To be the unsung hero of any barbecue, you must master the one step, the one skill many attempt, yet fail: the art of seasoning. Sure, you can throw any slab of meat onto the grill and call it a masterpiece, but why make something good when you can make it legendary? Some say it's all in the marinade or the barbecue sauce, but here in the South where barbecue is king, the best dry rubs rule the world of grilled meats.
Kosher salt and pepper are two common seasonings that seldom disappoint, but hear us out: You work hard, and you need, nay deserve, a steak fit for the king or queen that you are. Kings and queens aren't average, and your meat rubs shouldn't be either.
Whether you're having friends and family over on a Friday night for a barbecue or are just whipping up an easy weeknight dinner, these 15 best dry rubs will do nothing shy of rocking taste buds everywhere.
What is a Dry Rub?
Coarsely ground, a dry rub adds flavor to meats by forming a coating on the food. When it comes to cooking with a dry rub, a dry method (like grilling on the BBQ or broiling) works best. You may see recipes that rely on the bbq sauce to do most of the work for you; while we're fans of a good sauce, the bbq rub is what makes meat special.
You can make batches of these dry rubs ahead of time, too. If you don't use all of the rub at once, store it in an airtight container.
1. Sweet Rub
What could be a better way to top off a list of dry rubs than one that is the best of both worlds: sweet and savory. Memphis style ribs are only a rib rub away with this recipe.
This dry rub recipe combines dark brown sugar with the smoky flavor of cumin and smoked paprika to create a rub sent from the heavens and back to accompany any decadent slab of meat that you desire.
2. Best Ever Steak Rub
I think the title of this recipe says it all: it's simply the best. Whether this is due to a bias of opinion on anyway, shape or form, there's no denying that when you put onion powder and garlic powder together, you'll never disappoint your guests.
This isn't just for steak, this would be delicious on pork ribs, pork chops, and grilled chicken, too. Triple the portions to make a big batch recipe and store in a mason jar so you can tablespoon out as necessary.
3. Café Mocha Rub
When a recipe's main ingredients include cocoa, coffee, and cinnamon, you've already won me (and the rest of the world) over.
Keep in mind that although this recipe is applicable to more than just steaks, the flavoring of it is pretty bold and can easily overpower poultry such as chicken and pork. However, it's an ideal pairing for venison.
4. Montreal Steak Rub
Why spend the money on a tiny jar of Montreal steak mix when you can make it yourself, and in large batches? We can't think of a reason, either. When rosemary is involved in a barbecue dry rub recipe, little can go wrong.
This simple mix, with fresh ground black pepper, is the opposite of time-consuming and is even something the kiddos can get a hand in helping on. What's more to love? Substitute mustard power for mustard seeds in a pinch.
5. Rib Dry Rub
When you hear the name Bobby Flay, there should be no questions asked. No necessary explanation as to why or how this rub will essentially change your life.
And with that, feast your eyes on this smoky dry rub recipe. This would do wonders on chicken recipes and makes a great dry rub for pork, too.
6. Chili Coffee Rubbed Steak
Coffee and dried chipotle peppers? If you can handle the combination, you definitely don't want to pass this bad boy up. The spice blends of heat, sweet, and savory are sure to send your tastebuds on a field trip you'll never forget.
If you don't have chipotle peppers around, use chili powder in its place with a dash of cayenne. This would pair well with elk, beef, or venison especially.
Find the spicy dry rub recipe here.
7. Mexican Dry Rub
Who knew Rev Run was a grillmaster? Not us, that's for sure. But we couldn't be more thrilled that he is with this concoction of epic proportion. Chile powder? Check. Garlic powder? What's a spice mix without it?
With seven simple ingredients you probably already have in your spice cabinet, this barbecue dry rub will come together in no time.
8. Super Dry Rub for Venison
Venison plus a good rub is the barbecue meal of your dreams. If you've never had a venison steak before, here's your in when it comes to trying excellent tested recipes.
Most ingredients are common household herbs with the exception of coriander, but luckily for you, that's what grocery stores are for.
9. Italian Herb Rub
Who doesn't love a little Italian-inspired steak (or chicken) every now and then? Heck, every night is delicious in our book!
This classic blend of Italian herbs pairs perfectly with a buttery topping on your medium rare steak, leaving you drooling for more.
10. Barbecue Spice Rub
We wouldn't be Wide Open Eats if we didn't include a bbq dry rub, and this one is better than any recipe box list you'll find, and it's made of basic spice cupboard ingredients.
Put paprika and chili powder into anything, and you'll win over the hearts of barbecue lovers across the board.
11. Texas Style Dry Rub
Ah, the good ol' state of Texas has done it once again, giving the rest of the country and something to be envious of. This is the greatest dry rub out of the greatest state to have ever existed.
The last part of that may be an exaggeration, but to undermine the spice within this eclectic blend of various peppers and garlic (of course), there's no turning back now.
12. Ultimate Homemade Dry Rub for Pork and Chicken
Smoked paprika and cayenne pepper give this dry rub both smoke and heat. It's great as a chicken rub, and works on any type of pork.
13. Pulled Pork Rub
Pulled pork is the best. It's great on sandwiches, of course, but try it on nachos, tacos, pizza and mac and cheese. Basically, anything you can add meat to is made better by using pulled pork.
14. Big James' Pork Rub
Calling all pitmasters: Grab your pork shoulder or ribs and mix up this rub. It's a little spicy and a little sweet and perfect for a nice long spell in the smoker.
15. All-Purpose Dry Rub Recipe
This all purpose rub really is good for everything. Try it on brisket. Try it on chicken. Try it on squash and corn, too, because veggies on the grill also deserve some excellent spice treatment.
This article was originally published on September 3, 2019.
Enjoy Country Music?
Sign up for daily stories delivered straight to your inbox.