The Best Dry Rub for Ribs
The Best Dry Rub for Ribs

This BBQ Spice Rub is fantastic on ribs, but also great on pork chops, pork loin and pork shoulder! You can even add it to your favorite BBQ sauce for an extra kick.

I grew up in St. Louis where we take our BBQ seriously. While there are countless styles of BBQ, I always have a basic BBQ spice rub for pork and ribs on hand.

I will use it as a base to add layers of flavors and then pour sauce over it. Other times I use it as is (especially on pork chops) for an easy and quick meal.

What’s in this dry rub

This BBQ rub uses up a lot dark brown sugar to give it sweetness and a tiny molasses flavor imparted by the brown sugar. There are also Mustard and cayenne pepper to give it a bit of spiciness and smoked paprika for a touch of smokiness.

Onion and Garlic Powder round off the taste with their aromatic notes and a hint of pimento is the secret ingredient that will have your guests asking, “What’s in that rub?” at the dinner table.

Ways to customize the rub

Like all spice mixes, you can adjust it to your own taste:

  • If you like your BBQ rub less sweet, use less brown sugar (reduce to 1/2 cup) or swap it out for coconut sugar to make it paleo-friendly.
  • Consider adding more pepper or reducing the salt to suit your palate.
  • Omit the allspice or substitute cinnamon or nutmeg to add some earthiness. Omit the cayenne pepper if you don’t like it spicy.
  • Add red chili peppers, Korean chili flakes, or Aleppo peppers for more complex spicy notes.
  • Add cumin or coriander for a little more depth.

Dried kitchen herbs and spices lose their potency and flavor over time, and you definitely want freshly dried herbs and spices for this spice mix.

Most spices will last 2 years if stored properly, although it depends on the herb or spice. The best way to test is to crumble a pinch of the spice or herb with your fingers and then smell it. If the herb or spice smells musty or you can barely smell it, you probably need to replace it.

PRO TIP! Use an airtight glass jar to mix the ingredients and save yourself the cleanup.

How to store Dry Rub

Store this spice rub in an airtight container in the pantry with the remaining herbs and spices, clearly labeled with the date. If you used fresh spices, The initiation should last about a year, allowing the brown sugar to harden somewhat in the meantime. This makes the Rub difficult to use, so you should make a new batch if and when this happens.

How to use this spice mix

This spice rub is great on pork chops, pork loin, pork shoulder/butt and ribs. You can use it alone or in conjunction with your favorite BBQ sauce for extra flavor.


If using on ribs without any other seasonings or ingredients, rub the spice mixture all over the ribs and apply generously until no more rub sticks to the ribs. You can grill right away or let the ribs sit in the fridge for an hour or overnight to let the rub flavor penetrate.

Grill over low heat (200°F to 250°F) like these Memphis Style Ribs, turning the ribs every hour for about 4 hours (though it could take up to 6 or 7 hours depending on the heat of your grill).


Generously rub the spice mixture all over the pork shoulder roast. Get the friction in every crack! Wrap it tightly in butcher paper or plastic wrap and place it back in the fridge overnight for the rub seasoning to add flavor to the roast.

The next day, continue cooking the meat using your desired method. Use a slow cooker to make BBQ pulled pork tacos similar to these Mexican pulled pork tacos, a pressure cooker for these carnitas, or slow grill them to make sure they get some smoke like these BBQ pork shoulder on one gas grill.


Drizzle a little oil over the pork, then sprinkle and rub in as much spice mix as you like. Like the ribs, you can let the chops sit in the fridge for an hour or overnight, or you can cook them right away. Grill or roast as usual.

Just make sure the heat is high, as the sugar in the rub burns easily. Lower heat for both cooking methods is recommended.

You can also cook the pork chops sous vide, but if you do, sprinkle more rub on the chops just before reverse searing. But again, remember to cook the meat on a low heat when reverse searing, as the sugars in the rub will caramelize and burn above 250°F.

Want inspiration for these rubs? Listen!

  • Memphis-style pork ribs would benefit from this rub.
  • Rub pork chops with this mixture and then cook sous vide.
  • Replace the rub used on the pulled pork in these sandwiches with this all-purpose rub.

Three more frictions you should know about

  • The best dry rub for fish and seafood
  • The best dry rub for steaks
  • The best dry rub for chicken

The best dry rub for ribs

preparation time
5 minutes

total time
5 minutes

12 servings

1 1/2 cups


  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (or 1/2 cup if you prefer a heartier rub)

  • 2 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoon onion powder

  • 2 tablespoon smoked paprika

  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard

  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic

  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon pimento


  1. Mix:

    Place all the spices in an airtight glass jar and shake gently to combine.

  2. Save on computer:

    Store in an airtight container for up to a year.

nutritional information (per serving)
58 calories
0g Fat
14g carbohydrates
1g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!