Dry rubs are a simple, delicious way to take any meal to the next level. From sweet and savory to spicy and bold, there are endless ways to mix up a meal and give it a tasty twist without breaking a sweat.

Here are two simple recipes for dry rubs that you can easily put together in time for dinner and will go great on any meat. Just mix the ingredients together in a bag or bowl and rub onto the meat before cooking.

All Purpose Dry Rub Recipe

(Via AllRecipes.com)

  • 4 tablespoons white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch dried oregano
  • 1 pinch dried thyme

Martha Stewart’s All Purpose Spice Rub

(Via MarthaStewart.com)

  • 1/3 cup coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Of course, part of what makes cooking fun and exciting is making things your own – including creating your own signature dry rub. If you’ve got a spice rack, you already have all the ingredients you need to get started. Here are 6 tips to help make sure you’re balancing your favorite spices just right.

1) More salt, less sweet

You want your salt-to-sweet ratio to be heavily balanced towards salt. Salt has a magical ability to bring out the complex flavors of whatever it seasons. Sugars are much less versatile. However, there are a few dishes that taste fantastic with a sweet rub, particularly when you’re cooking with poultry and pork.

2) Pick your pepper

Pepper adds a critical element of heat to your dry rub, but that doesn’t mean you have to reach for the standard black pepper sitting on the dinner table. There are plenty of varieties from which to choose, including white, red, and cayenne. Choose one, or try out a combination of a few.

3) Be creative

This is your chance to add your own flair to a dish. Give your spice rack a spin, and start pulling out flavors you love.

4) …But not that creative

Spices have a tendency to compete against each other. Put too many in the mix, and no one wins. After you’ve added in your salt, sugar, and heat, stick to three or four additional spices. Any more than that, and your dry rub will start to lose any subtlety of flavor.

5) Taste it first

Before you season your whole family’s sirloin with your new creation, taste a small pinch of it. Make sure it’s balanced to your liking. Better to correct any mistakes before you ruin five pounds of perfectly innocent steak.

6) Pay attention to dates

How often do you refresh your spice rack? Chances are, more than a few of the spices in your cupboard are old. While expired spices don’t typically present much risk to your health, they do start to lose potency after a few years. For an intense, flavorful dry rub, make sure you’re using fresh ingredients. Stop by Butcher Boy whenever you need to replenish.

Now, go and create something delicious – and uniquely yours.

Want more know-how from our butchers?

Visit us in North Andover.