Memphis-style BBQ Dry Rub

Barbecue season is in full swing, and that means that I'm getting a lot of requests for rub recipes. I developed this Memphis-style rub as a pork seasoning, but it really is an all-purpose dry rub.

This rub strikes a great balance between savory and sweet, with just a hint of kick. The blend of spices provides a great well-rounded flavor profile that complements just about anything in the smoker or on the grill, even fish and vegetables.

The combination of sugars creates an outstanding crust without scorching at high temperatures. The pork butt below was cooked at 325-350°. Check out that color!

Memphis-style BBQ Dry Rub

1 cup Sea salt, medium fine (no table salt, please)
1/2 cup Unrefined evaporated cane sugar (no table sugar, please)
1/2 cup Brown sugar, golden/light
2 Tbs Sweet Hungarian paprika
2 Tbs Chili powder, medium heat
2 Tbs Granulated onion (not onion "powder")
2 Tbs Dry mustard
1 Tbs Granulated garlic (not garlic "powder")
2 tsp Dry thyme
2 tsp Dry oregano
2 tsp Black pepper, ground fresh
2 tsp Celery salt
2 tsp Ground ginger
1 tsp Ground coriander
1 tsp Ground cayenne (optional, but recommended)

Combine all of the rub ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well with a whisk or stand mixer.

Store the rub in an airtight container in a cool dark place.

Makes about 3 cups.

Related post: All-Purpose BBQ Seasoning

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Anonymous Steve said...
Dang, that looks really good. I like to play around with all purpose rubs, but usually just use 1 sugar (either brown, cane, or turbinado)and haven't tried combining a couple. I'll have to try that. I also like the thyme, oregano and coriander additions in this. Well done, and as always, great pics! (do you take all your own pics and if so, what's your go-to lens?)
Blogger Unknown said...
Thanks, Steve. I do shoot all of my own pictures. My go-to lens is a 50mm.
Blogger Chris said...
Nice sounding rub, John. Do you do anything to your brown sugar to reduce clumping? (like drying in a low temp oven)

I need to try a high temp series of cooks. So far, I only have the accidental kind, ha ha.
Blogger Unknown said...
Chris - This rub has so little brown sugar that I didn't dry it, and I usually do. I was worried about clumping, but it's not been a problem at all. I think the other ingredients dry the sugar naturally.
Blogger LT72884 said...
Not to sound un-informed but is evaperated cane sugar the same as sugar in the raw(turbinado)? Haha.

I like how you ballance the sugar and salt ratio to a 1:1. Do you do this normally or was this a special case? I think the turbinado and brown sugar mix tastes great together. I used a mix of those two sugars for some home brewed soda and soft mead and it was outstanding. I decided that pumkin puree makes a great add in to apple juice and gingwr ale. Anyway nice selection of spices for the rub. Gonna make me some up and try it out. Im gonna need to search your site for a great salmon or white fish rub. Thanks for the info
Blogger Unknown said...
LT - Yes, evaporated cane sugar and turbinado are generally synonymous. As for the salt/sugar ratio, I do typically shoot for something close to 1:1. My All-Purpose rub has the same ratio.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Nice showing at the comp last weekend. I will take those results anytime. Did you use this rub at the Northwest Ribfest?
Blogger Unknown said...
Thanks, John. I brought a jar of the Memphis rub, but I didn't use it. Instead I used a kicked up and more savory version of my All-Purpose rub on all of my competition meats.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I haven't ever used a rub before and have been meaning to do it. I may just try this out! It sounds like a good combination of flavors.
Blogger Sol Flamberg said...
Nice rub John!! One question though... Did you name it? I am building a brand new business that specializes in Barbecue Dry Rub & Recipes and I am always looking for new rubs and recipes. It would great to get a Dry Rub like this for our site and wondered If you ever got round to producing this or any others commerically I would be first in line to buy your amazing rub. Oh and If you get the chance, could you place a link to our site to help us get started? It's

PS. I'm a long time reader of your blog and it's one of the first BBQ Links that I put up on our new site :
Blogger Unknown said...
Thanks, Sol. None of my rubs are commercial.
Anonymous Anonymous said...
This is the saltiest rub I've ever made, It completely ruined my ribs. I had a feeling this was too much salt, and after looking at other recipes I can see no one else uses a sugar to salt ratio of 1:1. You could only use this a a light seasoning. It is not a rub at all and I'm very disappointed.
Blogger Unknown said...
Anonymous - First, it's ironic that most of my critics just happen to be anonymous, but that's cool. I'm sorry that the rub recipe didn't work for you, but I must say that you're in the distinct minority. May I ask if you used "always tender" (i.e. pre-brined) grocery store ribs? If so, that's the problem.
Blogger Micheal49 said...
Heavens to betsy! That is way, way, way, too much salt. After putting all this together, the wife (from Memphis) and I tried this, and the salt overpowered everything else. Quadrupling the other ingredients almost made this usable.
Blogger Unknown said...
Michael49 - Did you use table salt?
Blogger Micheal49 said...

No we did not use table salt. We followed the ingredients as presented. Let me tell you, finding sweet Hungarian paprika in a small town in Indiana was not the easiest thing in the world!
Just to be clear, I'm not saying it's a bad recipe. It's a really nice recipe, just too salty for our tastes. I would never have thought of including coriander, and for that alone I thank you.
Blogger Unknown said...
Thanks, Michael.

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