Best Dry Rub For Ribs

December 24, 2018

This dry rub for ribs will amplify the flavor on any rack of ribs you’re cooking. I’ve packed classic BBQ flavors into my rib rub recipe so you get finger-licking results!

dry rub for ribs

Dry Rub for Ribs

Every rack of ribs needs a good seasoning blend! I’ve been smoking and grilling ribs for years and wanted to create a dry rub for ribs that was versatile enough to use in any rib application. This spice mix is the perfect mix of sweet and savory with some secret ingredients that add punch and pizazz so you can amp up that BBQ flavor, no matter how you’re cooking your ribs. This rib rub is fantastic on its own, you don’t even need sauce!

Rib Rub

Let’s talk about the building blocks of a good rib rub. I think the best rib rubs start with sugar as a base. Pork and sweet were just made to go together. From there, you’ll see recipes with salt and pepper plus a mix of things that are custom to each pitmaster. I like to add in smoked paprika for a boost of wood fired flavor as well as a gorgeous red color that pops. Onion and garlic are classic flavor enhancers. Ground mustard ends up in almost all of my rubs as a punchy, almost acidic note of brightness.

Rib rub

My secret ingredients in my rib rub are the cinnamon and the celery salt. The cinnamon adds this lip-smacking quality that people can’t identify when they are eating it, but it keeps them coming back for more and more. The celery salt is the perfect earthy balance to the sweet brown sugar. Balance is crucial in a good dry rub for ribs!

Store your rib rub in air tight glass containers (I buy ones like these online) and they will last at least a month. You may need to shake or mix to break up and brown sugar clumps. These jars of seasoning make a fantastic gift! See the rest of my home-smoked gift ideas HERE!

Rib Rub Recipe

5 from 10 votes
best dry rub for rubs
Best Dry Rub for Ribs
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
This dry rub for ribs will amplify the flavor on any rack of ribs you're cooking. I've packed classic BBQ flavors into my rib rub recipe so you get finger-licking results!
Course: Seasonings
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Dry Rub for Ribs, Rib Rub
Servings: 6 people
Author: Susie Bulloch (
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Use a fork to crush any clumps of sugar or seasonings. Store in an airtight container for up to a month.

Recipe Video

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40 thoughts on “Best Dry Rub For Ribs

  1. I always rub my ribs with yellow mustard for rub to stick better. Do you do that with this rub or would it be too much? Thanks

  2. Tried this recipie today for supper with friends.
    Smeared yellow mustard on both sides of ribs for
    A base. Rubbed rib rub in. Baked at 230 for two hours.
    Took out of oven and smeared barbecue sauce on ribs.
    Added 1/2-3/4 cups apple juice to the surrounding
    Of the ribs. Wrapped tightly(double foil) and put on
    Gas grill for another hour at 250-300.

  3. Cool trick to this, take 1/4 cup ketchup 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup water then dump the seasoning in and mix well for a kick ass mop.

    It moistens to give it a beautiful glaze and the smoke penetrates very well.

  4. I have tried dozens of rub recipes for smoked ribs. I used this one tonight and it was by far the best! It had an amazing balance between, sweet, savory, and a little heat. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I plan to rub and leave for 24 hours. All I have is a kettle charcoal grill. Was going to smoke for a bit, go to the oven, and then quickly carmelize back on the grill. Any advice on times and/or heat?

  6. I have everything except ground mustard, celery salt (I have celery seed) and cayenne. Do you suggest any substitutions for those items or should I leave them out?

    1. If it were me I would run out and try and get that stuff. If you don’t have time you could leave them out, but the flavor of the rub would suffer a little bit.

  7. Got to say this is one tasty rub!!! Yum yum. I made it as directed and it is delicious but next time I am going to cut back on the black pepper and the cayenne. So good!

  8. I m always in to try new flavor when we re talking about ribs. The rub seem good and I m about to try it out! Any recommandation about the sauce?

    1. My favorite on ribs is my apple jalapeño sauce! There’s a recipe you can search for on the blog for it or you can buy it pre made from

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