5-4-3-2-1 rub is probably the single best trick for making delicious tasting BBQ that most people have never heard of. I use it on everything I slow cook and smoke. A great rub is the foundation of good BBQ. It captures the smoke coming up from the fire below and allows it to soak into the meat while also accentuating the natural flavor of pork, chicken, and beef. Put it on a few hours or even a couple of days before cooking and it will help break down tough cuts of meat and help deliver that tender juicy picture worthy dish we all strive for.
The recipe is simple, it’s all about proportions. I used a Tablespoon and made about 4 oz. of rub, enough to do a few racks of ribs, 2 pork shoulders, or a large packer cut brisket. The rub will keep for a few weeks but is best if used within a few days. In the past I’ve used a 1/4 cup measuring scoop to make large batches. You could also use a teaspoon for a single meal batch. It’s all up to you.
There are 5 ingredients, Paprika, Brown Sugar, Coarse Sea Salt, Coarse or Fresh Ground Black Pepper, and Cumin. It’s important that you use only coarse ground sea salt and black pepper. Fine ground will make the recipe either too salty or too spicy and drastically change the taste of the BBQ. Additionally, I have substituted ground cayenne pepper for the Cumin before for more of a Texas style rub. I also like to use Smoked paprika for an even richer smoky flavor on my meat. This rub also makes a great base recipe to add anything from garlic or onion powder to different types of herbs and spices. I’ve also seen the paprika and brown sugar switched for a sweeter rub.
Take all your ingredients and dump them in a mixing bowl:
5 Tablespoons Paprika
4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Coarse Ground Sea Salt
2 Tablespoons Coarse Ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
Mix with a fork or whisk. I store mine in mason jars. You can purchase different types of lids for these jars, including shaker lids for easy application on your BBQ meat of choice.
The first step to eating healthier is learning how to cook. I smoke different kinds of meat every weekend in the summer and use them as the basis of meals for the next 7 days. This rub gives meat a great taste but its neutral enough that it can be used in different styles and dishes without over powering other flavors. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Play around, make it your own.