Why dry rub? Why not just season the pulled pork after it's cooked?

Discussion in 'Pork' started by grillmonkey, Jul 30, 2014.

  1. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    Yes, I'm new to this forum and form of cooking, but I'm not feeling the big rub thing. I get brining, I get marinate, they all impart flavor deep into the meat. So much so, that the meat can be rinsed off after soaking and still maintain the flavor of the brine or marinate, but dry rub? If the meat cannot absorb the flavor of a seasoning in a marinate or brine, why not just add it to the meat after it's cooked?

    It seems the "bark" is important to some people to give the meat a certain look, which may be fine for ribs, but pulled pork? It's going to be shredded, so what difference does it make if it's pretty before you pull it? It just seems that you would impart more flavoring by adding the seasonings after the meat has been pulled. If you like a little crunch from a crispy outside, it will be there whether it's dry rubbed or not.

    I've tried rubs, both commercial and homemade, and other than a colorful bark, I don't see what the point is if you can just sprinkle some on after it's pulled.
  2. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    100 different ways to do anything, you build your meat and smoke it as you like. Its the nice thing about smoking you get to try so many different ideas.

    As to the rub, to me a rub is just like a dry marinate. No difference, I rub mine (less the sugar and salt) let it set in the reefer till the next day. Then I re-rub adding salt and brown sugar before throwing it into the smoker. The spices liquify and absorb where the marinate starts as a liquid but sometimes it hard to get a total coveragee or you have to flip. It is all about what you enjoy. That brown sugar is important as to my way of thinkin, it caramelizes and forms a protective candy shell to hold the moisture in, sort of like a M&M.

    You'll find that there are quite a few people out there that like burnt ends, I am refering to the pieces cut off the end which are most done and with the most seasoning. Yes, bark is always a crowd pleaser too.

    But if you like it sprinkled on at the end, thats good too. There is no wrong way, anyway I can get it today would be my favorite way today.

    Just me now, but you want a fight, reach down and snatch away some of that bark that has formed on the fat cap on a butt while smoking! You're right it would be a wrestlin match!

    Above is the butt....... below the ambrosia of the gods!  And you had better be near death starving and a best friend if you grab it without an invite. You might want to start running when ya grab it anyway!

    But thats just me.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When the bark is mixed in with the rest of the pulled pork it adds great flavor that you would not get without it - but to each his own. If you don't like using rub don't, but if you do then use it. I personally like the results to both texture and taste you get using rubs, even if I have also used a brine or marinade.
  4. The salt in the rub pulls moisture out of meat and helps build the bark. If you use sugar it caramelizes. Bark is what differentiates smoked pulled pork from some made in a crock pot with liquid smoke. Having said that there's nothing wrong with experimenting with rub and no rub to see how you like it best. There's no right or wrong way.
  5. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member




    Good luck and good smoking.
  6. aceoky

    aceoky Smoking Fanatic

    Besides the "looks" and the extra flavor (IMO) the Bark is very important to seal in the moisture and keep bigger cuts from drying out

  7. If you like adding flavor at the end you might try some of the finishing sauces you can find here on this sight and elsewhere on the internet.
  8. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    Is it me, or is dry rub and bark really some kind of a cult.
  9. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would not say a cult.... However when I smoke a butt & get that delicious outer crust "the bark"...... Damn ! If you've ever had a great bark, you'll know why there is a great following for it ! I personally love a great bark, just my 2 cents ! :beercheer:
  10. worktogthr

    worktogthr Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member


    I am with you on that there is nothing better about about pulled pork n that crispy, deliciousness that is a nice hunk of bark. My family fights over it when I make it, and since I do the pulling, I usually sneak a big hunk of it in my sandwich haha
  11. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I like bark too.

    I lightly seasoned this then wrapped in the fridge over night.

    You could still see the meat through the rub and I got good bark I think.
  12. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's a great bark IMHO..... That's the bark I'am talkin about ! Once ya taste a good bark..... No turning back ! :biggrin:
  13. Have you tasted the bark? I mean it's ok if you don't like it and don't understand it but if you haven't tried it then that's why you don't get it.
  14. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    Maybe I'm not doing it right.

    I have a Weber 22.5" kettle grill, an early '80s Brinkmann Electric Gourmet Grill & Smoker, and an offset smoker. I have oak splits, apple chunks, and hickory chips. I have Kingsford blue and Stubbs charcoal. I can also monitor temps with a Mavrick 733.

    Now, which grill/smoker do I use and what do I need to do to the meat to get this bark. I'm not trying to be a smart-a$$, just talk me through it so that I can get this "fight your own family over it" bark.
  15. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Either the kettle or the offset.   Either charcoal will work.

    I would rub the in the fridge overnight.

    Pit temp of 250-275.  Put the meat on then don't touch it till its done.
  16. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    What rub recipe?
  17. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Use what every rub you want.

    I use different rubs and always get good  bark.
  18. A commercial rub I like is Bad Byron's Butt Rub. This forum as well as the Internet  have ton's of recipes if you want to make your own. I usually apply liberaly.
  19. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    Does foiling interfere with the bark?
  20. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes, foil will give less and softer bark.

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