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Layering: Why and How?

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  • martybartram
    Former Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 460
    • Vass, NC

    Layering: Why and How?

    Quite often I hear rubs and sauces described by their users in terms of layers and 'the sweet hits you first and then the heat sneaks in at the end' (paraphrased). I have certainly experienced/tasted this myself as I am sure everyone has. I would like to know what the rules/guidelines for layering flavors on are and why they are that way. Is the first think on the last thing you taste (in a rub) or is it the type of flavor and the geography of the receptors on the tongue that play a stronger role?
  • Max Good
    AmazingRibs.com's Keeper of the Flame
    • Jun 2014
    • 815
    • Max Good

    #2
    Different rubs have different characteristics, however, the idea of layering rub elements in some particular order seems misguided. By the time meat is smoked, all elements have been married. While true that certain hot peppers for example, do sneak up on your tongue while others jump to the forefront, more important than the idea of sequencing different spices and sugars is segregating salt from other elements in a rub. Salt should be applied first and meat dry brined for at least a couple hours and overnight if possible. Salt will penetrate meat over time while the large molecules in spices cannot get past the surface. Read more here: http://amazingribs.com/recipes/rubs_...e_of_rubs.html

    Comment


    • martybartram
      martybartram commented
      Editing a comment
      I am all over that piece Max. I dry brine nearly everything and if am tempted to purchase a commercial rub, I check the salt content first..
  • CandySueQ
    KCBS President, and Moderator
    • Jul 2014
    • 1523
    • Pellet Fired Jambo, T1000 Woodmaster, FEC100, MAK 2 star, Yoder 640, Backwoods Pellet Chef, 14" & 22" WSM, 22" Weber Kettle, Stoven, Hot Box Grill, Hasty Bake Portable

    #3
    It's a whole lot easier to put one application of seasoning on rather than layer. Plus, results will be more consistent, I think. Just be sure and shake the rub container often to keep it all mixed up. I know that dry brining makes a huge difference in steak quality. Don't really have time to do a sufficient dry brine at a contest though.

    Comment

    • martybartram
      Former Member
      • Apr 2016
      • 460
      • Vass, NC

      #4
      Originally posted by CandySueQ View Post
      It's a whole lot easier to put one application of seasoning on rather than layer.
      That's what I was thinking as well. And since you brought up competition, now that I think of it that is where I see the layering done. For example, brown sugar, then a heat, then their secret rub. I was thinking why not combine them all together and make a super rub? Is it because they are trying to thicken up the bark? If so, wouldn't putting more rub on do the same thing?

      Comment


      • CandySueQ
        CandySueQ commented
        Editing a comment
        One of the best cooks I know, Sterling with Big Poppa Smokers got me off the layering habit! Layering adds complications, can't be certain of amounts. If you weigh your layers and make your mix in the shaker, results are more consistent.
    • Strat50
      Former Member
      • Nov 2014
      • 513
      • Houston, Alaska

      #5
      As far as my experience is concerned , "layering" flavors has little to do with what order or(as you all are currently describing) you put on the rub, but what you are trying to achieve in your flavor profile. You see, its simple; one uses multiple ingredients that have similar predominate flavors to achieve a harmonious whole. Example, lets say you want heat, but a smokey character too. Instead of using , lets say Cayenne pepper to get your heat level where you like, you use Chipotle powder, smoked paprika, and Cayenne to achieve your heat and smokiness. This method will provide greater depth of flavor, and will make it easier to "layer your flavors. In other words, what you taste and what order you taste them. This concept is the key to any good cooking.So, what one does is to prioritize their flavor profile. This can be quite complex, but it is fun as hell.

      Comment


      • martybartram
        martybartram commented
        Editing a comment
        Can you expand on "what you taste and what order you taste them"? If the order of taste has nothing or little to do with the physical order they are put on; do I understand correctly that it is the strength of the ingredient and amount of each ingredient that makes this difference?
    • HouseHomey
      Club Member
      • May 2016
      • 5205
      • Huntington Beach, Ca. Surf City USA.
      • Equipment
        Primo Oval xl

        Slow n Sear (two)
        Drip n Griddle
        22" Weber Kettle
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        Blackstone 36” Pro Series
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        Two chimneys (was 3 but rivets finally popped, down to 1)
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        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
        KBB
        FOGO
        A 9 year old princess foster child
        Patience and old patio furniture
        "Baby Girl" The cat

        Erik S.

      #6
      Iteresting thread. So Strat50 are You suggesting or saying that the "layering" of flavor is the same thing as depth of flavor? I'm thinking of a brown stock from the start when roasting the bones and subsequent aromatics. Then to brown sauce, espangnole and Demi. That is quite the process and "fortification." Is that layering? Depth? And now that dratted word "fortifying?" When CandySueQ and @martybartam salts their thick steak or butt the day before is that layering or just adding salt. Are the words interchangeable or are there differences? I love adding fresh herb at the end of cooking my beef stew and red sauce for pastas. I pull it out after about 20 minutes. Herbs give a great pop on the back end of the bite/taste. Is that the molecules as Max Good suggested? Is that a Max Good question? This thread has my mind racing right now so early in the morning. Is depth achieved by layering? Is fortification "re-layering" for more depth or adding additional flavors. When adding an ingredient like a compound butter at the very end, is that layering or adding depth? I think I'll start the coffee and read the rub link again that max posted. It's been a while..

      I will say it again. PIT PEOPLE ROCK! There is nothing like stimulating the brain and bringing people together with food and science.

      Comment


      • Strat50
        Strat50 commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes, they are different. Depth of flavor is when you infuse similar flavors sporadically during a cook. Example, adding garlic several times when making a stock. Yes it will taste like garlic, but a fuller garlic flavor. Layering flavors is about what you taste, its intensity, and when you taste it.

      • HouseHomey
        HouseHomey commented
        Editing a comment
        Your first line below goes perfect with the stock example above. "Similar flavors." Wasnt on my mind when thinking of the above. At the end you get "beefy" "well rounded" intense flavor. Thank you lending your experience to me.

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