Easy Thai-Style Barbecue Rub

Barbecued sardines on sale at Maeklong market
Barbecued sardines on sale at Maeklong market Tony Burns / Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1/2 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
42 Calories
0g Fat
10g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 42
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1747mg 76%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 9mg 1%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 80mg 2%
*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.)

Looking for a good BBQ rub that's also easy to make and healthy too? Try this Thai Barbecue Rub! Similar to a traditional Texas dry rub, except I find this Asian-inspired BBQ rub to be even better, due to the extra spices and flavors. Turmeric gives the meat a beautiful color, while garlic and cayenne spice things up. Works with all kinds of meat, including fish, chicken, and BBQ ribs. Make up a large batch and store it in a jar on your countertop, and this simple but tasty BBQ rub will keep you going all summer long.


  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons turmeric

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, adjust according to how spicy you want it

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground white pepper, or 1/2 tablespoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl or cup.

  2. Sprinkle over the chicken, fish, ribs, or other meat you intend to barbecue. Press or rub the powder into the flesh. Tip for extra moistness: Drizzle a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil over the meat first, slathering it evenly over the surface. Then, add the barbecue rub, pressing or rubbing it into the flesh or skin.

  3. Barbecue/grill the meat or fish until cooked.

  4. If desired, serve with this simple no-cook Thai sauce spooned over (or used as a dipping sauce). Just stir together:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (or substitute 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce)

  • 2 tablespoons shallots or purple onion, finely minced

  • 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

  • Stir, then taste-test, adding more fish/soy sauce if not salty enough, or more sugar or spice if desired. Enjoy.

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