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What’s the Best for Kamado Grilling Between Dry Rub and Marinade?

What's the Best for Kamado Grilling Between a Dry Rub and a Marinade?

Barbecue season is here, and it’s time to wow your guests with some impressive cooking skills. The question is, What’s the best for kamado grilling between a dry rub and a marinade?

Dry rubs and marinades are the main options when it comes to seasoning meat, which one releases more flavor? Which one is right for your meat of choice? Before we dive into it, let’s define what each option is.

What is Dry Rub?

A dry rub usually consists of a ground spice mixture, which is then rubbed over the meat. The rub should then be applied to the outside of the meat.

Depending on what you’re making, dry rub is usually applied to the meat at least two hours before cooking.

What is a Marinade?

A marinade is a wet option consisting of oil and other acidic liquids. The acidity destroys the tissue in the meat, which absorbs any moisture. Final result? Bone-in meat, juicy and full of flavour.

So, the main difference between the two is consistency. But how do you know when to dry rub or pickle?

When to Choose Dry Rub or Marinade

You need to consider several factors: The flavor you want

Implementation, cooking method, and finally, the type of meat you are cooking.


Whether you choose a dry rub or a marinade depends on the flavor you’re after. You can only get lemon zest by adding some lemon juice to the meat, so it’s no longer a dry rub thing.

Rubbing is better for getting a smoky flavor. Try a mix of smoked paprika, a pinch of paprika, black pepper, and dark brown sugar for a smoky flavor when cooking your ribs.

Cooking Method

If you want juicy meat, marinated meat may be better suited for light cooking on the grill to retain moisture.

On the other hand, if you want an extra bite into the meat, use a dry rub. Meat prepared with a dry rub may be better suited for cooking on the grill or oven to develop its texture.

The higher the heat used, the more moisture your meat will lose, so think about how you will cook your barbecue meat, keeping the final taste and texture in mind.

Meat of Your Choice

If your meat needs to be tenderized, marinating not only infuses it with flavor and flesh, but also handles the tenderization process at the same time. That being said, dry rubbing doesn’t necessarily mean a compromise on flavor.

Therefore, you may need to determine how to season the meat based on the meat itself.

Are there thinner cuts of meat? Pickling them may be a better option when it comes to adding to the flavor factor. If your meat is already tender (think brisket or fillet), then marinating for a few hours will bring out the flavor and aroma well. This is a great marinade for grilled chicken thighs.

Cooking bigger cuts like delicious sirloin steaks and ribs? Dry rub works best.

Final Thoughts

All in all, there are clear differences between the two flavoring methods, but neither is better than the other. It all depends on what you want, what you’re doing, how you cook it, and the flavor you want from the meat.