Sparerib Dry Rub

Sparerib Dry Rub

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
59 Calories
0g Fat
14g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 59
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 799mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 23mg 2%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 113mg 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.)

This basic sweet-and-savory dry rub works really well on pork ribs and combines three types of peppers—black, white, and red—for a delicious flavor experience. 

A rub, either wet or dry, is meant to be used on meats that will be slowly cooked or barbecued, either indirectly on a grill or in an oven. This is because the sugar in the rub would burn on a high-heat grill (typically used for steaks that are seasoned simply with salt and pepper) before the meat is cooked leaving you with a blackened lump of raw meat. The paprika and cayenne pepper in the rub are what will give the meat the color the sugar caramelization otherwise would create.

Remember to use low-heat cooking methods when using a rub for a perfect outcome every time.  


  • 1 cup dark-brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup paprika

  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon white pepper

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Sparerib Dry Rub ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Combine the dark-brown sugar, paprika, salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl until well mixed.

    dark-brown sugar, paprika, salt, black pepper, white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Apply rub evenly over ribs when ready to use. The general rule is what sticks is the perfect amount. Cook as directed in recipe. Discard any rub that has come into contact with raw meat.

    Sparerib Dry Rub on spareribs

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Store any leftover rub that has not come into contact with raw meat by transferring it to a container with a lid. Store in a cool, dark place for up to six months.

    Sparerib Dry Rub in a jar

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck


  • This recipe will make 2 cups of rub, much more than you will need for a single meal. But, it's great to have on hand for the next time. Store it in a sealed container for up to six months in a cool, dark place (definitely not the refrigerator).

What to Use This Dry Rub On

Even though this rub recipe is billed as a sparerib rub, it really can be used on any meat, poultry, or even fish that is slow cooked.

Ribs cooked on the smoker is a natural application for this rub because smoker cooking calls for low, indirect heat. It also will work on ribs cooked on a charcoal grill using indirect heat, not the high, intense heat you would use for grilling steaks. Oven cooking the ribs is another time when a dry rub is appropriate.