11/02/2011 11:43 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

How To Make A Dry Rub

Applying a dry rub to meat and poultry is a quick and easy way to add bold flavor. Chef David Kamen of The Culinary Institute of America provides tips on making your own dry rub, and explains the difference between preparing meat with a dry rub versus a marinade. The beauty of a dry rub? No specific proportions are required, so you can adjust ingredients to suit your flavor preferences.

For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Chef Dave Kamen from the Culinary Institute of America, and I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: how to make a dry rub.

Today, we're going to make a dry rub for chicken breast, and we have a variety of herbs and spices here. You can really use any flavorings you want to use in your dry rub, but the one thing you want to be careful with is things like sugar. Sugar will burn on the grill, and make your chicken a little bit less flavorful than you really want it to be.

Today we have some dry mustard, some garlic powder, some black pepper, and kosher salt; we have some dried basil and a little bit of paprika. We're just going to mix these up in a bowl. There's really no specific proportions you have to use; you can really use what you want to use. We'll add probably about a teaspoon or so of salt and maybe a half teaspoon of garlic; another half a teaspoon of dry mustard, and probably about a half teaspoon of black pepper. We're going to use a good solid teaspoon - maybe even two teaspoons - of our dried basil, and then about a teaspoon or so of our paprika.

We just want to mix it together until it's well and thoroughly incorporated, and then we'll place that on our chicken breast and rub it in.

A dry rub differs from a marinade in that a dry rub is dry, so we have no liquid inside there. There's no acid or vinegar or oil - although some people might rub a little bit of oil on the chicken first before putting the dry rub on, and that might help it stick a little bit more. But for the most part we just want to lay this on there. The dry rub tends to work a little bit faster, because there's no water, no moisture, in there, so we have a little more strength of flavor. You wouldn't have to dry rub something as long as you would marinate something.

So we've sprinkled some of the dry rub on one side of the meat, and now we're going to flip our chicken breast over to the other side and sprinkle the rest of the rub, and then we'll rub it in really well, making sure we get some of this nice seasoning mix in all the little nooks and crannies of our chicken. Rub that in real, real nice. I try to keep one hand clean so I don't have chicken stuff all over both hands at the same time. This way I can turn on the water faucet when it comes time to wash up again.

I'm just going to flip them back over one more time and rub them in real good, massage that spice in there real nicely - and that's our chicken. Now we're ready to grill right away, or you certainly could let this sit and season for up to an hour or even a little bit longer than that. But they're ready to go pretty much just like they are. And that's how you make a dry rub.