The Best BBQ Rib Rub Recipes

The starting place of great barbecue ribs is the rub. These rib rub recipes give that authentic barbecue flavor while bringing out the most of the ribs. Some of these are spicy hot, some sweet, and some savory. Read through to find the perfect rub for your ribs.


Watch Now: How to Make Kansas City-Style Dry Rub

  • 01 of 10

    Mustard Rub

    Mustard rub

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    A classic wet mustard rub that really sticks to the meat. You can use different types of mustard in this recipe in order to change the flavor of the rub.

  • 02 of 10

    Kansas City Rib Rub

    Kansas City rub

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    In Kansas City, they know BBQ ribs. This is the barbecue rub recipe for traditional Kansas City-style ribs. Finish these ribs off with a good barbecue sauce and you'll have a fantastic meal.

  • 03 of 10

    Memphis BBQ Rub

    Memphis rub ingredients

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    In Memphis, the rub is the most important ingredient aside from the meat. Often ribs are served with only a rub and without sauce. This means that this barbecue rub has to provide all the flavor to make Memphis-style barbecue. This rub 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. This Memphis rub is particularly good on ribs but can be used on any smoked meats.

  • 04 of 10

    Spare Rib Rub

    Spare rib rub

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    This is a sweet and savory rub works well on pork ribs. You can adjust the heat by changing the amount of cayenne. 

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Memphis-Style Rib Rub

    Memphis rib rub

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    In Memphis, ribs are traditionally served up dry. This doesn't mean that the meat is tough and dried out, there just isn't a barbecue sauce. This traditional Memphis barbecue rub recipe is the base of a great rack of pork ribs and one of my most popular rib rubs. You can adjust the heat by changing the amount of cayenne.

  • 06 of 10

    Porker's Rib Seasoning

    Porker's rib rub

    Sabrina S. Baksh / Regarding BBQ, Inc.

    This rub is perfect for all kinds of pork whether it's ribs or Carolina-style pulled pork. One tip: If you apply your spice rub too early before you start cooking it will cause the pork to develop a ham-like flavor and not in a good way. So apply this rub right before the pork hits the smoker.

  • 07 of 10

    Beef Rib Rub

    Spice rib rub

    Brian Macdonald / Getty Images

    This rub combines the flavors of sweet and heat. You can adjust the heat by using mild or medium chili powder. If you really want to make spice it up, then add an extra tablespoon of cayenne. This is a perfect rub for great BBQ beef ribs.

  • 08 of 10

    Best Odds Rib Rub

    Barbecue rub

    Alison Miksch / Getty Images

    This rub is your "best odds" ​of smoking a great set of ribs. This savory rub will add a lot of flavor without detracting from the natural flavor of the meat.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Chipotle Dry Rub

    Chipotle dry rub

    The Spruce / Claire Cohen

    This spice rub has the great flavor of chipotle peppers. Just make sure that the rub is finely ground before using it and this will add amazing flavors to your ribs.

  • 10 of 10

    Derrick's Hot Rib Rub

    Derrick's hot rib rub

    Sabrina S. Baksh / Regarding BBQ, Inc.

    This is a very basic rub, but it's hot. Try using medium or mild chili powder to tone it down a little.