Unlocking Flavour: Tips and Techniques for Using Rubs and Seasonings

Seasonings and rubs are the secret weapons of every great chef. They can turn a bland dish into a mouthwatering masterpiece and elevate your cooking to a new level. Whether you’re an experienced culinary expert or taking your first steps in the kitchen, understanding how to use rubs and seasonings effectively can make a significant difference in your culinary creations. This article will explore some important tips and techniques to unlock the full potential of these flavour-enhancing ingredients.

Choose the Right Ingredient

The first step to unlocking flavour is selecting the right ingredient for your dish. Consider the flavour profile you aim to create and the ingredients available. For instance, a classic steak rub with salt, black pepper, garlic, and paprika will work wonders if you’re grilling a steak. Experiment with a Moroccan spice blend or a smoky chipotle rub for a more exotic flavour.

Don’t Be Shy with These

One common mistake in cooking is to use more seasoning. Feel free to be generous with your rubs, especially if you’re cooking large cuts of meat. Generally, use about one tablespoon of seasoning per pound of meat. This will ensure the flavours penetrate the food and create a delicious crust.

Apply Seasonings Evenly

To ensure even flavour distribution, apply them evenly on all sides of your meat or vegetables. If you’re using a rub, you can rub it into the surface of the food with your hands, covering every nook and cranny. For liquid ones, like soy sauce or marinades, use a brush or a basting tool to coat the food evenly.

Let It Rest

After applying seasonings and rubs, allow your food to rest before cooking. This gives them time to penetrate and infuse the meat or vegetables. For smaller items like steaks or chicken breasts, 15-30 minutes of resting time should suffice. Larger cuts, such as pork shoulders or briskets, can benefit from several hours of overnight marinating in the refrigerator.

Experiment with Homemade Blends

Creating your custom blends can be a fun and rewarding culinary experience. Start with a base of salt and build your flavour profile with herbs, spices, and other ingredients. This allows you to tailor the flavours to your liking and experiment with unique combinations. 

Adjust Them to Taste

Remember that you can always add more, but correcting an overly seasoned dish is challenging. Gradually add salt, spices, or other additions to reach the desired flavour balance. 

Store Properly

By placing your homemade seasonings and rubs in airtight containers, kept in a cool, dark location, you can maintain their peak flavour and quality for an extended period.

Combining Them

Consider pairing a dry rub with a complementary sauce. For example, use a sweet and smoky rub on ribs and finish with a tangy barbecue sauce. Combining a dry rub with a complementary sauce is a fantastic way to create layers of flavour in your dishes. This culinary technique allows you to infuse your food’s exterior and interior with a rich blend of spices and herbs from the rub while adding a delightful sauce that enhances the overall taste.

Temperature Control

Remember that some herbs and spices can burn or become bitter when exposed to high heat for extended periods. Adjust your cooking temperature accordingly. Temperature control is an important aspect of using rubs and seasonings effectively in cooking. Proper temperature management ensures that your seasonings enhance the flavours without burning or becoming bitter.


Unlocking flavour with rubs and seasonings is a skill that can elevate your cooking from ordinary to extraordinary. By selecting the appropriate ingredients, using them skillfully, and exploring diverse combinations, you have the power to craft dishes that explode with flavour and leave your diners yearning for seconds. 

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