Barbecue Spice Rub

Be sure to keep this on hand for seasoning everything from chicken to steaks. It even makes a great coating for potato chips. When applied to meats, fish, or chicken the night before, the salt and sugar content draws out moisture while infusing flavors, curing the food.–Douglas Rodriguez

LC The Barbecue Cure Note

Oh, this rub cures food all right—in more ways than one. It’s just the thing to keep on hand in your spice cabinet for those desperate dinnertime dilemmas in which it may at first seems as though you’ve got nothing on hand to make…and then you remember you’ve got this in your personal arsenal. It’s mellow warmth and robust flavors work, as the author said, on just about anything. Chicken drumsticks. A side of salmon. Beef ribs. Pork chops. Mild white fish fillets. Chicken breasts. Pork ribs. Burgers. Shrimp. Sirloin steak. Even, as the author mentioned, potato chips when you sprinkle it on just after taking the chips out of the hot oil (or just after pulling store-bought chips from the oven after spreading them on a rimmed baking sheet and warming them at about 350°F for a few minutes). Did we miss anything?

Barbecue Spice Rub Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Makes about 3 1/2 cups


  • 1 cup Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 cup ground ancho chile
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup ground chipotle chile
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated garlic
  • 1/4 cup granulated onion
  • 1/4 cup freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin


  • 1. In a bowl, thoroughly combine the Spanish paprika, ancho chile, salt, chipotle chile, brown sugar, granulated sugar, garlic, onion, black pepper, and onion.
  • 2. Use at once or store in an airtight jar at room temperature for up to 6 months.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

This is a very good basic rub. A nice selection of ingredients yields lots of flavor. I'm not a fan of garlic and onion powder. To me, they have an unnatural or metallic taste, so I don’t use them when cooking, but rubs are the one exception to that rule of mine. They seem to work well in rubs. I used this rub on a piece of flap meat. I was going to leave it on all day, and grill the meat that night, but the meat ended up sitting an extra day with the rub on it. After we grilled the meat to medium-rare, we sliced it and served it with pico de gallo and corn tortillas. It was wonderful. The juices which ran out of the meat seemed to be colored from the rub and had great flavor. This rub is not at all spicy. I may actually add a little cayenne to some of the leftover rub. This would be a nice, basic rub to keep in a jar in your spice cabinet or pantry. It can be rubbed on an endless number of things. Shrimp, pork, chicken, or beef, just to name a few. I think it would be good sprinkled on potatoes that were rubbed with olive oil, before roasting them in the oven. After using a rub once, ideas will just come to you. If you have never made a rub, this is a great place to start.

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