What is now my BBQ rub recipe started out as a recipe I picked up 15+ years ago. I’ve tried to find the source to quote it, but have been unable to figure it out. It’s changed markedly since then with a couple major changes and loads of tweaks over the years.
It’s not the only rubbed I use, but it’s what I use most often. I don’t think there’s one right rub, especially from person to person, but this one is tried and true. I’ve used it on everything from brisket to ribs to chicken and typically will add some to my pit beans.
As you can see from the photo above, I’ve mostly settled on Badia brand spices. They’ve got a great selection, great quality and are, generally, a great value for the money.
Saving Money on Spices
My biggest tip on saving money buying spices is… buy in bulk. If you look at the per ounce cost between a small shaker and a big container, the difference can be drastic
Of course, none of the spices are really secret, because they’re pictured above but a couple that really stand out are…
Flatiron Peppers – I first became aware of these year’s ago when on vacation in Estes Park, Colorado. I’ll get super specific and say that I was at the Country Market of Estes Park. A small grocery store, deli and gas station. One of the owners was giving away samples. We chatted and tried their peppers and have been hooked ever since. Regular red pepper flakes just don’t do it any more. We have and use all their varieties but for my rub I use two Four Pepper Blend and Dark and Smoky. Tip: as each of these shakers gets more and more empty the small powdered peppers at the bottom are much hotter. For the rub, I’m looking for the large chunkier pepper flakes as I don’t want to blow anyone away with heat.
Gebhart’s Chili Powder – I’ve tried a bunch of chili powder for different things and Gebhart’s is just my favorite.
On to the recipe, when I have a link to a specific spice, I’ll include it…
My BBQ Rub Recipe
1/2 Cup Sugar in the Raw
Savory Option: There isn’t a whole lot of sugar in this rub, but there is a little. If you’re looking for a completely savory option, leave out the sugar and the cinnamon. The cinnamon isn’t sweet, but I think it gives a slight impression of sweetness.
After adding most of the 1 and 2 tablespoon additionsAfter adding most of the spicesEverything combinedLike a lot of people I like to re-use spice containers for storing and shaking my rub. I really like the larger Badia containers for doing these as they have much larger holes compared to a lot of the brands. Lids for McCormick and such generally have small holes that are unusable for rub. As you can see Badia’s are nice and large.
In the shaker! Tip: My rub (and probably a lot of rubs) have spices of different sizes. The heavier spices are going to tend to sink to the bottom. Shake the container thoroughly before applying and periodically as you work your way around.
Tip: wrap your rub shaker in food wrap when it comes to applying. This allows you to grab it with meaty/contaminated hands. When prep is done, discard the food wrap and whammo!
Some St Louis cut ribs trimmed, membrane removed and ready for rub application. I use a Rubbermaid Commercial Products FG334900GRAY Standard Bus/Utility Box – Hands on Review – for this. It’s food grade, large enough to hold a lot of meat. Applying rub in this, saves rub and saves cleanup time and hassle.
Rub applied. Tip: I use NItrile gloves when applying rub. Not only can I discard those when done to help prevent cross contamination, they protect my hands from spices. I love delicious smelling hands and all, but that can get to be a bit much. Also, I wear contacts. Even after multiple hand washings I would be able to tell you that this rub has a little bit of spice in it… when it comes time to take contacts out
End result, look at that beautiful mahogany color
Longer term storage of rubs and spices
I’ve found that spices store pretty well in the containers that they come in. But, if you’re making larger batches of rub or storing for longer periods of time, you may want to add some extra freshness protection.
Putting food wrap directly on the bottle and then replacing the cap gives a better, more oxygen resistant seal.
Vacuum sealing + storing in the freezer is probably the best way to store larger amounts of spices for a longer time.
The video below shows me sealing some of my rub using an Inkbird Vacuum Sealer
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