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Big Bad Beef Dry Rub Recipe

BBQ rub being sprinkled on to meat

Take beef ribs, brisket, steak, and other cuts over the top with this easy beef dry rub recipe.

In Texas many barbecue joints use just plain old salt and pepper, called Dalmatian rub. But beef brisket and BBQ beef ribs can handle, and benefit from, a more potent mix. Our beef dry rub recipe creates a rich, flavorful, crunchy crust, called the bark or Mrs. Brown.

Beef rub for brisket, beef ribs, steak, and other cuts is different than pork rub. Pork loves sweetness, but beef does not. The best pork rubs have of more sugar in them, like Meathead’s Memphis Dust. Black pepper, on the other hand, works great when seasoning beef.

You can make this barbecue dry rub recipe days or weeks in advance. It makes more than you need even when used as a brisket dry rub, so you can just put any extra in to a clean jar or zipper bag for use at a later date.

Using the Rub

Since there is no salt in this recipe, (click here to read why our rub recipes do not have salt), salting the meat first is a must. This process is called dry brining. Salt will penetrate deep into meat so you should get it on in advance, perhaps overnight. The rest of the spices and herbs cannot penetrate very deep, so the rub can go on anytime, even just before you start cooking. The general rule of thumb is 1/2 teaspoon Morton Coarse Kosher Salt per pound/453.6 grams of meat (don’t include bone, and ribs are about half bone).

With this beef dry rub recipe, you can apply it in advance (some people like to apply it the night before), but the fact is, most molecules in the rub are too large to penetrate more than a fraction of an inch, just like marinades. And they don’t have the electrical properties that salt has. The rub is mostly a surface treatment for flavor and bark. So you can apply the rub just before cooking if you wish. Moisture and oils will mix with the spices and herbs, heat will work its magic on them, and all will be wonderful. I like to lightly wet the surface with water before the rub because many of the flavors in the rub are water soluble. Spread the rub generously on beef brisket, not so thick on other, thinner cuts.

Also, be aware that the drippings from a salted meat for use in a gravy or jus will probably not need salting, so be sure to taste before you add salt. Remember, you can always add salt, but you can’t take it away.

Big Bad Beef Rub Recipe


BBQ rub in a bowl
Tried this recipe?Tell others what you thought of it and give it a star rating below.
4.69 from 1082 votes
This is the perfect beef dry rub recipe, creating a rich, flavorful, crunchy crust, called the bark or Mrs. Brown on brisket, beef ribs, steak, and more.

Serve with: beef and your favorite local beer.


Course:
Sauces and Condiments
Cuisine:
American

Makes:

About 1/2 cup/75.7 grams
Servings: 96 1/4-teaspoon servings

Takes:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons American chili or ancho powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle or cayenne powder
Notes:
About the black pepper. Lately I've been grinding my black pepper and then sifting it. I use the coarse stuff, and put the fine stuff in a pepper shaker.
About the chile powders. I'm looking for complexity with two different flavors and two different levels of heat. Most American chili powders and ancho powders do not have a lot of heat, but good flavor. In fact, ancho is usually in a lot of American chili powders. Go with ancho if you can find it. It has a nice raisiny character. With chipotle or cayenne I'm after a kiss of heat. Chipotle has better flavor though.
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Prep. Mix the ingredients together in a bowl.
  • If your meat has not been pre-salted, shoot for about 1/2 teaspoon of Morton Coarse Kosher Salt per pound/453.6 grams of meat and apply it heavier on thick spots. When possible, apply the salt the day before, but even an hour or two is enough to get it moving inward, and the AmazingRibs.com science advisor Prof. Greg Blonder has shown that when the meat heats, the salt moves deeper and faster. Click here to read more about this process, called dry-brining.
  • Using the rub. Use this rub on burgers, beef ribs, or on brisket like in this video.
  • Storing the rub. If you are not using it immediately, store the rub in a tightly sealed bottle in a dark place. It will slowly start to decline in quality but should be fine up to a year later. Taste it first.

Nutrition

Calories: 2kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 1mg

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Published On: 8/27/2012 Last Modified: 10/4/2021

  • Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.


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