Now that the rub is ready, it’s time to prepare the meat. For this weekend’s festivities, we have: 2 pork shoulders, 2 whole chickes, 4 large turkey legs, an assortment of chicken wings and drumsticks, a rack of ribs and some sausages. The Florida LoCo ain’t small, and we all like to eat.
Start with a nice, clean cutting board and knife, and set your dry rub within easy reach. Use a large spoon or, in my case, measuring cup to dish the rub onto the meat. This keeps them separate, so you can store any remaining dry rub for another day.
When the meat has a thick layer of fat on it like this, I like to cut a diagonal pattern in it. This gives the dry rub somewhere to stick to, and helps render the fat down faster. Just don’t cut it off, that fat is going to keep the pork moist and give it a huge amount of flavor. Don’t worry, most of it will cook down during the hours it’ll spend on the smoker.
The reason it’s called a dry rub not a dry sprinkle, is because you’ve got to rub it in there. Take a good sizes spoonful of your rub, pour it on top, then start working it in. It’s virtually impossible to put on too much, and that layer of sugar and spices is going to create a crust on your meat that is both delicious and helps keep all those wonderful juices inside. It’ll turn black and look burnt, but it’ll taste like candy.
Next up, ribs! Ribs take some extra work, but it’ll pay off. There’s a layer of really tough skin on the underside, which keeps the meat in place and secured to the bones. This is good for the pig, but makes the ribs hard to eat. Get your finger up under it and pull it off, as much of it as you can, and your ribs will be falling of those bones when they’re done.
Nobody ever said that barbecue is fast food. The rub was made Thursday night, and now the meat was prepared Friday night. Now it’s back into the fridge to sit and soak in all those spices. Tomorrow, we cook!
Coming up next: The Party!