When to put rub on chicken before smoking

Barbecue pals is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,so some links on this page can be affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Last Updated on: 18th March 2023, 01:49 pm

To enhance the flavor of the meat, rubs are applied on chicken while it is being smoked.

They both improve the taste of the meat and help us get a wonderful crispy bark.

Nonetheless, there are many of myths about putting rub to chicken.

When to use rubs when smoking is one of these myths.

Smoking is a delicate procedure, and even a small error can produce unpleasant flavor.

We will go through all the details of applying a rub on chicken in this post.

The subject of when to massage your chicken is one that cannot be answered in black and white.

We believe that the rubbing time for chicken during smoking may range from 10 minutes to 6 hours. Some pitmasters may disagree with us on this.

As an enthusiastic pitmaster, I encounter these circumstances frequently.

When using a dry rub, I like to massage chicken for between 10 minutes and two hours, and between two and six hours when using a wet rub.

The meat texture should ideally be considered before choosing the rub time.

The duration of the meat’s rubbing is up to you. There is no absolute law about this.

You should experiment with many options before choosing your favorite.

Therefore, it’s preferable to first apply for a shorter period of time and then, if you want to, extend it.

To ensure that the meat fully absorbs the taste, some individuals even prefer to massage the meat the night before smoking.

But, in our opinion, it is not required to rub chicken for an entire night because the rubs often penetrate the meat’s pores when the meat is cooked.

Factors Influencing Rub Time

Rub time is a hotly debated subject in the smoking industry, and many pitmasters have differing viewpoints on it.

The amount of time that the chicken is rubbed before smoking depends on a number of variables.

Meat texture and rub type are frequently included in these parameters.

It may be necessary to rub the meat for a longer period of time if you plan to smoke brisket since it will take longer for the rub to thoroughly penetrate the flesh.

The quality of rub is as crucial as any other element. you should make sure that the rub is not clumped while putting it onto the chicken. here is a complete guide on avoiding the clumping of rub.

Rub time for such beef might vary from 3 hours to overnight.

Similarly, if you are using rub on lean and soft meat like chicken, then it’s best to apply rub for a shorter length since applying rub for too long might impair the look of meat.

Some folks even like to apply the rub shortly before placing it in the smoker.

So it’s advisable to give it some time so that the rub can sink in and attach well to the meat surface.

The rub time for lean meat like chicken may vary from 10 minutes to 6 hours .

That will give the rub enough time to soak in without compromising the look of the meat.

While selecting the rub time , you should consider taking into consideration the rub kind that you are intending to utilize.

There are two primary kinds of rubs used in smoking : dry rub and wet rub.

Each of them take varying lengths of time to sink in correctly.

When to apply dry rub

As clear by the name dry rub is dry and is rubbed over the meat to achieve a better taste and generate nice bark on the chicken.

The most frequent rub time for a dry massage may vary from 10 minutes to 2 hours.

Some pitmasters like to apply dry rub for a longer period to allow it appropriate chance to soak in.

However in our view, providing extra time is not essential since the dry rub seeps into the flesh as the meat is cooked and the pores of the chicken open.

After opening the pores of the chicken , the rub seeps in and clings to the surface of the flesh .

Providing longer time when applying dry rub may turn the chicken reddish.

The aesthetic of the smoked chicken is as essential as the taste. You may put a dry rub to lean and soft meat shortly before inserting it into the smoker.

To make sure that the rub thoroughly permeates in ,it’s advisable to allow at least 10 minutes before inserting it into the smoker.

However, applying dry rub on the hard meat is tricky. Hard meat is thick and dry rub can stay on the superficial surface, due to which the deeper meat can become tasteless.

Thus it is advisable to give it a little longer time to allow the rub attach to the meat properly and absorb in as deeply as possible.

An excellent tip for putting dry rub on hard meat is to massage it forcefully while applying rub.

You should try twisting your hand into a fist and pounding the meat with your knuckles.

It will enable the rub to permeate into the flesh.

However if you are smoking lean meat, then you should avoid pounding it with your knuckles since it might damage the texture of the flesh.

If you are having a trouble putting the rub onto the surface of the meat, then you might try adding olive oil to the meat before applying the rub.

When to apply wet rub

The second sort of rub that is used most commonly when smoking hard meat is wet rub.

As is evident from the name, it is in liquid form and the meat is dipped into it to allow the rub to sink into the flesh appropriately.

It is also used to enhance the flavour of chicken . It doesn’t have much affect on the texture of bark, but it is widely used to improve the suppleness of meat.

Hence it takes extra time to penetrate into the chicken and boost its wetness.

A wet rub is usually placed on the hard meat as hard meat could dry up when smoked for a lengthy time.

The sweet spot for wet rub duration may range from 2 hours to 8 hours as it takes more time for the wet rub to soak through and attach to the meat.

Can you leave a rub on too long?

There is no black and white solution to this subject since many individuals have varied perspectives throughout time.

Thus a lengthy time for you may be a standard rub time for someone who wants to obtain more flavor from the rub than flesh.

  • Typically, you should apply the rub on your chicken for 10 minutes to 6 hours.Yet it’s a personal option to apply for an even longer duration.
  • It depends on whether you want to appreciate chicken taste or whether you are using chicken as a vehicle to experience rub flavor.
  • It’s widely recognized that applying the rub for greater time leads in more taste . Yet it may damage the look of the meat if left for too long.

    You should take into mind the aesthetic since no one wants to taste a great slice of meat that appears untidy.
  • Additionally, applying rub for a longer length of time might result in the conversion of the rub to a paste-like substance.

    The rub drains the interior moisture of meat , which means chicken might dry up throughout the smoking process.
  • Sometimes you should think that little is more. So if you rub lean and soft meat for a long period, you may end up with reddish chicken along with more taste of rub than flesh.In any scenario, you can’t go wrong with it.

If you are still interested in using rub for a longer period, then you should examine the following considerations.

  • Initially, you should consider using a rub with a low salt level since if the salt concentration is greater, it might result in absorbing the moisture of the meat owing to which chicken can dry up throughout the smoking process.
  • Secondly, you should only apply rub for a longer duration if you are smoking hard and thick meat.

    Since lean meat doesn’t take much time and applying rub for greater time on the thick meat generally results in boosting the taste of the meat.

Personally, we would suggest always being mindful with rub time since it may improve or damage the taste of chicken.

You should consider applying the rub at the proper moment to acquire the greatest taste possible.

When establishing the rub duration for a meat, consider both the rub kind and the meat texture, as indicated above.

You might leave the rub on your steak for too long if you are confronting terrible weather conditions.

Do you put rub on both sides of the ribs?

The easy and obvious answer to this question will always be yes, since everyone wants to have the same taste in every cut of meat.

Even if you inadvertently leave a piece of meat without rub , it may feel bland as it enters into your mouth.

However you should not limit yourself to two sides of meat since certain portions of thick meat like brisket might have more than two sides .

Therefore you will have to apply the rub all over to smoke meat with the same taste in every portion.

Lean meat doesn’t entail much intricacy since it has less surface area and you can simply massage it to acquire a better taste.

The major challenge is confronted when rubbing hard meat since it might have several surfaces and the rub may not sink through.

The best approach to put rub on thick meat is by rubbing it with your knuckles .

It will enable the rub to permeate into the deeper section of the flesh and create consistent taste throughout the piece.

You should make sure to not leave any side dry and without rubbing.

Can you leave the rub on chicken overnight?

There is no black and white solution to this subject since various pitmasters have varying perspectives regarding how long to keep the rub on the chicken.

Yet basically, there are no adverse consequences of leaving rub on meat overnight.

Rub time on meat is a personal preference.

You could try exploring various rub times and picking the one that fits you .

Leaving the rub overnight may undoubtedly result in more taste of the rub and less flavor of the meat.

Personally, I don’t like to leave the rub overnight since it doesn’t have any influence on the taste of the meat.

you also need to keep in mind the clumping of rub . you read our guide on How do I keep my rub from clumping? for more information.

The rub really seeps in as the meat is grilled and the fluids of the flesh are released.

You may leave overnight if you are not able to smoke immediately away.

Can you leave the moist rub on chicken overnight?

Normally, wet rub is left overnight since it needs more time to absorb into the meat.

A wet rub is used to improve the tenderness and wetness of the meat .

Therefore if you provide extra time to rub ,then it will result in more moisture in meat and meat will not dry up while smoking.

Can you leave the dry rub on chicken overnight?

While applying dry rub, there are no advantages to keeping it overnight since dry rub is used to achieve nice bark and it typically remains on the surface of the bird.

Using dry rub for extended time may make the look more reddish.

How long before smoking should I put the rub on?

Now that we have tackled most of the misunderstandings connected to rub time, you may be questioning how long before I apply rub on the chicken.

Rub time may vary from 10 minutes to 2 hours for lean meat and 2 hours to overnight for hard meat.

Hard meats need longer time since the major goal of the wet rub used on them is to improve the moisture content of the meat and prevent it drying out during smoking.

Thus it takes more time to sink in and execute its purpose correctly.

With soft meat , the rub duration is reduced since the dry rub is placed on soft meat to produce a nice bark on the meat.

Thus we don’t need to wait for it to sink in , rather it remains on the surface of the meat and sinks in when it is subjected to heat.

Should you use olive oil before a dry rub?

Another misunderstanding linked to putting rub on chicken is whether you should add olive oil over the meat before the dry rub or not.

The quick answer to this question will always be yes, since it helps attach the rub to the meat surface.

Adding olive oil to the chicken before dry rub is a personal preference .

Some individuals prefer using mustard in lieu of olive oil.

You may use any of the aforementioned materials since the primary aim of them is only to assist massage the surface of meat.

In our personal view, olive oil is preferable than mustard since it is easier to apply and, in addition to aiding rub to stay to the meat surface, it also helps to improve the moisture content of the flesh and prevent the chicken from drying out.

The appropriate technique to put olive oil onto the chicken is only to apply it in an excess quantity on the surface of the meat and massage it thoroughly.

Following that, you can simply proceed on to adding your dry rub and smoking the meat as intended.

When to apply rub on ribs before smoking

here is no clear solution to the issue of when is the optimum time to massage your ribs.

Various pitmasters have varied ideas on this , however in our opinion , rubbing time for ribs during smoking may vary from 15 minutes to 8 hours.

Being a passionate pitmaster, I often find myself among such situations.

I personally prefer to rub ribs for 15 minutes to 2 hours when using a dry rub and 2 to 6 hours when using a wet rub.

You should preferable take into consideration the rib texture before choosing on rub time.

for a detailed guide, consider checking our detailed article on When to put rub on ribs before smoking

Final Verdict

When to massage chicken before smoking, there is no right or incorrect timing.

You may use the rub for roughly 10 minutes to 6 hours or even longer if you want to.

You should rather try various rub times yourself and select what suits you.

You should bear in mind that overnight rubbing will not boost the taste of chicken .

In our experience, the flavor of chicken rubbed overnight and that massaged for a couple of hours is precisely the same.

But rubbing overnight doesn’t decrease the taste either.

It’s your own discretion to decide which one to go with.

if you are interested in learning more then make sure to check our article on When to rub meat before smoking

Jakob miller
Latest posts by Jakob miller (see all)