Homemade BBQ Rub

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Homemade BBQ Rub is the perfect rub to apply to so many different meats – for smoking, grilling, and even baking. It has a perfect combination of sweet, salty, and spicy!

For other seasoning blends, try my Homemade Blackened Seasoning, Homemade Taco Seasoning, or the best Mexican Marinade! You should also give my Homemade Barbecue Sauce Recipe a try!

Overhead shot of a bowl of the seasoning rub on a black background.

Homemade Dry Rub Seasoning

My brother gave me a version of this dry rub recipe many years ago. I was going to call it “Dave’s Best Dry Rub Seasoning”, but I decided to leave his name off. 🙂 Actually, he should thank me for putting this on the blog, because now he won’t have to pull out his old paper copy. He can just open my site, and click on it!

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I did make two changes, however:

  • I reduced the amount because it was an extra large recipe.
  • I substituted brown sugar for granulated sugar.

Why this Recipe Works

  1. It’s simple to make. Why buy a bottled rub when you can make this recipe instead? It’s just a matter of combining six simple ingredients together and storing in a mason jar.
  2. Dry Rub adds incredible flavor to grilling and smoking meats. The flavor of this combo is perfect for most grilled and smoked meats. I highly recommend!
  3. You can tailor it to what you like best. If you like a sweeter rub, simple add more brown sugar. If you like more smokiness, add additional smoked paprika. Do you like spicy? Add more cayenne pepper!
  4. Guarantees freshness! When you periodically make a batch of this seasoning, you’ll have enough to use for a few recipes and then will need to make more. That large bottle of store-bought seasoning won’t be sitting in your pantry for five years!
Side view of a black bowl of the best smoker rub, with a tablespoon inside it.

How to make the best Dry Rub Seasoning:

  1. Measure all ingredients.
  2. Combine them in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Transfer them to a mason jar and store with a lid sealed tightly.

You can double or triple this recipe easily by adjusting the serving size in the recipe card below.

A black bowl of the ingredients for the smoker rub, sectioned off by seasoning.

Recipe Tips

  • After using this recipe on your choice of meat, you can easily adjust it if you prefer more salt, spice, or sweet. Just tailor it to what you like best!
  • Add this seasoning to your meat at least an hour before grilling or smoking. We occasionally will add it the night before and let it marinate all night long in the refrigerator.
  • Don’t be alarmed if the smell is a little overwhelming, especially if marinating overnight. It’s FLAVOR and just wait until you taste the finished product. 😀
  • Make sure you replace the rub about every six months for added freshness.
The bowl of dry rub partially mixed together, with a tablespoon.

Recipes using this Dry Rub

As you can see, we use this dry rub often! The following recipes are delicious ones to try it out on!

Recipe FAQs

Is it cheaper to make your own BBQ rub?

It depends on the quality of ingredients. If you use off brand spices, your blend may be cheaper. Some store-bought blends often use extra salt (a cheap ingredient).

What is the best rub for BBQ?

The best rub is the one you like! There are many good ones at barbecue/grilling stores, but try making your own first!

Does BBQ Rub need sugar?

Most rubs include some sort of sugar which helps to balance the acidic and bitter tastes of the other ingredients. Sugar also helps to carmelize the meat adding a nice dark color to the outsides.

What is barbecue rub made of?

All barbecue rubs are different, but often include some combination of sugar, paprika, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and cumin (as well as other ingredients).

Side view of a jar of the best smoker seasoning.

Make my Best Ever Tex-Mex Marinade next!

xoxo ~Sue

A bowl of the best smoker rub divided by ingredient type, on a gray napkin.

Homemade BBQ Rub

Homemade BBQ Rub is the perfect rub to apply to so many different meats – for smoking, grilling, and even baking. It has a perfect combination of sweet, salty, and spicy!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 11 Tablespoons
Calories: 10kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf


  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Mix ingredients together and store in airtight container. 
  • You can easily double or triple this recipe by adjusting the serving size in the recipe card.
  • I've used this on pork ribs, pork butt, chicken, and brisket.


Calories: 10kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 400mg | Potassium: 15mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 147IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!


  1. I just tried the recipe and me and my family love it we will be using it again

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      So good to hear, Sherman!

  2. I’ve used this rub several times now, and it’s always a hit! I always triple the recipe and then just use 1 tablespoon on chipotle, instead of cayenne and it’s never failed to amaze my guests. Give it a try! And thanks Sue Bee for the recipe!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks for letting me know, Patrick!

  3. I was hesitant because I did not think a Rub would make a difference, but it takes the meat to another level! Try it and you will be sold!

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