When I first started barbecuing 16 years ago, I believed what the “masters” prescribed. “Apply cheap yellow mustard to bind the rub to the meat’s surface”, they said. And I obeyed. Without hesitation, I dutifully applied yellow mustard to the meat.
A few times I left a little too much mustard in one area and when I later it into it, I hated it. Surely the barbecue masters didn’t intend that? With a lot of care, I tried again and still wound with too much mustard in a bite of finished barbecue.
I’d had enough. I decided to put the mustard to the test. To a rack of ribs, I simply applied the rub, then let them marinade overnight in the refrigerator.
The next morning, I marveled that the thick, wet rub that had formed overnight.
With this result, I was convinced there was no need for mustard. But, what made this rub so wet overnight?
Well, it turned out that the Kosher salt in the rub was to blame for all that juiciness. The Kosher salt extracts moisture from the ribs. When this happens, the salt begins to dissolve. The dissolved salt then begins to melt back into the meat. This causes a chemical reaction between the dissolved salt and the meat’s protein tissues. Muscle fibers loosen and tenderize. The moisture left at the surface wets the rub and keeps it in place, without mustard.
Juicier barbecue without the mustard.