Preparation / Directions:
The rub is the second most important part of the BBQ process, next to the smoking technique. There are two main concepts to keep in mind when formulating your rub. The proportion of salt should be great enough to trigger osmosis and begin to draw the moisture from the surface of the meat, and (some may disagree with this) the proportion of sugar should not be excessive because it will caramelize and burn during smoking leaving a bitter taste. However, since sugar contributes to osmosis, it is an important component and shouldn't be eliminated.
Beyond that, your rub should only be limited by your imagination. Other ingredients to consider can include paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, chile powder, oregano, sage or whatever sounds good to you.
I like to keep my rub in a shaker for easy application. Rub should be applied at least the night before smoking. Anything longer, up to three days, is better. Shake the rub over the entire surface of the meat to be smoked. Use a generous amount at first and then, as it starts to get moist and adhere, add more. I don't think it's necessary to "rub" it in. I find that that only results in uneven distribution, and besides, it stains your hands. Wrap the meat loosely in butcher paper and leave in the fridge until a couple of hours before smoking.
I find rubs to be far more useful than marinades especially for large pieces of meat such as briskets and pork butts. For cuts such as these, the internal and external fat melt through the meat during cooking to keep it moist. I believe that the texture of the meat is improved by drawing out excess moisture, before cooking, through osmosis. The dry surface of the meat and the rub itself combine to produce a flavorful and attractive crust on the finished product. Unless it is thoroughly blotted dry on the surface, marinated meat won't color prope