Should You Put Mustard On A Chicken Before A Rub?

Should You Put Mustard On A Chicken Before A Rub
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Last Updated on December 16, 2023 by Pauline G. Carter

Yes, applying mustard on chicken before a rub can enhance its flavor and help the rub adhere better. Mustard not only adds a tangy flavor to the chicken but also acts as a binder for the rub, creating a delicious crust when cooked.

Applying mustard on chicken before a rub can be a great way to add flavor and ensure that the rub sticks to the meat during cooking. The mustard helps to create a flavorful crust and can enhance the overall taste of the chicken.

However, it’s important to consider the preferences of those who will be consuming the chicken, as some may not enjoy the taste of mustard. When using mustard, it’s recommended to choose a type that complements the flavors of the rub and the chicken, such as Dijon or whole grain mustard. Ultimately, the decision to use mustard before a rub depends on personal taste preferences and desired flavor profiles for the chicken dish.

Should You Put Mustard On A Chicken Before A Rub?


Importance Of A Good Chicken Rub

When it comes to grilling or smoking chicken, the key to achieving a mouthwatering flavor and juicy texture lies in the preparation. A good chicken rub plays a pivotal role in transforming ordinary poultry into a culinary masterpiece. Not only does it enhance the flavor, but it also tenderizes the meat, ensuring a delectable and succulent end result.

Flavor Enhancement

A well-crafted chicken rub can significantly elevate the taste profile of the chicken, providing a medley of savory, smoky, sweet, or spicy notes that tantalize the taste buds. The combination of spices and herbs in the rub infuses the chicken with a depth of flavor that permeates every bite, making it a delightful culinary experience.

Tenderizing The Meat

In addition to flavor, a high-quality chicken rub also acts as a tenderizer, working its magic on the chicken to ensure it remains moist and juicy during the cooking process. The rub helps break down tough muscle fibers, resulting in a tender and succulent texture that keeps diners coming back for more.

Applying Mustard Before The Rub

When it comes to grilling or smoking chicken, many people debate whether or not to apply mustard before the rub. This technique is popular among barbecue enthusiasts, as mustard is believed to enhance the flavor and texture of the chicken, while also helping the rub to adhere better to the meat.

Benefits Of Using Mustard

Using mustard as a base before applying the rub can offer several advantages:

  • Enhanced flavor: Mustard adds a tangy and slightly acidic flavor to the chicken, which complements the spices in the rub.
  • Improved moisture retention: The natural emulsifiers in mustard can help the chicken retain moisture during the cooking process, resulting in a juicier end product.
  • Better adhesion: Mustard acts as a binding agent, allowing the rub to stick more effectively to the surface of the chicken, ensuring even distribution of flavors.

Proper Application Techniques

When applying mustard before the rub, it’s important to follow proper techniques to ensure the best results:

  1. Thin layer: Apply a thin, even layer of mustard to the chicken using a pastry brush or your hands. Avoid using too much, as the goal is to enhance flavor and adhesion without overpowering the dish.
  2. Season both sides: After applying the mustard, season both sides of the chicken with your chosen rub. This ensures that the flavors are well distributed throughout the meat.
  3. Resting time: Allow the mustard-coated chicken to rest for a short period before cooking. This gives the flavors a chance to meld and penetrate the meat for a more cohesive taste.

Considerations Before Using Mustard

Making use of mustard as a base before applying a rub to your chicken offers several benefits. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind before using mustard in your cooking process. Let’s explore these considerations in detail.

Types Of Rubs And Flavor Profiles

When deciding whether to use mustard on chicken before applying a rub, it’s important to consider the types of rubs and their flavor profiles. Different rubs can have varying levels of salt, sugar, spices, and herbs, which can interact differently with mustard. For example, a sweet rub might pair well with the tangy and slightly pungent flavor of mustard, while a spicy rub might benefit from the mellowing effect of the mustard. Understanding the flavor profile of your chosen rub can help determine whether mustard will complement or overpower the flavors of the rub.

Dietary Restrictions And Preferences

Another crucial consideration before using mustard on chicken is dietary restrictions and preferences. If you or your guests have specific dietary restrictions, such as allergies to mustard or a preference for avoiding certain ingredients, it’s important to take these into account. Additionally, considering personal preferences for flavors and textures can guide the decision of whether to incorporate mustard in the preparation of chicken with a rub. Being mindful of dietary restrictions and preferences ensures that everyone can enjoy the meal without any concerns.

Expert Opinions On Mustard And Chicken Rub

For chicken rubs, experts suggest using mustard before applying the rub to enhance flavor and seal in moisture. Mustard acts as a binding agent, helping the rub adhere to the meat and creating a flavorful crust when grilled or smoked.

Many experts agree that mustard adds depth and richness to the chicken’s flavor when used in this way.

Professional Chefs’ Insights

Professional chefs often have differing opinions when it comes to using mustard on chicken before applying a rub. Some chefs are strong advocates for using mustard as a binding agent to help the rub adhere to the chicken. They argue that the mustard also contributes a subtle tangy flavor to the meat, enhancing the overall taste of the dish. On the other hand, some chefs prefer to apply the rub directly onto the chicken without using mustard, believing that the flavors of the rub should be allowed to shine through without any extra layers.

Home Cooks’ Experiences

Home cooks have experimented with both methods and have shared varying experiences. Many home cooks find that using mustard as a base before applying the rub creates a moist and flavorful end result. They also appreciate that the mustard helps the rub to stick to the chicken, preventing it from being easily washed away during the cooking process. Conversely, some home cooks prefer to avoid mustard, opting to apply the rub directly to the chicken for a purer flavor profile. They believe that the natural juices of the chicken are sufficient for the rub to adhere, and that the mustard flavor can sometimes overpower the taste of the meat.

In any case, the decision to use mustard before a rub is ultimately a matter of personal preference and may depend on the specific flavors and textures desired in the final dish. Both professional chefs and home cooks agree that the key is to ensure that the chicken is thoroughly coated with the rub, whether or not mustard is used in the process.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Should You Put Mustard On A Chicken Before A Rub?

Can Mustard Be Used As A Pre-rub For Chicken?

Yes, mustard can be used as a pre-rub for chicken to enhance flavor and create a crispy crust when grilled.

What Are The Benefits Of Applying Mustard Before A Rub?

Applying mustard before a rub helps the seasoning stick, adds a tangy flavor, and aids in tenderizing the chicken.

Will The Chicken Taste Like Mustard After Cooking?

No, the chicken will not taste like mustard after cooking; the flavor mellows, leaving a delicious, savory taste.

Should I Use Yellow Or Dijon Mustard For Chicken Rub?

Both yellow and Dijon mustard work well, so it comes down to personal preference and desired flavor profile.

Can Mustard Act As A Substitute For Oil In A Rub?

Yes, mustard can act as a substitute for oil in a rub, adding moisture and creating a flavorful crust.

How Long Should The Mustard-rubbed Chicken Sit Before Cooking?

Allow the mustard-rubbed chicken to sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking to allow the flavors to infuse.


Incorporating mustard before chicken rub enhances flavor and moisture retention, making it a worthwhile step. However, personal preference plays a significant role in final decision-making. Ultimately, experimenting with different methods is key to finding the perfect combination for your desired taste and texture.

Embrace creativity in the kitchen and enjoy the journey of culinary exploration.

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