The key to adding intense flavor to meat is in the rub. A perfectly balanced dry rub does wonders for the flavor, but also seals in the juices and keeps the meat from drying out.
I swear by this bbq rib rub. It’s great on all types of meat, from ribs to wings to pork tenderloin. It adds just the right amount of spice to the meat, without overwhelming the flavor or becoming the star of the show.
We use this dry spice rub on everything, because it’s packed with flavor and adds a perfectly balanced punch of spice to every bite. The spices that go into this rub all work together to create a great flavor profile.
Grilling meat and veggies for a barbecue? Adding this spice rub will give both the veggies and the meat the right amount of flavor, with or without sauce. It’s really all you need to dress up your food.
This rub is extremely versatile. You can put it on just about anything – from baby back ribs to chicken wings, steak, prime rib, or veggies. I mix up a double batch and put it in a spice container to use throughout the month as I cook various dishes.
It adds an extra kick to veggies that would otherwise likely be served with just salt and pepper. Just a little sprinkle of this rub on your veggies will really bring out the flavor and make them irresistible.
I would recommend having a few small mason jars to put the rub in. You can even make gifts of dry rub to give away at Christmas or for birthdays and housewarmings. I’ve done this a few different years for my local friends and family and they loved it.
Print the recipe card and attach it to the jar so they can make it themselves when they run out.
Why Use a Dry Rub
If you’re wondering why you might want to use a dry rub instead of marinade, there are actually quite a few reasons. If you’ve ever seared a piece of meat before, you know that the liquid from the meat has to dry up or evaporate before you can get a good sear.
That means, the wetter the meat, the longer it will take to evaporate. With a dry rub, you’re avoiding adding extra moisture to the surface of the meat, so a nice caramelized sear will form on the meat quicker.
A dry rub also has more concentrated flavor. Sometimes you’re not looking to add more flavor that will mask the taste of the dish, but you can really punch up the flavor of veggies, or add another dimension to ribs.
Preparing the Dry Rub
If you have a robust spice rack, like I do, you’ll probably always have the right spices to mix this up. If you don’t keep a lot of spices at home, the best way to stock up for this rub is to get your spices from a bulk spice counter, like the ones they have at Whole Foods.
You don’t’t have to buy large quantities of each spice in order to make this rub. I often will mix up just one or two servings at a time, so I never have to have a huge quantity of spices sitting around.
The spices you’ll need are (you can find the quantities for each in the recipe at the bottom of this post):
- Brown sugar
- Salt and pepper
- Chili powder
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Mustard powder
Most people don’t have mustard powder in their spice rack. You can leave it out if you don’t have it. It won’t affect the flavor of the rub too much. I do recommend getting it though. It has a lot of uses. I mustard powder in my stovetop mac and cheese recipe too.
Add all of the spices to a bowl and mix them thoroughly. I sometimes put them all in a ziplock bag instead, so it’s easier to mix it all together. Then you can sprinkle the rub onto your meat or veggies without contaminating it with your fingers. And you can keep the leftover rub in the plastic bag until you use it again.
If you’re looking for a recipe to try this with, my favorite use for this dry rub is pork baby back ribs. Try our recipe for baby back ribs using this dry rub. It adds so much extra flavor that you’ll be convinced never to make ribs without it again.
You’ll also want to try our homemade Bourbon BBQ sauce with these baked baby back ribs. I mean, doesn’t that rack of ribs below look tasty?
>> If you’re planning a barbecue, don’t forget the vegans! Here are a few vegan BBQ recipes that your friends will be happy you made.
If you need a large batch of this rub, the recipe is scale-able. You can make as much rub as you need just by adjusting the quantities. If you’re making many racks of ribs for a party, just double or triple the dry rub recipe.
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Homemade Dry Rub
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder you can leave this out if you don’t have it
- Mix all spices together until well combined. Rub onto ribs, chicken, or veggies.
- Double or triple the recipe to have spice left over.
- Leftover spice can be kept for later in an air tight container or ziplock bag.
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Laura is a home cook who loves making new recipes and finding new favorite things to eat, whether at home or abroad. She also runs a popular travel blog and spends a lot of her time traveling for food.