With summer right around the corner, barbeques and cookouts are fast approaching as well. This calls for you to be prepared with a solid arsenal of quality BBQ rubs to elevate your game to the next level.
In a Hurry? Here are Our Top Choices
A good quality rub should really compliment the protein or veggie you are barbequing. Some of the rubs have a very traditional Texas-style flavor profile while other rubs offer more unique and unconventional flavors.
The 10 Best BBQ Rubs
There are literally hundreds of rubs to choose from and it can be confusing to know which one is right for your next cookout. Listed below are our top 10 BBQ rubs.
Killer Hogs – The BBQ Rub
This is one of the best BBQ dry rubs sold online and in stores today. Conceived by the great Malcolm Reed and his pit team, this rub offers a dynamic fusion of sugar, salt, spice, and heat. These elements come together beautifully to make this amazing rub. This versatile rub can be used on a wide range of protein; it’s especially great for making a mean pulled pork.
The team behind Killer Hogs has spent countless years in perfecting this BBQ rub so it really makes the flavor of the meat pop. It is a great crowd-pleaser and the taste is something that is meant for everyone’s palette offering a deep level of consistency.
Main ingredients: Garlic powder, brown sugar, chilies, salt, and paprika.
The company also offers sauces and other rubs as part of their BBQ range. Their rubs come in a 12-ounce packaging and even a 5-pound one!
BBQ Bros Rubs (Western-Style)
If you are looking for multiple flavor profiles in a single cookout or just want to combine a play on rub then you should look no further. BBQ Bros Rubs offers a smokey flavor profile combined with the traditional BBQ taste we all love. The BBQ Bros Rubs come in a set of three: a Texas-style rub, Kansas style-rub, and a California-style rub. Each rub offers a distinct flavor and will go with a wide range of protein.
Texas-style rub: Salt, red pepper, paprika, garlic, and brown sugar.
Kansas-style rub: Brown sugar, onion spice, red pepper, and paprika.
California-style rub: Spices, paprika, salt, and garlic.
This rub is great for people who are starting out their barbeque journey and want to stay within traditional flavor profiles and not experiment.
Plowboys Yardbird Rub
The Plowboys Yardbird rub was conceived after the team behind the product nabbed the first place in the 2009 American Royal BBQ competition. It is a rub specifically meant for white protein such as pork and chicken. The rub manages to bring a harmonic balance of sweet and spicy. It’s no wonder that this rub is one of the most widely bought rubs in the market today. Some users have commented that adding too much of it can make the protein too salty; to counter this problem, you can add a bit of brown sugar which will even out the flavor.
Main ingredients: Salt, mustard flour, onion flavoring, paprika, garlic, chili pepper, and sugar.
Bad Byron’s Butt Rub
Offering a traditional smokey flavor profile, Bad Bryon’s Butt Rub falls in the authentic Texas-style BBQ rub category. The product label and name give away what you already guessed. The rub is geared more towards pulled pork and pork butt but goes well with other food items as well. It is great with ribs, chicken, and even seafood.
Main ingredients: Onion, chipotle flavoring, paprika, salt, and pepper.
This rub is great for those with allergies, as it is peanut-free and gluten-free. It is also used by a range of barbeque enthusiasts including professional chefs, backyard cooks, and at BBQ championships.
Seasonest Keep it Hot 5-Pack
People seeking a diverse range of spicy rubs should definitely pick the Seasonest Keep it Hot 5-Pack. Each rub in this bundle offers a distinctive flavor meant for different meats. Each rub here offers that nice punch of heat that spice seekers look for.
The flavors that are included in the 5-Pack are Lemon Fire, Soul Food, Spicy, Adobo, and Jerk. We highly recommend trying Lemon Fire with chicken as it offers an acidic lemony flavor and heat from the cayenne pepper.
Szeged Rib Rub
Being one of the best rubs for ribs out there, Szeged Rib Rub will prove to be a game changer for your rib BBQs. It not only brings out the natural flavor of the rib but also adds a spicy kick to it. The spices used for this rib rub are grown with care in Hungary, adding a unique taste to the rub that sets it apart from most rubs off the shelf. The rub even comes in a distinct tin packaging as opposed to the plastic bottles used for most rubs in the market.
Main ingredients: Salt, spices, sugar, mustard, garlic, and paprika.
The rub is versatile and can be used for various cuts but it’s best for beef or pork.
Rub with Love – Salmon Rub
One of the best meats to have on your smoker (besides a juicy beef steak) is the salmon. And the salmon rub from Rub with Love really does justice to this great protein. In fact, not only is it one of the best rubs for salmon out there, but it goes well with just about any seafood. It also goes well with other white proteins like pork or chicken by adding a sweet smoky flavor.
Main ingredients: Thyme, brown sugar, and smoked paprika.
The same company also rubs for other proteins such as steak rub and a chicken rub which are worthy for a tryout.
Spiceologist Greek Freak BBQ Rub
Sure, the Southern flavor goes well with BBQ but experiencing the same taste repeatedly tends to become boring. The Greek Freak BBQ Rub by Spiceologist is a great way to give your BBQs a different flavor while not compromising on the taste or deliciousness of the meat. This is a great rub for any type of cook and goes especially well with BBQ. Online reviews even mentioned using the rub on chicken wings and pulled pork and it paired up wonderfully. It is very different from conventional BBQ rubs but sometimes a change is what you need and this rub won’t disappoint.
Main ingredient: Kosher salt, ground coriander, brown sugar, ground turmeric, sweet paprika, garlic powder, white pepper, ground cinnamon, ground cinnamon, and cardamom.
Legion of Spice Black n’ Bluesy
Black n’ Bluesy by the Legion of Spice is one of the most unusually unique yet tasteful rubs on this list. It’s a Cajun-style rub with blue cheese flavoring. Not only is it one of the best-tasting rubs on this list, but it is palpable by most people. Neither of these two flavors is over-powering which results in a taste that is truly unforgettable. The rub is versatile and goes well with a range of different proteins.
Main ingredients: Mediterranean sea salt, oregano, blue cheese powder, cumin, Amarillo, smoked Spanish paprika, garlic, thyme, basil, 5 peppercorn mix, and cayenne.
Health-conscious folks will be pleased to know that not only does this rub taste incredible, but it is also one of the healthiest in the market. It has all natural ingredients and no artificial flavorings or preservatives. In addition to this, 10% of the profits will go to a charity that provides food to impoverished people.
McCormick Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple
This rub is recently our go-to seasoning for grilling chicken and pork. It’s cheap, easy, and tastes absolutely delicious on white meat. Smokehouse Maple even works well with fish. The rub has a sweet lighter flavor that goes well with white protein. The rub can be used as a seasoning as well and is not restricted to BBQ only. It is slightly lower on that classic BBQ side but definitely packs a smokey punch. It is made of natural spices and herbs, lacks artificial flavor or colors, and is gluten-free.
Main ingredients: Brown sugar, garlic, orange peel, onion, and maple syrup.
How to Apply BBQ Rub to Your Meat
Now that we’ve listed all the rubs down, it is time to get down and dirty with the messy details. There is actually a lot more to applying a rub than you think.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Select the meat you are going to grill. Most people don’t know that dry rub can be used on any type of protein from chicken, pork, beef, lamb, and even goat meat. If you are using a dry rub for the first time, it is highly advisable to BBQ meat that you are adept at so you can compare the results.
- Pick out the dry rubs from the list above. You can find most of the rubs in any grocery store as they have dedicated aisles for BBQ supplies. Try to use the dry rub meant for the specific meat if you are using it for the first time.
- After getting home, preheat your grill. There is no waiting period required after applying the rub on your meat. You can start grilling right after you have finished applying. If you prefer waiting until later, that is all right as well but you don’t have to wait till the meat has soaked in all the spices.
- Remove your meat from the wrapping and rinse it with cold water. This is the easiest and simplest way to remove contaminants from the surface of your protein. Any unwanted particles leftover from the processing and the packaging are washed away. This step should generally be applied before any meat cooking takes place regardless of whether you are barbequing or not.
- Wipe the meat with paper towels. This is done to remove all the excess water that remains on the surface of the meat from the rinsing. It prepares the meat for the next step which requires it be to be dry.
- Coat your protein with olive oil. Apply generous coatings of olive oil to your protein and make sure it covers the entire surface area of the meat.
- Next is to apply your rub. For this step, one hand should be used to apply the dry rub while the other should be used to generously coat the seasoning onto the meat in a vigorous manner.
- For bigger pieces of meat, you can use your knuckles to rub the seasoning and make sure to coat from both sides. The entire outer area of the meat should be covered with the rub and don’t be worried about using too much rub; the more you use, the greater the flavors will come out.
- Larger pieces and prime ribs can be more difficult to marinate. Curl your hand into a fist shape and use your knuckles to really ground the rub deep into the protein as this method helps the seasoning penetrate deep into the center. Otherwise, only the outer area remains seasoned while the inner portion remains bland.
- The last step is to grill your meat. Once you are done seasoning your meat with the above-mentioned dry rubs, you can now transfer it onto the BBQ grill. Ensure that the cook perfect buy using a thermometer made specifically for checking internal meat temperature. After removing the meat you can let it sit for a bit if necessary, then dig in, and enjoy!
Our Final Thoughts
We absolutely love all of the BBQ rubs we’ve mentioned. They all bring different tastes and all deliver mouth-watering flavor. Try one or try them all. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.