Follow this simple, four-step method to create your own signature dry rub.
Step 1: Salts and Sugars
The first thing to consider is the ratio of salt to sugar. A higher ratio of salt works best in rubs for beef, fish, and wild game, while those with more sugar are better suited for pork.
Salt―Refined, fine grained (included in Big Bob’s secret pork shoulder seasoning)
Kosher salt―Additive-free, coarse grained
Sea salt―From evaporated seawater;
usually very fine grained
Seasoned salt―Regular salt combined with flavoring ingredients (e.g., garlic salt, onion salt, celery salt)
White sugar―Highly refined cane or beet sugar; will scorch at hotter temperatures
Brown sugar―White sugar combined with molasses; adds color and flavor to barbecue
Step 2: Pepper
Dry rubs need to be balanced not only in
flavor but also in heat. Add ground pepper to the salt-sugar mix in small increments until your ideal blend of heat and flavor is reached. Adding more pepper is always an option, but you can’t remove it, so go slow.
Cayenne pepper―Also called ground red pepper. This hot powder provides instant, or front-end, heat.
White pepper―With a lighter color and a milder flavor, it provides gentle heat and background warmth.
Black pepper―It has a stronger flavor than white or cayenne. Fine- or course-ground, both work great.
Chile pepper―Not to be confused with chili (with an “i”) powder. Flavors vary from very hot to mild. Smoked chile powders such as ground chipotle are also widely available.
pictured: Pork Butt Dry Rub
Step 3: Transition Spices
Transition spices unite the rub’s sugars, salts, and peppers. These spices are not as dominant as other spices, so they can be added with a heavier hand.
Chili powder―Has a pungent earthy flavor. Use with beef, lamb, pork, and wild game.
Cumin―Aromatic with a nutty, light peppery flavor. Use with beef, poultry, fish, pork, and seafood.
Paprika―Hungarian paprika has a deeper, heartier flavor, while Spanish paprika has a milder flavor. Use with beef, poultry, fish, pork, and seafood.
pictured Potato Salad Dry Rub
Step 4: Signature Flavors
This is the time to stamp your name on your backyard offerings.
Coriander―Use with pork, lamb, poultry and beef.
Dill―Use with chicken and fish.
Garlic powder―Use with pork, beef, lamb, poultry, seafood, and wild game.
Ginger―Use with wild game, fish, seafood, pork, and poultry.
Onion powder―Use with pork, lamb, poultry and beef, seafood, and wild game.
Oregano―Use with lamb, beef, and fish.
Mustard powder―Use with beef, lamb, poultry, pork, and wild game.
Rosemary―Use with fish and poultry.
Thyme―Use with beef, fish, pork, and poultry.
pictured Rib Dry Rub
Grilled Potato Salad
Apricot-Pineapple Sweet Ribs
Championship Pork Butt
The perfect combo of rich smoke and gentle heat give Championship Pork Butt a deep mahogany exterior (or “bark”), while the interior stays moist and juicy. A drip pan filled halfway with a 50/50 mix of water and fruit juice adds even more flavor.