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What did I do wrong? Rub too salty

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Post Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:13 pm
Heavydluxe rare

Posts: 14
Location: Windsor, VT
Hi all... new poster, couple month lurker.

Over the weekend, we decided to grill up some boneless, country style pork ribs. Since I've been reading Steve's books, I figured I'd go a little 'adventurous' and make a rub for half the ribs.

I noticed that basically all the rubs in the Rubs/Marinades book, as well as the bible, seem to start with ~1/4 cup kosher salt. From that base (though I used sea salt), I added roughly equal measures of black pepper, all spice, and cloves. There was also a dash of ginger and a little corriander.

I rub the meat down, and each piece of rib meat probably had 5 pieces of sea salt on the outside. At that point, I put the ribs in a freezer bag and started to set them into the fridge to marinate a little. There was a little rub left, so I just dumped it in the bag and gave it a good shake (I think this was my mistake).

The meat came out handsomely with a nice crust, but it was saltier than the dickens. I am usually one who likes salty food, too.

I'm guessing that the marinating must've increased the amount of salt that worked into the meat (combined with the extra rub that I put in)... But I'm new enough to not be sure. Anyone have any input?

Thanks for handling the newbies, folks... We all appreciate the help!

Thanks, Brian aka Dluxe

Post Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:28 pm
Grand Scale BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 4272
Location: York, PA
Welcome to the board. Hope you stick around and enjoy the insanity.

I don't think the extra rub would make it more salty, just more flavor. It the rub was to salty to begin with then maybe but not if the proportions were correct to begin with.
Check out this thread for a similar discussion on salt that may help you.

Hopefully that will clear some of it up for you.

Post Mon Jul 12, 2004 4:39 pm
Heavydluxe rare

Posts: 14
Location: Windsor, VT
Thanks, GS...

I would've 'tasted' the rub at the start, but with these rather large chunks of sea salt, it would've been hard to figure out if what was in my mouth was 'representative'.

Live and learn, I suppose. It was just *way* saltier than I would've imagined. Made me think that some odd, salt-increasing cosmic alignment had occurred.

I think next time, I'll be sure to rub only *one* piece of meat until I'm sure the formula I have i solid... That way, there won't be quite so much disappointing food on the table.

Post Tue Jul 13, 2004 2:51 pm
DarkRubiTJ medium-well

Posts: 221
Location: Livingston, TX.
Kosher salt is going to be less "saltyer" than other salt. As a guideline is a receipe calls for x amount of Kosher salt and I'm out I cut the quanity in half using regular salt. Make sure that the salt you buy for rubs and stuff is non ionized. Do a taste test between ionized and non ionized and you'll see that ionized is very bitter tasting. Most kosher salt is non ionized and it's all I keep in the kitchen. My Lady long ago learned not to buy stuff for the kitchen, that's my job.
Weber "Q", Weber Performer, Weber 22.5" Bar-B-Kettle

Post Wed Jul 14, 2004 12:51 am
Vinsect well done
well done

Posts: 576
Location: Middle Tennessee
Heavydluxe, I can sure sympethize with you after my brine incident.
I like you idea of trying the recipe again with only one piece rubbed. That's a great way to learn.
You mentioned you thought your mistake was in putting the leftover rub in with the marinade. That would have made a brine. May I suggest you duplicate the recipe again with a few variations...
1 piece of ribs untreated
1 piece rubbed only
1 piece marinated only
1 piece rubbed then marinated
1 piece marinated then rubbed (which wouldn't brine)
and 1 piece rubbed, marinated, and leftover rub thrown in the marinade like you think may have been the downfall.

Not only would this tell you where the problem was, you may find a combination thats really great and you may have a good rub after all.

If you do, let us know how it goes.
If it aint broke, Break it!
Then rebuild it better.

Post Wed Jul 14, 2004 9:40 am
TonyGreek medium-rare

Posts: 75
Location: Celina, Ohio
well, after typing a rather long message re: salt, it errored out and gave me an "invalid session" error. irritating... the lesson is, always copy and paste in case this happens.

the gist of it was that sea salt is inherently saltier than kosher or table salt. sea salt, which does taste better than any other, should typically only be used as a finishing salt and not "in" your recipes, but "on' your recipes. i wouldn't use it in a rub as the amount needed would be too much of a hit or miss wildcard. kosher, typically referenced in bbq recipes, is less salty and already proportioned for you. obviously, it's too hard to taste a rub for salt content as it is meant to be salty, but how much? <PUN ALERT> aye, there's the rub.

Dayton, Ohio

Post Wed Jul 14, 2004 10:25 am
TonyGreek medium-rare

Posts: 75
Location: Celina, Ohio
oooops.... one key thing i forgot to add in my re-post was that while kosher salt is often referenced in recipes and tells you the quantity you should use, there is a difference in brands of kosher and their respective quantities. some recipes address this issue. the 2 popular brands, diamond and morton's, feature a difference in weight of the salt. weber's website,, addresses this. i think there's a brining section on there which tells the proper ratios.
-- Tony --
Grand Lake St. Mary's
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