Our take on the best Dry Rub for Ribs is a balance of sweet and savory. A mix of brown sugar, kosher salt and savory spices makes this pork rub perfect for low and slow cooking.
When we make a pork rub we focus on the flavors and the ingredients that will enhance a long, low and slow cook. And we like the flavors to balance out between sweet, salt, and savory. That means we are sugar forward in the ingredients so it slowly caramelizes over a long cook and is balanced out by savory components.
It’s also easy to make this dry rub for ribs in bulk and use on barbecued pork ribs, pork shoulder, pork loin and any number of pork meats we like to smoke.
If we plan to grill pork over high heat, we tend to go with more of our savory style rub like our chicken seasoning. This is because it has no sugar, and when cooking over high heat sugar can burn quickly. So with high heat we tend to go low-to-no sugar. That is not a concern when cooking over a low heat (like we do for ribs).
Pork Rub Ingredients
We use dark brown sugar as a base for the slightly molasses flavor and the size of the sugar crystals. Kosher salt is the preferred salt for the flavor. Purchase coarse black pepper in bulk versus trying to use a grinder by hand (it’s just easier that way).
From there it’s a mix of dry spices. After a year from being opened, dried spices and herbs start to loose their potency, so this is a great way to use them up.
How to Make a Dry Rub for Ribs
- For this pork rub intended for ribs we use our standard low and slow ratio of one cup of sugar to 1 cup of all the other ingredients.
- Simply add all the dry rub ingredients into a bowl and mix. Be sure it’s incorporated as the brown sugar is likely retaining some moisture and can clump.
- After incorporating the ingredients use a funnel to get the dry rub into mason jar and enjoy!
- Want more heat? Use more cayenne to spice it up.
- Adjust the flavor as you see fit.
Applying to Ribs
When applying dry rub to ribs for low and slow smoking, we start with a coating of Dijon mustard. This is going to help the dry rub adhere to the ribs. If you don’t like Dijon, you can use yellow mustard or even olive oil instead.
After the coating of Dijon, we coat both sides with the dry rub, about 2 tablespoons of pork rub per rack of ribs (one tablespoon per side). Let the ribs sit with the dry rub for about 15 minutes before placing the ribs onto the smoker. You’ll notice the dry rub begins to set and liquify a bit.
Make this and store in a mason jar with the lid on tightly. This batch makes 2 cups of dry rub, so we place in a 16-oz wide mouth mason jar. You can also use smaller jars and give them away as gifts. Store a cool dark cupboard it lasts for months. If it starts to harden, simply take a fork, and mix it up or shake the jar.
Other rubs to consider:
Dry Rub for Ribs Recipe
More Smoked Pork Ribs Recipes
- Smoked Spare Ribs with Spicy Vinegar Mop
- Guide to Baby Back Ribs
- 3-2-1 Ribs
- Smoked Pork Ribs with Asian Spice Rub
- Sugar Free Smoked Pork Ribs
- Sweet and Savory Honey Dijon Glazed Ribs
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