Sauce vs. Rub – What is Better for Your BBQ?

If you’re a BBQ fan, you’re well aware of how the right sauces and spices can impact the taste. However, you’d be surprised how often they aren’t used or used at the wrong time. There are also those who only do one or the other. Some might debate over sauce vs. rub for their BBQ preparation. Where do you stand? Let’s take a dive into the details of each of these items and the purposes they’re intended to serve.

Let’s Talk BBQ Sauce

These days, you would have to be living under a rock to never have tasted BBQ sauce. Most people have fond associations with its sweet and tangy flavor. It’s actually become its own condiment used as a dipping sauce for more than BBQ.

When BBQ sauce was first invented back in the 17th century, its ingredient list was simple: vinegar, pepper, and salt. It was created to enhance meat’s natural flavors and create a well-rounded flavor profile. Today, BBQ sauce is generally added toward the end of the cooking process. Why not earlier? The sugar in BBQ sauce can burn when it’s kept at high temperatures for too long.

When to Use a BBQ Sauce

Like we said before, BBQ sauce can cause your meat to burn if you put it on too early in the cooking process due to the sugar content. That’s why you should wait until the last few minutes of cooking to baste your BBQ meat with sauce. Or in many cases, when cooking is complete. And of course, leave more out for everyone to apply their own BBQ sauce to taste.

Let’s Talk BBQ Rubs

Though most people have had BBQ sauce before, you have to be a connoisseur to be familiar with rubs. A BBQ rub is a carefully crafted mixture of seasonings and spices that can include anything from pepper to paprika to sugar, and a great rub adds a satisfying crust to your meat as it’s cooking while also intensifying the flavor of the meat.

Some BBQ chefs choose to use a dry rub, which is only made up of dry ingredients like seasonings. Others opt for a wet rub, which includes a wide variety of spices and seasonings as well as a liquid component such as vinegar, oil, or mustard. The addition of liquid creates a better adhesive for the dry ingredients. This can make the rub even more effective at drawing out an intense flavor.

When to Use a BBQ Rub

In order to prepare your meat for a BBQ rub, you should pat it dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Then, apply the rub directly to the meat, making sure that the spices are effectively absorbed. Like its namesake, you should rub it in.

Dry rubs can be applied seconds before the meat goes on the grill, but wet rubs should be applied at least an hour before to give the mixture time to soak into the meat. Some chefs prefer to use a wet rub for dishes that slow cook for a long period of time, such as ribs, and opt for a dry rub for faster-cooking items like fish.

Sauces and Rubs Make Any BBQ Better

When it comes to choosing a BBQ sauce vs. rub, a big part of the decision will be your personal preference in taste and texture. However, it’s important to note that both sauces and rubs can be used at once in the same dish and create a delicious BBQ concoction, as long as each component is added at the right time.

Of course, there is always just enjoying great BBQ. If you are in the mood for delicious BBQ, draft beers, and scrumptious side dishes, visit us at Chad’s BBQ.