When to put rub on ribs before smoking

Last Updated on: 29th May 2023, 09:07 am

Rubs are used to improve the taste of the smoked ribs.

These contribute to the formation of a beautiful, crispy bark and enhance the flavor of the ribs.

However, there are several beliefs about how to apply rub on ribs.

One of these fallacies is the usage of rubs during smoking. Smoking is a sensitive process, and even little mistakes might result in an undesirable taste.

In this article, we will go through every step of applying rub on ribs with you.

What is the best time to massage your ribs? There is no clear solution.

during pitmasters have various opinions on this issue, we believe that the rubbing duration for ribs during smoking might range from 15 minutes to 8 hours.

As an avid pitmaster, I regularly come into these situations.

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

Before deciding on the length of time to massage, evaluate the texture of the ribs.

Rubbed ribs should be done at your own leisure. There is no absolute rule in this regard.

You should try a variety of possibilities before settling on your favorite. However, it is best to apply for a shorter amount of time initially and then, if necessary, expand it.

Some people like to massage the ribs the night before smoking them to ensure that they thoroughly absorb the flavor.

However, we believe that it is not necessary to rub ribs for a lengthy amount of time since the rubs often sink into the pores of the ribs when they are cooked.

Factors affecting rub time

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

different type of meats like,ribs turkey and brisket have different rub time.

The amount of time that the ribs are rubbed before smoking depends on a number of factors.

These elements often include rub kind and rib texture.

It may be necessary to apply the rub for a longer period of time if you want to smoke stiff ribs since it will take longer for the rub to thoroughly penetrate the ribs.

Such ribs can be rubbed for anywhere between three and eight hours.

Similarly, it’s advisable to use rub for a shorter period of time if you have soft, lean ribs because applying it for too long might change how the ribs seem.

Some even prefer to rub it on right before putting it in the smoker.

However, it’s best to wait a little while to allow the rub to fully absorb and adhere to the rib surface.

For lean ribs like chicken, the rub duration might be anything from 10 minutes to 6 hours.

It will give the rub ample time to absorb without changing how the ribs look.

Every other component is just as crucial as the rub’s quality. When applying the rub to the ribs, you should make sure it is not clumped.

The rub kind you intend to utilize should be taken into consideration when choosing the rub time.

Wet rubs and dry rubs are the two primary types of rubs used in smoking.

Both of these need various lengths of time to really sink in.

When to apply dry rub

Dry rub, as implied by the name, is dry and applied on the ribs to enhance taste and provide a nice bark.

The typical duration of a dry rub might be anything from 10 minutes and 2 hours.

To allow the dry rub adequate time to soak in, some pitmasters choose to apply it for a longer period of time.

However, in our opinion, it is not necessary to cook the ribs for a longer period of time because the dry rub absorbs into the ribs when they are cooked and their pores open.

The rub seeps in and adheres to the ribs’ surface when the ribs’ pores are opened.

The ribs might turn crimson by giving the dry rub additional time to work.

Both the flavor and the look of the smoked ribs are crucial.

Lean and tender ribs can receive a dry rub right before going into the smoker.

It’s recommended to wait at least 10 minutes before putting the meat into the smoker to ensure that the rub has a chance to thoroughly soak in.

However, it might be challenging to apply dry rub to the tough ribs.

Because hard ribs are stiff and dry rubbed can remain on the top, the deeper ribs may lose its flavor.

In order to ensure that the rub adheres to the ribs correctly and penetrates as far as possible, it is preferable to give it a little more time.

The ribs are covered with dry rubs to enhance taste and achieve a nice, crispy bark.

Although there is no set amount of time for the dry rub, you should allow it enough time for it to adhere to the ribs effectively.

Applying the rub about 10 minutes before putting the meat in the smoker is OK if you’re in a rush.

Applying the dry rub on the ribs for around 2 hours will help it adhere to their surface and soak in correctly, enhancing the taste of the rub and giving it a superior flavor.

When to use moist rubbing

Wet rub is the second kind of rub that is most frequently employed while smoking hard ribs.

The ribs are immersed in the liquid, which is clear from the name, to let the rub to thoroughly soak into the ribs.

Additionally, it enhances the flavor of ribs.

However, it is typically employed to make ribs more sensitive. It has little impact on the texture of bark.

As a result, it needs longer time to absorb into the ribs and gain moisture.

Hard ribs are typically covered in a moist rub because they might dry out when smoked for an extended period of time.

Because it needs more time to soak in and adhere to the ribs, the ideal wet rub time might range from 2 hours to 8 hours.

In contrast to the dry rub, the wet rub requires penetration into the ribs to be effective.

A moist rub may not effectively penetrate the ribs if it is given for a shorter period of time.

If the smoking procedure is extended, the ribs may become dry.

Similarly, you shouldn’t use wet rub for an excessive amount of time since the various chemicals, like as vinegar, might cause the ribs to take on an untidy form.

A decent window for wet rub application on ribs is between 2 and 8 hours, which gives the wet rub ample time to penetrate the ribs without detracting from their aesthetic appeal.

When should chicken be rubbed before smoking?

When to massage your chicken is a question that cannot be addressed in black and white.

We assume that the rubbing time for chicken during smoking might be anything between 10 minutes and 6 hours. Other pitmasters could disagree with us.

As an eager pitmaster, I am constantly confronted with these situations.

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

Before selecting the rub duration, the meat texture should preferably be considered.

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

Can you leave a rub on too long?

Since so many people have varied perspectives across time, there is no clear-cut solution to this topic.

For someone who prefers to obtain more flavor from the rub than the ribs, a lengthy time for you may be a standard rub duration.

  • Ideally, you should rub your ribs for somewhere between 10 minutes and 6 hours.The decision to apply for an even longer period of time is a personal one.
  • It depends on whether you want to savour the flavor of the ribs or whether you want to use the ribs as a vehicle for the flavor of the rub.
  • It’s well known that leaving the rub on longer produces additional flavor.But if it’s ignored for too long, the ribs’ look may suffer.
  • No one wants to taste a delicious cut of ribs that looks sloppy, therefore you should think about doing this.
  • Additionally, rubbing the rub on for a prolonged amount of time may cause it to turn into a paste-like consistency.
    Ribs might dry out throughout the smoking process because the rub absorbs the interior moisture of the ribs.
  • Consider the possibility that less is sometimes more. Because if you rub lean and tender ribs for a long period, you risk getting reddish ribs and more rub taste than rib flavor.
    You can’t go wrong with it any way.

Consider the following factors if you still want to use rub for a longer period of time.

  1. First, you should think about utilizing a low-salt rub because a larger salt concentration can result in absorbing the moisture of ribs
    due to which ribs can dry out during the smoking process.
  2. Second, if you are smoking hard, thick ribs, you should only use the rub for a longer period of time.
    Lean ribs don’t need to be cooked for very long, but thick ribs often taste better when the rub is applied for a longer period of time.

We personally advise being cautious while applying the rub because it has the power to either improve or degrade the flavor of the ribs.

To acquire the most flavor from the rub, you need think about using it at the right moment.

As indicated above, the rub type and rib texture should both be taken into consideration when determining the rub duration for ribs.

You shouldn’t keep the rub on your ribs for too long, though, if the weather is harsh.

Do you put rub on both sides of the ribs?

Everybody wants the same flavor in every bite of the ribs, thus the response to this question is always the same: “yes,” plain and easy.

Even if you accidentally leave a piece of ribs unrubbed, it could not taste good when you eat it.

But since certain large, thick ribs, like brisket, might have more than two sides, you shouldn’t limit yourself to two sides of ribs.

As a result, you must rub the smoked ribs with the same taste on both sides.

Lean ribs are simpler to prepare since they have a smaller surface area and may be readily rubbed to enhance taste.

Rubbing strong ribs is a great challenge since they may have several surfaces and the rub may not penetrate.

Placing ribs with irregular forms into a jar of wet rub is the best way to apply the rub on them.

It will prevent any rib from being left without rub while allowing every rib to absorb the rub evenly.

Is it possible to apply a rub to the ribs overnight?

Since many pitmasters disagree on the ideal amount of time to leave the rub on the ribs, there is no clear-cut solution to this dilemma.

However, there are no drawbacks to leaving ribs with rub on overnight.

The length of time to rub ribs is up to you.

Consider experimenting with various rub times and selecting the one that works best for you.

The taste of the ribs will undoubtedly suffer if the rub is left on for an extra day.

Personally, I don’t think it makes much of a difference to the flavor of the ribs to leave the rub on overnight.

When the ribs are cooked and poured out, the rub actually seeps in.

If you can’t smoke straight immediately, you can depart for the night.

If you want to experience the powerful flavor of the rub, you may leave the ribs out overnight, but you should be aware that the meat quality will suffer.

If you want to rub overnight, you should think about doing so for no more than 12 hours, since after that the rub will start to change the ribs’ look and texture.

How to store wet rub

When it comes to wet rubbing, it’s very sensitive and can’t last for a long time.
You should preferably make enough wet rub to be used only once .
The wet rub can only remain in its original shape for a few hours.
If you are somehow left with a huge amount of unused wet rub that you can’t afford to discard, then you should consider storing it in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.
Even then, it can only last for a few days .

How to store dry rub

Dry rubs are frequently unused because they are prepared in excess of what is required.
So you may consider storing the leftovers of the rub to be used for the next smoking process.
But while doing so, you should consider removing the mixture of rub that has come in contact with ribs or is wet in texture.
because these can clump over time and affect the texture of the rub. you can read our guide on How do I keep my rub from clumping? for more information
When it comes to storing dry rub ,you can store dry rub in an airtight jar so that the rub should retain its flavor over time .
The dried can last for 6 months or even a year if stored properly.
After that, its flavor will fade.

Can you leave a dry rub on the ribs overnight?

When using dry rub, there are no benefits to leaving the rub overnight because dry rub is applied to get good bark and it usually stays on the surface of the ribs.
Applying dry rub for more time can make the appearance more reddish.
it is better to apply rub on ribs only few hours before smoking. it will make your rub more flavorful and avoid affecting its appearance.

Final Verdict

When to rub ribs before smoking is a matter of preference.

If you want to, you can rub for anything between 15 minutes and six hours. Ideally, you should experiment with various rub times on your own before choosing one.

You should be aware that massaging ribs for an extended period of time won’t improve their flavor.

In our experience, the flavor of ribs that have been massaged for a few hours or overnight is same.

However, rubbing overnight doesn’t also harm the taste. Which one you choose to use is entirely up to you.

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

Jakob miller