South Carolina pitmaster Rodney Scott, who shares life stories and meat-smoking expertise in his new cookbook, “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ” (Clarkson Potter, $30), adds light brown sugar to his rub for ribs and chicken. “That sweet-savory contrast is magical for me,” he says.

He also adds MSG — monosodium glutamate, a manufactured version of the glutamate found in soy sauce, country ham and parmesan — “because it really does enhance the flavor of food.” Many fine-dining restaurants quietly use it too, he says. If you prefer to skip it, that’s fine, but the results will not taste quite like his.

Rodney’s Rib Rub
Makes 2 cups


½ cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt

¼ cup MSG

¼ cup freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup paprika

¼ cup chile powder¼ cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Whether you’re cooking ribs like these or smoking chicken, the Rib Rub and Rodney’s Sauce from “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ” are key components. (Photo by Jerrelle Guy for Clarkson Potter

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