Master the Art of BBQ with Southern Dry Rub Recipe

Well, howdy y’all! It’s me, your southern-style chef extraordinaire, and I’m here to share with you my all-time favorite recipe for a dry rub that’ll knock your socks off. Now, there are certain things that are just quintessentially southern – sweet tea on a hot summer day, catching lightning bugs in a mason jar, and of course, barbecue. There’s nothing quite like the taste of juicy, tender meat that’s been cooked low and slow over smoky wood chips, and let me tell you, the key to perfecting this heavenly cuisine is all in the rub.

Now, I’ve tried my hand at countless dry rubs over the years – some too salty, some too spicy, and others just downright unpleasant. But let me tell you: this right here is the best of the best. It’s got all the classic southern flavors you know and love – salt and pepper (because no good cook uses just one or the other), hints of sweet brown sugar and caramelized onion powder, a touch of spiciness from chili powder and cayenne pepper…and that’s just scratching the surface. Trust me when I say that this simple yet flavorful blend is going to take your BBQ game to a whole new level.

So whether you’re cooking up some chicken wings for the big game, smoking racks of spare ribs to perfection for a Sunday family feast, or going all-out on a beef brisket for a special occasion, this dry rub recipe is going to be your secret weapon. So grab your apron and your biggest mixing bowl – it’s time to get cookin’!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Best of the Best Southern Dry Rub for BBQ
Best of the Best Southern Dry Rub for BBQ

Folks, let me tell you why you’ll love this Southern-style dry rub BBQ recipe. First off, who doesn’t love the smoky flavor of barbecue? And what’s better than a good dry rub to add depth and complexity to your favorite meats? This recipe takes all of the best ingredients – peppercorn, salt, chili powder, cumin seed, sweet paprika, garlic powder and more – and blends them together into one sensational dry rub.

Now some folks may be thinking this recipe is only for the seasoned pit masters or those grilling aficionados among us. But I promise you, even those new to the grilling game can handle this recipe with ease. The key is getting the right blend of spices and sugar, mixed in just the right proportions. Trust me when I say, once you’ve tried this rub, you’ll never grill without it again.

This recipe is perfect for all sorts of cuts of meat – from pork ribs to brisket to beef steaks – making it a versatile go-to for any grill master. Plus, it’s so easy to customize. Not a fan of spicy food? Simply reduce the amount of cayenne pepper in your mix. Prefer your rub on the sweeter side? Up the light brown sugar a bit.

And did I mention how cost-effective homemade dry rubs can be compared to store-bought varieties? You save money while also getting to control the quality and quantity of ingredients that go into your dishes. Trust me, once you’ve tried this southern-style dry rub BBQ recipe, you’ll be hooked. So what are you waiting for? Let’s fire up that grill and get cookin’!

Ingredient List

 The perfect balance of sweet and smoky
The perfect balance of sweet and smoky

Let’s gather everything we need to create the Best of the Best Southern Dry Rub for BBQ Recipe. This recipe calls for several spices and seasonings that you might already have in your pantry. Take a look at the list below, double-check your supplies, and make sure you’ve got everything ready before starting.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 4 cups paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground mace

This rib rub includes brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, ground mace, pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and additional spices that make it perfect for pork ribs or chicken wings. The combination of ingredients yields a unique blend of flavors that will enhance meat’s natural taste while producing pronounced smoky and earthy notes.

The Recipe How-To

 Add a touch of the south to your BBQ
Add a touch of the south to your BBQ

Now, let’s get to the juicy part: the recipe! This Southern Dry Rub for BBQ is perfect for pork, chicken or beef brisket. It’s a classic southern barbecue dry rub recipe that will give your meat the most wonderful flavor!


  • 1 cup paprika
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well until everything is well combined.
  2. Rub the dry rub all over the meat using your hands to ensure that it’s completely covered.
  3. Cover the seasoned meat with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.
  4. When ready to cook, remove meat from the refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  5. Grill or smoke as desired.


  • Use coarse kosher salt instead of table salt for a better flavor.
  • Feel free to adjust the amount of cayenne pepper based on your personal preference – this rub can be spicy!
  • For spare ribs, pork ribs, or back ribs, use about 2 tbsp of rub per pound of meat.
  • For pork shoulder or beef brisket, use about 3 tablespoons of rub per pound of meat.

Just remember – this Southern-style dry rub is all you need to create that authentic southern barbecue experience on any kind of barbecued meat.

Substitutions and Variations

 A dry rub that packs a punch
A dry rub that packs a punch

Now, let’s talk about substitutions and variations. There are countless ways to customize this southern-style BBQ dry rub recipe to suit your taste buds. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

– Spice level: If you like your BBQ with an extra kick of heat, add more cayenne pepper to the mix. On the other hand, if you prefer a milder taste, dial back on the cayenne and black pepper.

– Smoky flavor: For an even smokier flavor profile, replace some of the sweet paprika with smoked paprika. This will give your meat a deep, complex smokiness that’s sure to impress.

– Sweetness: this southern-style dry rub recipe already has ample sweetness thanks to brown sugar – but for those who want their meat candy-like sweet, a good substitution would be using honey instead of brown sugar.

– Brisket-specific rub: Want to make a rub for specifically smoking beef brisket? In that case, we recommend using equal parts salt and chili powder (1/4 cup each) plus 2 tbsp of onion powder and 1 tbsp garlic powder.

– Poultry specific rub: For chicken wings or any other cut of skin-on chicken, loosen the salt by half its measurement replacing it with paprika for colour and aromatic benefits.

– Steak seasoning: This dry rub can also be used as a steak seasoning if you add some dried herbs like thyme, rosemary and oregano. It brings Southern-bell flavors in every bite of your steak just by rubbing it to marinate.

Remember – these are just suggestions! Don’t be afraid to experiment until you find your perfect blend of spices. And once you’ve found it, feel free to dial up or tone down any ingredient accordingly.

In the end, the most important thing is making this recipe truly yours because when it comes down to it when serving barbecue ribs or spare ribs, that great Southern style dry rub should be your signature blend.

Serving and Pairing

 The secret to finger-licking good BBQ
The secret to finger-licking good BBQ

Now, it’s time to get your dry rub BBQ goodness on the table and serve up some savory southern-style flavors. This recipe is versatile enough to complement a variety of meats, such as wings, ribs, brisket, beef brisket, spare ribs, pork ribs, and even pork shoulder—oh my! The possibilities are endless!

When I’m serving beef brisket or steak, I like to sprinkle a bit of this dry rub on top for an extra punch of flavor. For spare ribs or pork chops, I generously apply the rub over the entire surface before grilling them low and slow. The result is falling-off-the-bone meat that’s packed with delicious southern flavor. You can also use this rub as a seasoning when cooking side dishes like roasted potatoes or cornbread.

As far as pairing goes, you can’t go wrong with a classic cold beer like an IPA or a lager to wash down all that spice. And don’t forget the fixins—mac n’ cheese, beans with bacon, corn on the cob—the more traditional southern sides that will make your mouth water.

So break out the picnic tables and fire up the grill; it’s time to enjoy some good ole southern barbecue with friends and family. With this versatile dry rub recipe in your back pocket, you’re well on your way to becoming the ultimate pitmaster.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A blend of southern spices in every bite
A blend of southern spices in every bite

Now, I don’t know about y’all, but sometimes I like to get ahead of the game and prep my meats in advance. With this Southern-style dry rub recipe, you can absolutely prepare your meats a day or two before grilling day. Simply apply the dry rub onto your meat and store it in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to throw it on the grill.

If you’ve got leftover meats, no worries! You can easily store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, simply microwave for a couple of minutes or warm them up in the oven at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes.

Now, when it comes to the dry rub itself, you can absolutely make this recipe ahead of time and store it for future use. Just mix all the ingredients well and store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months. Be sure to give the mixture a good shake before using it again as some of the ingredients may settle at the bottom of the container.

Trust me, having this dry rub on hand means less hassle and more deliciousness on your barbecue days!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Elevate your BBQ game with this dry rub
Elevate your BBQ game with this dry rub

When it comes to making the best Southern-style dry rub for BBQ, getting the perfect blend of flavors can take some fine-tuning. To help you achieve that mouth-watering taste that you’re after, I’ve compiled a list of tips that are guaranteed to bring out the best in this recipe.

The first tip is to use freshly ground spices whenever possible. Peppercorn and cumin seed are two key ingredients in this rub, and grinding them yourself will release their full flavor potential. Alternatively, you can use pre-ground spices, but make sure they are still within their shelf life for the optimum taste.

Next, it’s essential to follow the ingredient measurements closely for consistency each time. It’s not worth guessing on how much of each ingredient to use. Using too much or too little seasoning can result in an unbalanced flavor profile.

When applying the dry rub to your meat, be sure to coat it evenly and generously. The rub should create a nice crust on the meat as it cooks on the grill. Before applying the rub make sure that the meat is dry by patting it with a paper towel; do not use water because it will dilute the flavours of your rub.

Additionally, If you have time, consider marinating your pork or chicken overnight before applying the dry rub. This extra time allows for more flavour absorption and tenderizes meat for its perfect texture.

It’s important also to remember that different cuts of meat require different cooking times and temperatures. Spare ribs will need longer cooking compared to back ribs while pork shoulder will take longer than chicken wings. So, adjust the cooking temperature and timing according to what cut of meat you are using.

Lastly, be patient during cooking and avoid rushing through any steps. Cooking low and slow is key here – 6-8 hours for bigger cuts like brisket, 2-3 hours for pork or beef ribs while chicken only takes roughly between 1-2 hours. By avoiding the temptation to speed the cooking process, you will achieve mouth-watering flavored meat with a tantalizing crust that’s guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.

By following these tips, I’m sure you’ll get a perfect Southern-style dry rub for that next barbecue party with friends and family.


Now that you have all the details about my Best of the Best Southern Dry Rub recipe, it’s time for some frequently asked questions. These inquiries include how to make substitutions and variations to suit your taste, what dishes it’s best to pair with, and how to store and reheat it properly. So, let’s dive into these FAQs and get all your uncertainties gutted!

How long do you leave dry rub on before grilling?

If you’re making a roast or steak, let the mixture of salt and spices in the dry rub sit for at least 30 minutes, if not 1½ hours, so that the meat can fully absorb the flavors. A useful tip for taking your roasts and steaks to the next level is to use the dry rub to make a compound butter. It’s simple; all you need is a delicious dry rub and a good amount of butter.

What is the best rib rub on the market?

I will be sharing with you some amazing seasoning options to enhance the flavor of your southern-style cuisine. These seasoning packs are highly recommended and will prove to be a game-changer for your recipes. The brand names you should remember are Snake River Farms Crafted Seasoning Pack, Bad Byron’s Butt Rub Barbecue Seasoning, Szeged Rib Rub, Plowboys Yardbird Rub, Lawry’s Perfect Blend Chicken Rub, BBQ Bros Ultimate Seasoning Set, Fords Gourmet Foods Bone Suckin’ All Purpose Rub, and The Salt Lick Dry Rub. Keep reading to find out more about each seasoning’s unique flavor and usage tips.

Bottom Line

Well, y’all. That’s it! My recipe for the Best of the Best Southern Dry Rub for BBQ is now in your hands. I hope you’ll give it a try and impress your friends and family with some finger-licking good meats.

Remember, great Southern-style cuisine is all about using quality ingredients, taking your time and creating flavors that make people say “wow.” This dry rub recipe is no exception. It will allow you to turn simple cuts of meat into mouthwatering dishes that everyone will enjoy.

So, whether you’re planning a big barbecue, a family dinner or just want to indulge in some delicious southern cookin’, this dry rub recipe is sure to please. Give it a try soon, and let me know how it goes.

In closing, let me say that I’m thrilled to share my love of Southern cooking with you. It’s a cuisine filled with heart and soul and flavors that will take you on a journey through the American South. So, grab your apron, fire up the grill and let’s get cookin’. After all, there’s nothing quite like the taste of real Southern barbecue.

Best of the Best Southern Dry Rub for BBQ

Best of the Best Southern Dry Rub for BBQ Recipe

This recipe comes from the 'Best of the Best 2008 Cooks Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen' cookbook, adapted from the 'Joy of Cooking'. Southern barbecue chefs rub spice mixtures like this one into pork or beef before it starts the long slow cooking process that will transform it into barbecue.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine Southern US
Servings 2 cups
Calories 300.8 kcal


  • 1/4 cup cumin seed
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup cracked peppercorn


  • Spread cumin seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat and toast, shaking pan often to prevent burning until fragrant, 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature, and grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, blender, or mortar & pestle.
  • Transfer to small bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Stir together well. This rub will stay potent, covered and kept in a cool dry place for up to 6 weeks.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 287gCalories: 300.8kcalCarbohydrates: 59.8gProtein: 8.9gFat: 10.2gSaturated Fat: 1.5gSodium: 14347.4mgFiber: 18.8gSugar: 31.3g
Keyword < 15 Mins
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