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Dry Brining versus Salty Commercial Rubs

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    Dry Brining versus Salty Commercial Rubs

    Folks, I have been wondering for awhile about this. I know MH and many others recommend dry brining meats for a bunch of hours, and then use a rub such as Memphis Dust that does not have salt. My question is why isn't the salt in a commercial rub absorbed like the salt in dry brining? Doesn't commercial rub salt have the same chemical properties and thus produce the same result?

    #2
    I put the salt and rub on at the beginning of the dry brine time. I figure it’s one less step and the meat is wet so it all sticks well.


    commercial rubs with salt are fine though it’s some work to compensate the right amount of salt if you don’t know how much is in there. Since the rub and salt are together you can’t use less of one and more of the other, which is why having them separate is nice.

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      #3
      There are a few no or low salt commercial rubs out there, but this is one reason to make your own. Meathead’s Memphis Dust (recipe on the free site) is salt free for this very reason.

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        #4
        The salt in a commercial rub will dry brine just fine, although what quality and quantity the salt is you don't know. No other part of the rub is going to be absorbed, but that's OK. As stated above, just put the rub on when you would normally be dry brining, not when you would normally be rubbing.

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          #5
          I've dry brined with commercial Montreal steak seasoning without issue. It gets the job done and keeps my wife happy, especially if I cook it using the gasser.

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            #6
            I too try to shy away from certain commercial rubs. You don't know the salt content or the type of salt being used. Kosher at 1/2 a teaspoon/pound does a great job but regular table salt is overpowering at that rate. Best to leave the guesswork to your mamma.

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              #7
              Thanks all. So the important issue for many is the knowing the ratio, which separating gives you. Otherwise, salt absorption is similar. Appreciate the input!

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                #8
                You can get an idea of the salt content by looking at the serving size and sodium content on the nutrition label, which at least will give you some comparison between commercial brands of rub. That being said a rub with more sweet components is , in general, going to seem less salty than a rub that's more savory. And of course, what you're using it on is going to play into it as well. If you're rubbing a chicken or a rack of spare ribs with, say, Pit Barrel AP rub, you're probably going to want to apply a lighter coat for less time than if you were rubbing a pork butt or a brisket.

                As a for instance, Pit Barrel AP rub has 160 mg of sodium per 1/4 oz. serving. Redbeards #8 has 200 mg per 1/4 oz. I find the Redbeards far less salty, even though it's got more salt. And I've done a couple of side by side cooks using both rubs on both wings and spare ribs. And it's enough of a difference that ribs that are getting rubbed with the Redbeards get a layer of SPOG, just for more pop.

                So, yeah, you can dry brine with a salty rub, and it works just like dry brining with salt, but it comes down to how the rub performs on the meat.

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                  #9
                  Imagine the amount of salt containing rub needed to dry brine a large pork shoulder, now imagine the same rub on ribs...one will either no be able to hold that much rub, or the other will have almost none on it.

                  Comment


                  • Bkhuna
                    Bkhuna commented
                    Editing a comment
                    What you said!

                  #10
                  I just don’t mess with any commercial, salty rub. One of the very first things I learned when I joined Amazin Wibs was the usage, benefit & the effects of salt in meat. Then, the method of dry brining followed closely behind. Meathead & Doc Blonder were a gift to me in my cooking prowess. I never looked back. I just don’t concern myself with any salty commercial rub. That way I also have the benefit of not having to calculate what’s in the usually expensive (vs. makin yer own) rubs.

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                    #11
                    I make my own salt-less rub but don't discount the value of salt in the meat smoking process.
                    When I use dry rub I start with my own and then augment with a couple of shakes of a commercial dry rub for salt content.
                    mnavarre is spot on with his comment about the reading the nutrition label on any rub and understanding what you are reading.

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                    • pkadare
                      pkadare commented
                      Editing a comment
                      But there is a vast difference between using salt for dry brining and using a commercial rub containing salt in order to have salt there strictly as a seasoning.

                    • smokin fool
                      smokin fool commented
                      Editing a comment
                      10-4 For better or worse I don't salt dry brine any of my meats
                      I do wet brine turkey
                      Another one of my phobia's

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