We found a "wet" rub marinade and love how it flavors steak. But, watching a recent cooking show Chef Michael said you should not "rub" your steak but rather sprinkle your seasonings on and let them rest. Can you please explain to me why rub is suppose to be sprinkled?


(IMO) Wet marinade need to be applied some time before cooking the meat (hours before) and works best on "difficult" meat like hangar steak or meat that needs to be cook/smoked for a long time (ribs,...)

My experience with wet rub is that my grill needs to be very hot and I need to remove as much marinade and dry the meat before putting it on the grill otherwise it will steam instead of grilling.

Dry rub is more or less simply seasoning and should be applied just before (10, 15 minutes) cooking the meat, and the meat must be cooked quickly (steak).

But if you want to do a dry rub on your ribs or a wet marinade on your steak, good for you, they will still be good (as long as the meat is cooked properly)

  • What you mention of seasoning just before cooking -- yes it's done dry, but it's not what I think of as a 'rub'. There are plenty for ribs and such where you put it on the day before, and the salt pulls some moisture out of the meat (which then sucks salt and flavors back in). It's how I typically do ribs and other slow cooked meats, if I have the time.
    – Joe
    Aug 21 '15 at 18:31

There's controversy over whether sprinkling or rubbing rubs is correct. On the one side, people argue that rubbing causes abrasion which allows juices to run out. Meat is already cut. Meat is not a water balloon that's going to leak if the surface is scratched with a run. I always rub my seasoning in (and typically apply it liberally).

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