Making Your Own BBQ Rub

Making Your Own BBQ Rub

I love making my own barbecue rub because it allows me to monitor and control exactly what I put in it. I also enjoy making my own rub because it is so easy to alternate depending on taste. For example, if I know my guests really enjoy spicy food, I can add extra pepper and spice to kick it up a level. On the other hand, if I’m grilling for someone who doesn’t enjoy spicy food, I can play up the sweet ingredients for their taste buds to enjoy. Either way, making your own rub is easy and allows you to be very flexible. Below are a few tips to keep in mind when making your own rub, as well as my recipe for the ultimate barbecue rub.

  • Make sure you start with a good sugar base. This can consist of refined sugar, brown sugar, or turbinado sugar. Depending on the taste you are going for, any of these will work well.  
  • Date your spices and rub. If you’re like me, you’ll want to make sure you deliver high quality barbecue, so keeping things fresh is important. Dating the leftover rub ensures that you will not keep it too long. From my experience, anything over six months old should be discarded.
  • Always do a taste test. Before I put my rub on my food, I taste a little. This guarantees there will be no surprises when I taste the first bite of food used with the rub.

My Favorite BBQ Rub Recipe:

  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

For more on creating your own BBQ rub, check out my video here


What are your thoughts? (3)


Michael S

Can you provide some tips in drying out the brown sugar? The first time I made this rub I ended up with some clumps in it. I don't think my brown sugar dried completely.

Overall I liked the taste of the rub. I used it on chicken a couple of times and it tasted good. My wife commented that it had a "little kick" to it. I wonder if I add a little more brown sugar if it would sweeten it up a little.


Kevin Kolman

Turn your oven or grill on to about 170 or so. Put the brown sugar on a cookie sheet and back for 5-10 minutes or until the moisture is pulled out of the brown sugar. If you don’t want to use brown sugar you can always substitute in cane sugar or sugar in the raw (Turbinado sugar). I have used this before in many versions on my bbq rub and love it. Yes the sweetness will counteract the kick your wife was tasting. Another option is coco. This is one of my “secrets” but will only let you know! Hope this helps and if you need anything else you can find us here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin’s Backyard and always Happy Grilling!


Michael S

Hi Kevin,

Thank you for sharing your recipe for your dry rub. I'm anxious to try it. I was able to find all the ingredients for it today at my local Sam's Club except for the granulated onion. All they had was minced onion and onion powder. I think there may be a couple of other places in my area that I can check to find the granulated onion.


Kevin Kolman

You are very welcome for the help. You can supplement onion powder if finding the granulated onion is difficult. Keep me posted and if you need anything else you can find me here or on Facebook and Twitter at Kevin’s Backyard and always Happy Grilling!!


Michael S

I want to start making my own rubs. I used to buy the Weber Kansas City Style BBQ Rub at Sam's Club, but I think they've stop carrying it. I think it's time for me to make my own rubs. What would be a good rub recipe to do that is similar to the Weber Kansas City Style BBQ Rub?


Kevin Kolman

Congrats on embarking on this fun BBQ adventure!! Here is my standard rub that I use for pork ribs, shoulder and chicken.
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Let me know what you think and keep me posted if you have any other questions and always Happy Grilling!!


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