As with most things in life, the simplest things are usually the best. SPOG is an amazing brisket rub, and great on steaks or burgers. The rub create’s beautiful bark or provides some great flavor to the grill.
What is SPOG? SPOG is an acronym for Salt Pepper Onion Garlic. Most people have these ingredients in large containers sitting in their cabinets.
If you search the internet for “brisket rub”, or “spog”, you are sure to find forums with hundreds of variations. Sometimes the recipes are given by parts, some weight, and others by volume (like this one).
How it’s measured
In the strange world of the internet, SPOG seems to be the only rub recipe that is debated on how it is measured. For example the relationship of Salt and Pepper; some folks feel very strongly that the relationship is based on weight, or volume. I discuss this in more detail over in my Salt and Rub sections over in Q’Basics.
However, for our purposes, we are going to rely on volume measurement and specifying the correct spice density.
Minced or Powder?
Interestingly the next question is what kind of onion or garlic. Do we use minced garlic or garlic powder? Minced onion or onion powder? Some folks like equal sizes, and minced onion/garlic is almost the same size as Kosher Salt and 16 mesh Pepper.
After trying both methods, I prefer the garlic and onion powder. Why? Well the powder rub goes on a bit more even and I get less separation of the ingredients in the shaker. This means the taste profile of the bark is more consistent across the brisket. Secondly, I am going for a consistent coloring/thickness of bark across the whole piece of meat, and powder allows me to do that.
With that said, if I have the cabinet space, I do like both. I use the minced onion/garlic for grilling shakes, and I use the powder for my long cook rubs. Modifications are below for those interested in the alternate.
The Rub and Use
The rub is simple, just mix it all in a bowl. Booyah! The recipe below yields a half cup (4 oz), which is the amount I’ll use on a 15 lbs packer brisket. I like to make a decent batch of it and put it in a shaker for later use.
Here are the ingredients in larger quantities. I dare you to compare the price per oz to your local grocery store. You’re welcome! (The salt is actually cheaper at the store…) Amazon links below for your convenience!
How to apply the rub
If you read my rub article, you might already know this. So go read it. However in short, rubs are generally for long cooks. So if we are using it as a brisket rub, it would go on a little heavy (75-90% coverage) to encourage bark growth and spice absorption.
If we are grilling, i.e. “high heat”, we want to be a lot less liberal with the rub. I don’t think anybody wants a layer of burnt spices on their steak… We want just enough for flavor but not too much to overpower the meat. I recommend applying as much as you would if you were at the dinner table and a shaker of salt was in front of you. A shake or two? Maybe 4? Your personal preference.
General note: Ground pepper doesn’t generally enjoy super high heat, and can create a slightly bitter taste. Personally, I love the taste, but other people may find it off putting. If you already put pepper on your grill food, and you like it, you already know what camp you are in.
For those that want the grill shaker version, mix the following:
– 2 tbsp Ground Pepper 16 mesh
– 2 tbsp Kosher Salt
– 3 tbsp Minced Garlic Spice
– 3 tbsp Minced Onion Spice
For those looking to add red coloring to their Q’, add 2 tablespoons of American Paprika. American Paprika when cooked doesn’t contribute much to the flavor.
Let me know what you think in the comments! I’m interested in hearing about your SPOG combos.
SPOG Beef Rub
- 2 tbsp Ground Black Pepper 16 Mesh size If you have normal ground pepper, use 1½ tbsp
- 2 tbsp Kosher Salt No table salt
- 2 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tbsp Onion Powder
- Mix well. To apply, sprinkle over meat.