Do I Use a Marinade or a Rub to BBQ my Meat?

Enhance your BBQ cook with the variety of rubs and marinades on the market. Joes BBQs stocks a broad range of spices and rubs from leading BBQ companies.

Here is a quick breakdown on what rubs and seasonings are and how they can be used.

What are Rubs?

BBQ meat rubs are spice blends or mixtures of herbs and seasonings that are applied to meat before cooking, typically for grilling or smoking. These rubs are used to enhance the flavour and texture of the meat and can add complexity and depth to your barbecue dishes. BBQ rubs can be used on a variety of meats, including beef, pork, chicken

What are Marinades?

Marinades are flavourful liquids or mixtures of seasonings that are used to soak or coat meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables before cooking. The primary purpose of a marinade is to enhance the flavour, tenderness, and juiciness of the food. Marinades can be either acidic or non-acidic

History of the Spice Rub

The history of spice rubs can be traced back to ancient culinary traditions that used a combination of herbs and spices to flavour and preserve food. While the specific origin of spice rubs is difficult to pinpoint, various cultures have developed their own versions over time.

Ancient civilizations: Many ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, used a variety of herbs and spices to season and preserve meats and other foods. These early spice blends often included ingredients like coriander, cumin, garlic, and black pepper.

Middle Ages: During the Middle Ages in Europe, spice rubs became more elaborate and were used to enhance the flavour of roasted meats. Spices like cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg were prized and incorporated into these rubs.

Colonial America: In the New World, European colonists adapted their spice rub traditions to incorporate native ingredients like chili peppers and local herbs. This gave rise to regional spice rubs in the Americas, such as the famous barbecue rubs of the American South.

Indian and Asian influence: In Asia, spice rubs have a long history, with countries like India known for their complex and aromatic spice blends like garam masala. These spice mixtures were often used to marinate and season meats and vegetables for cooking.

Caribbean and Latin American cuisine: The Caribbean and Latin American cuisines also have their own unique spice rubs, often featuring a combination of spices like allspice, thyme, and scotch bonnet peppers. Jerk seasoning, for example, is a popular spice rub from the Caribbean.

Modern use: In the modern culinary world, spice rubs have gained widespread popularity. They are used to add depth and flavour to grilled, roasted, or smoked meats, as well as vegetables and even seafood. The composition of spice rubs varies widely, with countless recipes and combinations to suit different tastes.

Spice rubs have evolved over centuries, reflecting the availability of spices and local ingredients, as well as the cultural and regional influences on cuisine. Today, spice rubs continue to play a significant role in enhancing the flavour of a wide range of dishes, and they are often used by home cooks and professional chefs alike.

History of the BBQ Sauce and Marinade

Père Labat, a Dominican missionary, observed cooks seasoning grilled meat with lime juice and chilli peppers while he was in the French West Indies in 1698. This recipe’s origins may be found in Africa, where seasoning meat with lime and lemon juice is a common practise. When Adam Scott started a barbeque restaurant in Goldsboro, North Carolina, in 1917, the oldest commercial barbeque sauce still produced. The components for Scott’s barbeque sauce are nothing out of the ordinary for the area, despite the fact that Scott, a preacher, said they came to him in a dream. The majority of the ingredient was vinegar.

What is the difference between a rub and a marinade?

A rub is a topically applied seasoning that will season the protein and may provide a wonderful crust or bark without penetrating too deeply or altering the cellular structure. This effect is produced by the cooking process caramelising sugar, which is included in a rub. Rubs are an excellent method to quickly add flavour to whatever you want to grill without having to plan because you can let it sit for anywhere from a few hours to overnight. However, since it will not permeate the meat that much, you don’t have to. Spices combined with an acidic liquid, such as wine, vinegar, or citrus, is known as a marinade. Tougher meat slices can be made softer by the acidity, which also enhances taste. Unlike seafood and leaner meats like skirt steak, which should only marinade for around an hour, hearty meats like steak, pork, and chicken should marinate for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours.

Dry Rub vs Wet Rub

Salt, sugar, and paprika are the basic ingredients of dry rubs. From this base, you may build your flavour with any herb, spice, or combination of spices. Use dry heat while cooking with your dry rub, such as when grilling, smoking, or pan-frying. Some of the same spices used in dry rub ribs are also used in wet rub ribs, which have a liquid basis like vinegar or oil. Brown sugar, beer, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, and vinegar are a few common components. Good rib rubs have the viscosity of paste, which helps the rub adhere to the meat. Applying the wet rub liberally and cooking the meat slowly are the greatest practices; slow cooking is the best technique to flavour meat thoroughly. The ribs absorb moisture from the rub as the exterior is charred.

Tips on Making a BBQ Rub

Use spices and ingredients that are still fresh when choosing or developing a rub recipe. Spices should be thrown away if they have lost their efficacy. We advise starting with a simple recipe and modifying the taste profile by adding a few ingredients or changing the components to suit your preferences. Before using your rub on meat, it is advised to sample it to make sure the flavour profile is to your liking. Here are some more tips on creating the best dry rub for your BBQ.

  • Create a unique flavour profile by using spices, fresh and dry herbs, and adding a sweet and spicy component.
  • Apply it before grilling, roasting, or slow cooking. 
  • If you want a more intense flavour, rub it in hours in advance. 
  • Add a liquid component like lemon or lime juice or oil if you want to make a wet rub. 

Joes BBQs Tips on Making a BBQ Marinade

The key to a great marinade is finding the proper ratio of the fundamental components, which might include oil, salt, acid, or enzymes (such as those found in mango or kiwifruit), as well as spices, herbs, and something sweet (sugar or honey). These all help to improve the taste, add moisture for succulence, and soften the protein in the meat to make it more tender. Cheaper and tougher cuts of meat may be improved with a tasty marinade.

  • Prepare meats in advance. Marinating works best with thinner cuts of meat. 
  • Use food-safe plastic containers or glass containers, or zip-lock bags. Even Cryovac works well.
  • Marinate your meats in the refrigerator.
  • Match the marinating time with the cut of your meat. Thinner cuts may need less time to marinate. 
  • Do not cook your meat in overly elevated temperatures. Marinated meat tends to burn faster because of its sugar component. More generally found in store bought marinades.

What are the three components of a marinade?

An acid (such as vinegar, wine, or citrous), a fat (such as olive oil or sesame oil), and a flavouring agent are the three main ingredients of a conventional marinade (such as herbs and spices). These components combine in several ways to alter the flavour and texture of your food.


Acids assist in enhancing the taste of meat in a variety of ways. Acids aid in the breakdown of the connective tissue in meat, allowing for deeper penetration and a mild tenderising of the flesh. For a flavour profile to be balanced, an acidic flavour element is also crucial.


Fat aids in the flavour transmission from the marinade to the meat, fat is a crucial ingredient in marinades. The moisture it adds helps the dish retain its flavour while the acidity buffers some of the harsher effects of the cooking process. A marinade should have a 2:1 ratio of fat to acid (two parts fat to one part acid).


Dried spices, fresh herbs, and garlic are examples of strong tastes that work well in marinades, but it is best to slightly pound these components to bring out more of their flavour. Or roast dried spices, bruising usually helps bring the flavour out.

Get into Joes BBQ for your massive selection of marinades and rubs
142 Silverwater Road Silverwater 02 9737 9799