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Enhance Your Grill Game with BBQ Rub and BBQ Sauce

Exploring all the ways you can make grilling better could be a lifetime pursuit -- and for many hobbyists, it is. Enter the humble BBQ rub and BBQ sauce, two common preparations to make grilled meat even more delicious.

What Is BBQ Rub and BBQ Sauce?

A BBQ rub is a blend of spices and seasonings that infuse your meat with flavors before you put them on the grill.

  • Rubs come in all different formulas and blends. Some are common, like combinations of sweet and hot flavors. Others draw inspiration from interesting culinary pairings, like lemon, lime, garlic, chilies and more.
  • Choose a rub that sounds delicious to you on its own and with whatever sides you decide to serve.
  • Pick up sets or libraries of different seasoning rubs. These sets are perfect for novices and expert grillers alike.

BBQ sauce is a sauce of caramelized tomatoes and smoky flavor. It's meant to enhance the naturally smoky flavors of grilled meat. BBQ sauces are often prized for unique flavors regionally. Different parts of the U.S. are known for different levels of smoke, heat and sweetness.

How To Use Rubs and Sauces Together

While rubs are used before you put the meat on the grill, BBQ sauce is regularly enjoyed as both a basting aid before or during grilling and a dipping sauce after the meat is done.

  • To use both, rub the meat with the seasoning blend first. Give it a good massage, being certain to turn the meat over and rub all sides.
  • If you use a little oil to help the rub stick, you may end up with a pastier consistency. There's no right or wrong choice -- just pay attention to what you like.
  • If you choose sauce to marinate, baste the meat after you've applied the rub. Give it time to permeate the cut of the meat thoroughly before grilling.
  • Once your meat is grilled, feel free to douse the meat in more BBQ sauce before eating.

Have Fun with Exotic Flavors and Mixes

Go ahead and try a new flavor profile or combo every weekend you grill -- more if you're out there on weeknights. Interesting concoctions like a black truffle mix or citrus blends keep your platters fresh and unique.  Don't be surprised if the neighbors start wandering over when you start cooking.