Quick Recipes and Easy

What are the Steps to Produce a Dry Rub?

Once again the question has been questioned…how do you guys go about bringing new dry rubs into your product selection? The answer…lots and lots of time and testing. Producing a dry rub that is made of high quality, fully flavored, all-natural ingredients isn’t something that is rushed or taken lightly.

When we choose to add a new dry rub to our lineup, we start by considering our current lineup and how we can improve the offering and choices for our customers. We consider their requests and comments very seriously, listening closely to what they have to say. For example, our customers have requested a rub that is sweet, with a mild heat level, but one that retains the chile flavors. Based on these recommendations, we went to work in the test kitchen and started research and development for our newest blend, a sweet maple rub.

Once we have determined what it is we want to make, we start the actual creative process, which involves taking our thought and making an actual blend. Entirely dependent upon the flavor you are trying to achieve, most dry rubs will start with a base of paprika, followed by varying quantities of other ingredients such as salt, sugar, dried berries, and spices. While making dry rubs isn’t physics, it does involve some science. For example, determining the proper proportions of items such as salt and sugar which have an osmotic effect and can act negatively upon your meat, is extremely vital. The fantastic thing about dry rubs is you can give 10 different groups the same dry ingredients, and no two will make a dry rub that tastes alike. The trade secret is not in the ingredients, but in the proportions of those ingredients.

Additionally, evaluating each ingredient for its allergenic properties also adds to the complexity. Obviously, it isn’t excellent for sales if your dry rub contains something that people are commonly allergic to such as nuts or artificial ingredients. At the end of this process, you will have made what we like to call a “Theoretical Recipe”, or a recipe which you build upon to make the perfect dry rub.

Next step in the creative process is the actual blending of the theoretical recipe. Once we have a rough thought of what it is we are trying to make, we start by blending batch after batch, after batch, after batch, with each effort tweaked and improved to meet customer and test group suggestions. This includes selecting different grinds to improve texture, different base ingredients to achieve different flavors and colors, different peppers for a more authentic flavor, or to increase or reduce the heat level of the blend, and the list goes on. Our number one goal in this process is to make a test batch, using all natural ingredients, which we can distribute to test markets.

Once the test batch has been agreed upon and blended, it is distributed to the original requestors and a small group of individuals, with varying backgrounds, tastes, and expectations, for their feedback and suggestions. Using comment forms that pull as much information as possible from our testers, we evaluate their comments, compile the most often cited items, and use them to improve upon the base recipe.

Once our small groups come back with a huge thumbs up, we then go on to larger groups for their input. We continue this process until we achieve the response we want to see. Now it is impossible to please everyone, but when you achieve a high consensus of satisfaction (>90%) from your testers, especially when factoring in those who have not loved the other stages of the blend, you’ll know you are ready to go on to the next step – product release!

Joe Johnson is a proud Texan and founding partner and chief pit-master with carolinesrub.com Caroline’s Rub, where he is in charge of product promotion and development for their line of gourmet carolinesrub.com/dry_rub.asp dry rubs, carolinesrub.com/smoked_salt.asp smoked salt, and Texas chili seasoning.

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