Dry Rub Spice Mix

Closeup on a rich colorful spice rub
Kelly Cline / Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
65 Calories
1g Fat
15g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 65
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1753mg 76%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Protein 1g
Calcium 49mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A spice rub is an easy way to add flavor to meat, chicken, and fish, and creates a wonderful crust after the food is barbecued, smoked, roasted, grilled, or broiled. There are plenty to choose from in the grocery store spice aisle, but making your own dry rub means you control the flavors and eliminate any preservatives and extra salt. In this recipe, the combination of brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, thyme, garlic powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper brings a little sweetness as well as earthy spice to whatever you choose to cook.

This recipe comes together in minutes, and is an excellent dry rub to keep on hand; having a jar at the ready will shorten your preparation time when barbecuing. You will need roughly 1/4 cup of the dry rub spice mix to cover a four- to ​six-pound whole chicken, so this recipe will last for about four uses.

You can use this rub on a variety of foods, such as brisket, chicken, and pork roast, as well as steaks, ribs, and even whole fish. Because of the sugar, it is best to use when cooking low and slow as the sugar may burn when placed over high heat (but if you are grilling, just keep a close eye on it). If you are tempted to eliminate the brown sugar, keep in mind that it acts as a glue, helping the other spices to adhere to the food.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons paprika (sweet Hungarian)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (roasted is preferred)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, thyme, salt, garlic powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper until well-mixed, breaking up any clumps.

  3. Use immediately and store any leftover dry rub spice mix in a cool, dark place in an airtight container. It will keep for about six months.

  4. Enjoy.

When Should I Apply the Dry Rub?

The great thing about a dry rub is it does not need to be applied way ahead of time; you can coat the meat with the spice mix 15 minutes to two hours before cooking. Shake or spoon the rub over the meat; whatever sticks is all you need.

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