The Ultimate Dry Rub for Ribs

rib rub on a spoon with jar of rub behind it

SmokedBBQSource is supported by its readers. We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you if you buy through a link on this page. Learn more

A good dry rub can boost your barbecue from average to “the best ribs I’ve ever eaten”. This rub for ribs uses classic barbecue flavors and has the perfect balance of sweet, savory, and heat.

Even though we say it’s for pork it goes just as well on chicken and turkey, but it’s always my go-to for pork ribs.

The best pork rib rub

slab of raw pork ribs with rub

When making a rub for pork ribs, I feel it is best to have a good balance of sweet, savory, and heat. I’ve given you the ratios that work best for me but feel free to tweak the exact amounts to your personal preferences.

While we call this the ultimate rub for pork ribs, it works wonderfully on any pork recipe, including our pork belly burnt ends.

black plate with rib rub ingredients on it
Sweeter rubs always work great with smoked pork ribs

Put all of the ingredients into a bowl and give it a good mix to make sure it’s well combined.

Once combined, transfer to an airtight container such as a shaker or jar.

Tip – Use fresh spices, as old ones will lose some flavor and potency.

How to customize the rub

As I’ve said, the quantities in this rib rub are perfect for me, but might not be for you. Here are a couple of ways you can mix things up:

  • If you want to play around with the spice level, you can increase or decrease the amount of cayenne pepper. If you are making ribs for kids don’t use any, and if you want to fire things up a notch try using 1/2 tsp instead.
  • Instead of smoked paprika use a sweet variety

How to store your dry rub

So long as you store this rub in an airtight container it should last for about a year.

As there are no anti-caking agents you will probably need to break it up with a fork before applying it.

It’s also a good idea to label your jar with the date you made it.

Using this spice rub

If you’re using this rub on ribs you’ll want to apply a nice even coating all over the slab. The best way to do this is by using a rub shaker from a height of around 12 inches, as this allows the rub particles to separate entirely before hitting the meat, giving you an even coating so every mouthful tastes the same.

Check out our recipe for 3-2-1 pork ribs to see how we use this rub to create fall-off-the-bone style ribs.

You can use this rib rub on any of our pork rib recipes, or any pork recipe for that matter. Here are a few you could try it out on:

Check out our other rub recipes

Ultimate Dry Rub for Ribs Recipe

dry rub for ribs

The Ultimate Dry Rub for Ribs

This rub uses classic barbecue flavors and has the perfect balance of sweet, savory and heat for pork ribs.
5 from 169 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment / Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 racks
Calories: 286kcal
Author: Jordan Hanger


  • 8 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp hot cayenne pepper


  • Add all ingredients to a bowl and combine well.
  • Transfer to an airtight container.


Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10506mg | Potassium: 935mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 13967IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 10mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximation only. If you’re worried you could always add a side of kale.

Did you make this recipe?Tag @smokedbbqsource on Instagram so we can admire your work!

Similar Posts