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The Secrets to Great Dry Rub Recipes

You can follow our proven, simple dry rub recipes to ensure your barbecue fame, then you can call it your own!

The "Cookin' Cousins" believe that a barbecue dry rub is one of the six secrets to a great barbecue!

Dry rubs are generally used when "barbecuing" vs. "grilling". Barbecuing is the traditional method of roasting meat over a low temperature heat source, with hardwood smoke. Grilling uses high, smokeless heat, and renders sugar-based dry rubs ineffective! It burns. Period.

We barbecue using the indirect cooking method to attain that incredible smoked, moist, cooked to perfection result that alludes so many! The heat is kept low and the meat is cooked slow. Patience pays big dividends!

Do you want a rub with nothing more than a couple of spices, or a grand mixture of complimentary flavors? We like to keep it simple, and share these proven rub recipes, to ensure your backyard barbecue notoriety!

Wet or dry rub? We prefer a dry rub, as there is less mess. If you want the rub to stick better to a dryer meat, just use any good ol' inexpensive table mustard, slathered liberally on the meat, then sprinkle plenty of dry rub all over the meat. The mustard does not impart a flavor (as it cooks out) and leaves a nice, tasty coating.

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Dry Rub Recipe Secrets


  1. You want fresh spices and herbs. Buy the freshest, best quality spices you can find. There is a huge difference between the old, been-in-the-cupboard-way-to-long, "buck-a-bottle" spices, and the better, fresh stuff (one important difference between a "tenderfoot", and top competitors).

    For example, and for award winning results, we like to use fresh 
    ground, dry chili pods vs. "chili powder" for many of our special recipes, however, fresh chili powder works very well.

    You can review our "6 Secrets for Smoking Meat" in detail at our "The 6 Secrets" page.


  2. You want to grind your own spices? Why not? You can't get any fresher, and hey, it's your reputation! Use a high quality, inexpensive electric spice/coffee grinder like the Krups model, for faster preparation. Chefs often prefer a mortar and pestle for small batch recipes.

    We like our favorite indestructible Stone (Granite) Mortar and Pestle for superior grinding or crushing control. We often prefer to "coarse" grind spices for large roasts that will be cooked over an extended period (6-12 hours). This helps impart more flavor for the duration.

  3. You can use a proven ratio of ingredients, at first anyway. Dry rub recipes, used by top competitors, often start with two basic ingredients, sugar and salt.

    You then add spices at a ratio known as the 8:3:1:1 rub. It works! Like this:

    • 8 tablespoons light brown sugar tightly packed
    • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder (the no-salt type)
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon thyme (crushed)
    • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

    Regardless of the spices you choose to use, just maintain this ratio for a fool proof recipe! Not all rubs are this ratio, but it takes experience to stray from this method. AS an example, we use little or no sugar in our poultry rub recipes, but that's our taste.

  4. You should use darker sugars like turbinado (sugar-in-the-raw), light muscovado, or high quality brown sugar. Coarse Kosher salt is much preferred for the best dry rub recipes. Both of these ingredients are chef's secrets, and the top BBQ competitor's edge!

  5. A rub should be absorbed for the best results, and this does not mean you need to be rub it into the meat. Rubs are applied liberally to moist, thawed meat (preferably under the skin of fowl) for at least a couple of hours. You have maximum effect if you apply the rub 24 hours before hitting the fire. This allows the rub's ingredients to mix with the meat's natural juices, effectively marinading without the muss!

  6. Wrap the meat in plastic wrap, or your favorite non-reactive container, and put it back into the refrigerator; pull meat out about an hour prior to cooking (room temperature). No sense in wasting fuel!

You can add or subtract spices/herbs to your liking, and if you stay with just the "competitor's ratio" for rubs, you'll always have a winner! For more fun, experiment with adding one or more of the following:

And much, much more!

You will notice a marked difference in your rubs, sauces, etc. if you use the best available no-salt chili powder. And...

You'll probably never go back to everyday black pepper when you experience the remarkable difference of our preferred peppercorn choices.

Sometimes when time is a factor, or we feel just a little lazy, we'll use nothing more than lemon pepper as a rub for our birds. It's great!

And please remember, for great dry rub recipes that will "knock their socks off", use the highest quality, freshest ingredients!

Here are some of our favorites, gleaned from a collection of recipes written on scraps of paper, passed down from goodness knows whom, and years of backyard research.

Great Tried-and-True Rubs:


NOTE: Do not let the simplicity of these dry rubs fool you. They are classic recipes that work wonders, and you can adjust the ingredients (as the "pros" do) to make it "yours".

Easy Dry Rub Recipe For Ribs

Excellent Pork Rub Recipe For All Of Your Barbecue Pork

Easy Chicken Rub Loaded With Flavor

Our Signature Dry Rub Recipes:


Savory Turkey Rub

Bob's Magic Dust for Beef


Brisket Rubs Texas-Style


Bob's Killer Pork Dry Rub


Rick's Dry Rub for Ribs


Tony's Chicken Rub

There are many dry rub recipes, and we love ours, But we are always looking for new, original recipes, from our visitors, to share with our on-line BBQ community.

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Your Favorite Dry Rub Recipes

Click on the links below to see some great dry rub recipes written by other visitors to this page.

Hag's Pork Rub 
What I love about this recipe are the two main flavors that seem to get people's attention. One is the curry and the other is fajita seasoning. These two …

My Secret Rub for Beef Fajitas Not rated yet
I use a simple combination (why complicate things?) of "Lawrys Meat Tenderizer", "McCormick Season All" (now "Mortons Season All") seasoned salt, and "Bolner's …

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