Rubs, either wet or dry, are made with a combination of herbs and spices and applied directly to meat before cooking.
Generally speaking, dry rubs are used for grilling because they won't burn - this also makes them perfect for meat that requires long cooking such as ribs. Dry rubs have a good shelf life and can be stored in your cupboard for up to three months. A helpful rule of thumb is to use two tablespoons of dry rub per kilogram of meat.
A successful rub contains a balance of salty, sweet, sour and bitter flavours. If you like intensely flavoured meat it helps to place your meat and rub in a covered dish or zipper bag and stand it in the refrigerator for an hour before cooking it. This will allow the meat to absorb the flavours. Take care when using wet rubs in this way, especially if they contain vinegar or lemon juice in the mix. Vinegar and lemon juice tend to change the texture of the meat and begin to cure or cook the meat, so you may need to reduce your cooking time.
Some flavours that go well with meat include garlic, fennel, cumin, coriander, star anise, ginger, sage, mustard, rosemary, thyme, soya sauce and hoisin sauce.