You can accomplish a lot in the way of tenderizing and adding smoke flavor to meat by cooking at low temperatures over charcoal and wood. To achieve better results when you mix some marinade or a great rub to work with a little heat or spice into the meat.
A rub is a dry marinade that you sprinkle or pat onto meat before you cook it. Rubs can contain just about anything, and they usually include some salt and sugar. You leave them on for a few minutes before you cook or as long as overnight. As meat cooks, the heat pulls open it pores, and the flavor of the rub seep into the meat.
Rubs help produce bark, a crisp and flavorful crust that also helps hold in the meat’s moisture.
To create a rub, start with something fairly neutral that will mix easily, such as paprika. To that add salt, sugar, or any other spices that intrigue you.
Marinade, a light liquid that you soak in meat in before you cook it, does as much good for the texture of meat as it does for the flavor.
Most marinades are made up of an acid (vinegar, lemon juice, or some such) and an oil. The acid helps break down the fibers to tenderize the meat, and oil helps hold the acid against the meat so it can do the most good.
Marinades tend to work fast, propelling a lot of flavor and good tenderizing effect into meat. They can be vehicles for intense tastes or subtle ones.
A sauce can be classified as anything that is a liquid. Depending on who or where you are, a true barbecue sauce can be very different.
Different kinds of sauces are appropriate at different stages of the cooking process. You do not put a sugary sauce on food before it has been cooked through because it will burn.
Any sauce starts with a base that provides the underlying flavor and holds everything together. The base maybe be ketchup, vinegar, mustard, tomato paste, chili sauce, or anything along those lines. From there, add some sweetness, such as sugar or molasses, and then throw in some spices.