This flavorful BBQ dry rub recipe is best and only backyard seasoning you’ll ever need!
If you’ve ever enjoyed true Memphis barbecue at world famous joints like Paynes, Cozy Corner, Rendezvous, or the Bar-B-Q Shop then you know that the “go-to” dish is Memphis dry rub ribs. Unlike BBQ ribs in other parts of the country that are slathered in sauce, Memphis pitmasters dress ribs with nothing more than a flavorful spice blend that lets the perfectly smoked meat shine through. Or as the rack of ribs once said to Elvis Presley: Rub Me Tender, Rub Me True! (click here to share this pearl of wisdom!).
But while there are scores of commercial BBQ rubs on the market, this Memphis dust bbq dry rub recipe is the only Memphis rib rub for smoking that you’ll ever need! The best part about this Memphis rub is the fact that it’s not only extremely easy to make but you can add or subtract ingredients in order to suit your own taste. In Memphis they season the meat with the BBQ seasoning before smoking then apply a second light coating just before serving.
So why do barbecue rubs make smoked meats so flavorful? There is a reaction between the rub and the surface that helps form a nice crust, called bark. This great all purpose pork rub recipe is carefully formulated to add flavor, color, and a proper crust to the meat after it is done cooking low-and-slow. It’s so good that several competition teams use it.
And when you are asked “What’s your secret?”, you can answer as the pros do, by saying “It’s my rub, man.” Of course if you like your pork “wet” (with sauce), seasoning the meat well with the BBQ dry rub before cooking then lightly brushing with sauce during the last few minutes of the smoking process is the way to get it done.
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).
Some put a rub right on the meat and then massage it in. Others lay down a mustard base first to act like glue, others make a wet rub by mixing it with water, oil, or booze. I just get the meat wet with water by wetting my hands and patting the meat and then I sprinkle the BBQ dry rub seasoning on top.
Reading my article on the Science of Rubs is great background for this recipe
Makes:About 2 1/2 cups/591.5 ml
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
- Mix. Grind the rosemary leaves into a powder. Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. If the sugar is lumpy, crumble the lumps by hand or on the side of the bowl with a fork. If you store the rub in a tight jar, you can keep it for months. If it clumps just chop it up, or if you wish, spread it on a baking sheet and put it in a 225°F (107.2°C) oven for 15 minutes to drive off moisture. No hotter or the sugar can burn.
- How to use it. Since our rub recipes contain no salt (we explain why in the headnote above), we recommend you sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon of Morton Coarse Kosher Salt per pound (453.6 g) of meat up to 12 hours in advance. For most meats, dampen the surface of the meat with water and sprinkle enough Meathead's Memphis Dust on to coat, but not so much you can't see the meat below. Apply the rub thick enough to make a crunchy crust. Keep your powder dry as the old expression goes. To prevent cross-contamination, one hand sprinkles on the rub and the other hand does the rubbing. Don't put the hand that is rubbing into the powder or use it to hold the bottle.
- For A Whole Hog. If you are doing whole hog on a cinderblock pit over direct heat, you don't want to risk the sugar burning, so omit the sugars.