Of course rubs matter right? Or maybe they don’t? Competition ribs are considered by many to be the best of the best. Watch as a high level competitive Pit Master experiments with rub vs. no rub to discover how much they contribute to the quality of a delicious rack of spare ribs.
Competition Ribs Experiment (Do Rubs Matter?)
You might think, of course rubbing your ribs matters. It adds flavor, color, and depending on what’s in the blend, texture…
And you’re completely right! This experiment is not about whether you can notice a difference between rub and no rub. Rather, it is about finding out what that difference is.
First up the parameters. To test the difference, the racks come in 3 “flavors”. 1) No rub
2) Salt & pepper
3) All purpose BBQ rub
Additionally, two of each were prepared, so you can also see the difference within wrapped and unwrapped. That makes a total of 6 racks of ribs – all for science!
The ribs were all smoked at 250ºF. At the 3 hour mark, half of the racks were wrapped in aluminum foil with brown sugar, tiger sauce, and squeeze butter. After unwrapping, these racks were sauced up once again.
All of the racks were cooked until they could pass the “toothpick test”, a.k.a. until a toothpick can go in and out of the meat with no resistance.
So, what’s the verdict?
The main thing that is noticeable, both on the ribs that were wrapped and sauced up and the ones that were competition style, is the lack of salt. The sauce and other condiments do add a lot of flavor, but on the unwrapped rack that was definitely a drawback.
Now, concerning simple salt & pepper vs. a more complex rub? That seems to be a matter of taste. Both options are equally delicious, depending on what grinds your BBQ gears.
The main thing you can take away from this is: if you’re stranded on a desert island, with nothing to eat but BBQ ribs, do at least salt them before cooking. Adding more spices is great, but the lack of salt will show (even under layers of sauce & butter).
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