'Ma's), for a backup! ;-)
      Carpy Wally World stock pots, in approx 2 gal/3gal sizes, blue speckledty-porcelain enameled
      Tramontina 6.5 qt Dutch Oven

      Cutlery, etc.:
      Shi*-ton of kitchen/chef knives, most sharper than my straight-razors are. (Better steel!) Chicago Cutlery, Old Hickory, various, including some nice German stuff ;-)
      Dexter 12" slicing knife, 6" Sani-Safe boning knife
      Smith's Tri-Hone Natural Arkansas Knife Sharpening System
      Multiple steels, from all over the planet
      Crock sticks
      Diamond stones, various
      Lansky Sharpening System

      Daily driver:Washington Forge Mardi Gras, Navy / Cobalt Blue
      Dinner: Guests: Washington Forge, Town and Country
      Fancy / Formal: Family silverware

    Well, My Good Sir, I'll toss in my ¢2, an won't even bill yer card, bein's how yer family, up in here...

    Strips are arguably still my favourite steak, historically, which entails a handfulla decades, or so of preference trend....
    Matter of fact, they's on sale, $5.99 Choice, hereabouts, Family Pack...

    Oops, I jus referenced above, an realized ya were solicitin advice from 'Th Experts', so never mind me...

    They'll be along, shortly, I'd haveta reckon, if I'm any kinda judge of such things...


    • HouseHomey
      HouseHomey commented
      Editing a comment
      Lmao man!

    • Ahumadora
      Ahumadora commented
      Editing a comment
      @Mr.Bones. Someone with 30 % the amount of pits you have is classified as an expert or a bbq wharehouse.
  • FireMan
    Charter Member
    • Jul 2015
    • 8340
    • Bottom of Winnebago

    Won’t tell you how to eat yer steak, just won’t. That’s yer business. I don’t use any rub or sauce on a steak, unless I’ve got some mushrooms in some oil or onions in butter, lots of it. Practically all of my rubs are made, so there is no salt in any of them for anything. Cuz I put them on just before the cook. The salt on the other hand, with a steak, can work over night, I usually do 4 hrs before or 45 or so min. I keep it simple. Simply salt & pepper on a steak, oh & the butter. My two cent & Bonsey’s two make you not a rich man. Eat good & have fun.


  • pkadare
    Club Member
    • Jun 2019
    • 983
    • Bobcaygeon, Ontario
    • My gear:
      22 Weber Kettle
      Napoleon PRO Charcoal Kettle Grill
      Broil King Keg
      Traeger Pro 34
      Napoleon Prestige Pro 500
      Pit Barrel Cooker
      Blackstone Range Combo Griddle

    As with most things, and not just food, taste is very personal and subjective. Whatever works for you is right! My preference for steaks is to dry brine, no rub, just some pepper. I really never use store bought rubs on anything, and if I do, I try to make sure that it contains no salt.


    • Polarbear777
      Club Member
      • Sep 2016
      • 1892

      My preference is a dry brine overnight and I’m lazy so I add the no salt dry rub at the same time because it’s still wet and it sticks.

      If no no planning involved. Just salt, rub and go.


      • Woodson
        Former Member
        • Jun 2019
        • 80
        • Missouri

        Simply use/make a rub with no or low salt. The most important part is to let us know how it turned out so we can all add that to our bag of tricks.


        • HouseHomey
          Club Member
          • May 2016
          • 5572
          • Huntington Beach, Ca. Surf City USA.
          • Equipment
            Primo Oval xl

            Slow n Sear (two)
            Drip n Griddle
            22" Weber Kettle
            26" Weber Kettle one touch
            Blackstone 36” Pro Series
            Sous vide machine
            Kitchen Aid
            Meat grinder
            sausage stuffer
            5 Crock Pots
            Two chimneys (was 3 but rivets finally popped, down to 1)
            cast iron pans,
            Dutch ovens
            Signals 4 probe, thermapens, chef alarms, Dots, thermapop and maverick T-732, RTC-600, pro needle and various pocket instareads.
            The help and preferences
            1 extra fridge and a deep chest freezer in the garage
            A 9 year old princess foster child
            Patience and old patio furniture
            "Baby Girl" The cat

            Erik S.

          Whatever makes your boat float.

          But since you asked. I Salt the [email protected]&$ out of mine and slap it on. I rarely use rub on a steak unless it’s for tacos or something.

          a little salt in a rub is necessary IMHO. I say I don’t add salt to my rubs but I always add a little.

          Some dry brine time won’t hurt.


          • Mr. Bones
            Mr. Bones commented
            Editing a comment

          • pjlstrat
            pjlstrat commented
            Editing a comment
            +1 here as well
        • gdsim1
          Club Member
          • Jan 2017
          • 183
          • KC MO
          • Tryin' not to light my beard on fire east of KC MO. Pit Barrel Cooker for smokin', Char-Griller for grillin' and the cutest little no-name instant read thermometer you've ever seen to keep me from screwin' up!

          My .02 (you should have enough in your piggy bank to buy some nice steaks to experiment with by the time this thread is done lol) is to dry brine the night before if possible, then sprinkle liberally with a seasoning (hesitate to call it a rub, because in my mind it’s not; more on this below) like Chicago or Montreal Steak Seasoning just before I kick off the coals.

          The trick, in my mind anyway, with this is the same trick much of grilling and smoking - time. When you dry brine, if you give it enough time, remember what the salt is doing - traveling INTO and all through the meat. Getting it all through the meat dilutes the TASTE of that salt... if you don’t go heinously overboard with the salt when dry brining, you can’t even taste it in the meat.

          On the other hand, the short amount of time the steak seasoning sits ON (key word there, ON, not IN) the meat doesn’t give any salt that may be in the seasoning time to absorb and dilute, so you do get SOME salty flavor from that... which is good, because YUM! 👍

          Grill on my friend, grill on!!😃🙌


          • jfmorris
            jfmorris commented
            Editing a comment
            This is exactly what I do. Dry brine with kosher salt, and Montreal steak right before it hits the grill. Never had a complaint about it being too salty.
        • Huskee
          • May 2014
          • 15445
          • central MI, USA
          • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

            Smokers / Grills
            • Yoder loaded Wichita offset smoker
            • PBC
            • Grilla Silverbac pellet grill
            • Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado (SnSK)
            • Masterbuilt Gravity 560
            • Weber 22" Original Kettle Premium (copper)
            • Weber 26" Original Kettle Premium (black)
            • Weber 26" Original Kettle Premium (light blue)
            • Weber Jumbo Joe Gold (18.5")
            • Weber Smokey Joe Silver (14.5")
            • Brinkmann cabinet charcoal smoker (repurposed)

            • (3) Maverick XR-50: 4-probe Wireless Thermometers
            • (7) Maverick ET-732s
            • (1) Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth (in box)
            • (1) Smoke X4 by ThermoWorks
            • Thermapen MkII, orange
            • ThermoPop, yellow
            • ThermoWorks ChefAlarm
            • Morpilot 6-probe wireless
            • ThermoWorks Infrared IRK2
            • ThermoWorks fridge & freezer therms as well

            • Instant Pot 6qt
            • Anova Bluetooth SV
            • Kitchen Aide mixer & meat grinder attachment
            • Kindling Cracker King (XL)
            • BBQ Dragon
            • Weber full & half chimneys, Char-Broil Half Time chimney
            • Weber grill topper
            • Slow 'N Sear Original, XL, and SnS Charcoal Basket (for Jumbo Joe)
            • Drip 'N Griddle Pan, 22' Easy Spin Grate, and Elevated Cooking grate, by ABCbarbecue
            • Pittsburgh Digital Moisture Meter

            • Favorite summer beer: Leinenkugels Summer & Grapefruit Shandy, Hamm's, Michelob Ultra Pure Gold
            • Fav other beer: DAB, Sam Adams regular, Third Shift amber or Coors Batch 19, Stella Artois
            • Fav cheap beers: Pabst, High Life, Hamm's & Stroh's
            • Most favorite beer: The one in your fridge
            • Wine: Red- big, bold, tannic & peppery- Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauv, Sangiovese, Syrah, etc
            • Whiskey: Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor, Blanton's, Old Forester 1870, Elijah Craig, Basil Hayden's. Neat please.
            • Scotch: Current favorite- The Arran (anything by them), Glenmorangie 12yr Lasanta, sherry cask finished. The Balvenie Double Wood, also like Oban 18yr, and The Glenlivet Nadurra (Oloroso sherry cask finished) among others. Neat please.

            About me
            Real name: Aaron
            Location: Farwell, Michigan- near Clare. (dead center of lower peninsula)

            • Healthcare- Licensed & Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) for MidMichigan Health, a University of Michigan Health System.

          I like to dry brine, whether with just salt or with a salted steak seasoning/rub as the dry brine. Sometimes it's just an hour, sometimes it's the morning of the cook. Every once in a while I don't have time to dry brine, and they turn out fine then too


          • HouseHomey
            HouseHomey commented
            Editing a comment
            So long as we're eating steak, right?

          • Huskee
            Huskee commented
            Editing a comment
            HouseHomey Yes, that was the question. Biskets, always 24hrs-ish, or more. Butts, at least the night before. For me.
        • JeffJ
          Charter Member
          • Feb 2015
          • 2472
          • Michigan
          • Jeff

          I always dry-brine my NY strip steaks. The rub typically is just cracked pepper and sometimes I'll throw in a bit of garlic powder. If a good strip is cooked to medium rare with a good sear it has plenty of wonderful flavor all on its own.


          • Mr. Bones
            Mr. Bones commented
            Editing a comment
        • Donw
          Club Member
          • Jul 2017
          • 3550

          Here we try to dry brine at least 4 hours before and at the cook hit it with just black pepper, or Montreal seasoning. I always make my Montreal without salt so I can always apply it without worrying about any salt issues.


          • jgreen
            Charter Member
            • Oct 2014
            • 2742
            • Winnipeg Manitoba Canada
            • Cookers:
              Broil King XL
              Broil King Smoke
              Weber Kettle 26
              Grilla Pellet smoker
              Capital 40 natural gas
              Napoleon Pro 22 kettle

              Maverick 733
              Thermapen (ok..4 thermapens)
              Thermo works DOT (or two)
              Fireboard (probably my favourite)
              Thermworks Smoke (or two)

              SnS (original, plus and XL)
              DnG pans, 6 or 7 of these
              and, maybe some other toys as well

            When you sear a steak, you will burn most of the rub off, especially a rub that has sugar. I do like to dry brine and use some pepper which seems to stand up to a sear.


            • Scout789
              Club Member
              • Jun 2018
              • 153
              • Texas Gulf Coast
              • Smoker: Lyfe Tyme Offset. Firebox 16" Diameter X 16" Long. Cooking chamber 16" Diameter X 32" Long
                Grill: Lyfe Tyme 16" Diameter X 24" Long.
                Thermometer: Maverick ET-732 and XR50
                For smoking, I am a committed stick burner.
                For grilling, it's all about charcoal. Almost always HEB brand mesquite charcoal. If not that, then Kingsford mesquite charcoal.

              Originally posted by pkadare View Post
              As with most things, and not just food, taste is very personal and subjective. Whatever works for you is right! My preference for steaks is to dry brine, no rub, just some pepper. I really never use store bought rubs on anything, and if I do, I try to make sure that it contains no salt.
              I second this very sage advice. Experiment (it's fun!) and develop what works for you. Even the failures can result in some fine eating.


              • Attjack
                Club Member
                • Aug 2017
                • 4637
                • Primo XL
                  Weber 26"
                  Weber 22"
                  Weber 22"
                  Weber 18"
                  Weber Jumbo Joe
                  Weber Green Smokey Joe (Thanks, Mr. Bones!)
                  Weber Smokey Joe
                  Orion Smoker

                  DigiQ DX2
                  Slow 'N Sear XL
                  Arteflame 26.75" Insert

                  Blaze BLZ-4-NG 32-Inch 4-Burner Built-In
                  - With Rear Infrared Burner
                  - With Infrared Sear Burner
                  - With Rotisserie
                  Empava 2 Burner Gas Cooktop
                  Weber Spirit 210
                  - With Grillgrates
                  ​​​​​​​ - With Rotisserie
                  Weber Q2200

                  Blackstone Pizza Oven

                  Portable propane burners (3)
                  Propane turkey Fryer

                  Fire pit grill

                I like to dry brine my steaks the day before I cook them. I've never used a rub on a strip steak.


                • Potkettleblack
                  Club Member
                  • Jun 2016
                  • 1970
                  • Beautiful Downtown Berwyn
                  • Grill: Grilla Original / Weber Genesis EP-330 / OK Joe Bronco Drum
                    Thermometers: Thermapen / iGrill 2 / Fireboard
                    For Smoke: Chunks / Pellet Tube / Mo Pouch
                    Sous Vide: Joule / Nomiku WiFi (RIP Nomiku)
                    Disqus: Le Chef - (something something something) - it changes

                  I'm not so great a planner, so just some 4 seasons salt blend (Salt, pepper, garlic salt, cayenne... but mostly salt) right before it goes on the grill. Just on enough to get the surface wet, which improves smoke adherence... This is for reverse sear, obviously.

                  I do a lot of them sous vide before sear, so then it might be some salt with the steak in the bag, and then a bit of extra before the sear. Or some Jack Stack Steak Rub (because my wife got it for me and I want to finish it... so I've been rubbing a lot of steaks).


                  • HouseHomey
                    HouseHomey commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I like that one with onion salt.



                2021 Meat-Up In Memphis Canceled - Rescheduled for March 2022

                We've unfortunately had to cancel the 2021 Meat-Up in Memphis. We are rescheduling for March 18-20, 2022. More details and re-booking info coming soon! For now click here for more info.
                See more
                See less