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How far in advance can you apply dry rub?

edited July 29 in General

I know salting your steaks 1-3 days in advance gives you a juicier, more flavorful end product, but is this also true for dry rubs? I am planning to make the Coriander-Orange Skirt Steak recipe and wondering if applying the spice mixture to the meat 1-3 days in advance will either enhance the flavor of or adversely affect the meat. Thank you!


  • Hi Samantha - Only salt penetrates meat. Ground spices, sugar, citrus zest or any other seasoning besides salt just rest on the surface. You may taste them when you take a bite, but that’s just because it’s on the exterior. Salt, on the other hand, separates into ions—sodium and chloride—when it hits meat, which can work their way to the center, altering the protein so that it can better hold onto moisture and also amplifying flavor. Sprinkle a spice rub on right before cooking for good texture and a flavorful crust, but don’t expect it to do anything more. The spice rub for our Coriander-Orange Skirt Steak includes salt. You could keep the salt separate from the spices and apply it in advance to "dry brine" the meat if you wanted. Cuts 1" thick or less (such as skirt steak) really only need an hour or two for the salt to fully penetrate. Then apply the rest of the spice rub right before cooking. Thanks for writing us! Best, Lynn C.

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