Memphis Rub Recipe

Mouthwatering Memphis Rub

The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
40 Calories
1g Fat
8g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 40
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1255mg 55%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 1mg 4%
Calcium 56mg 4%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 201mg 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.)

In Memphis, the rub is considered the most important ingredient aside from the meat. Often, ribs are served with only a rub and without sauce. This means that the barbecue rub has to provide all the flavor to make Memphis-style barbecue. That makes its quality all the more important.

Doing your own rub isn't hard at all. This one starts with a generous portion of paprika and then builds a slightly spicy but definitely savory profile to help you make the most of your barbecue. Our Memphis rub is particularly good on ribs, but it really can be used on any smoked meats—it's just that versatile and flavorful. You can also use it for ribs prepared on the grill or in the oven.

If you really want to make the best-quality rub, start with completely fresh herbs. Hitting your grocery store or health food store's bulk section is a great place to get what you need for this rub. Typically, bulk herbs and spices are fresher than what you get in the mass-produced, little plastic jars in the baking aisle.


  • 1/2 cup paprika

  • 1/4 cup garlic powder

  • 1/4 cup mild chili powder

  • 3 tablespoons salt

  • 3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons onion powder

  • 2 tablespoons celery seeds

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

  • 1 tablespoon cumin

  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Mouthwatering Memphis Rub ingredients

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  2. In a medium bowl, mix together all of the ingredients—paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, onion powder, celery seeds, brown sugar, oregano, thyme, cumin, dry mustard, coriander, and allspice—until well combined.

    Mix the Mouthwatering Memphis Rub ingredients together

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner

  3. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

    Mouthwatering Memphis Rub in a glass jar

    The Spruce / Nyssa Tanner


  • The rub can be stored for up to six months if kept in a cool, dry place. Be sure to label the jar with the contents and add the date.
  • To use, apply rub evenly over ribs. The general rule of thumb? Whatever amount that sticks is the perfect amount.
  • This rub makes a great gift, too. Feel free to double or triple the recipe if you're planning on gifting it.

Recipe Variation

If you'd like to customize the heat in this recipe, feel free. Rather than mild, use medium or hot chili powder. Or add a little bit of cayenne pepper instead if you can't find hot chili powder but want to increase the heat.

Recipe Tags: