Here's the only dry rub recipe you will need. It works for grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken, ribs, shrimp, and a lot more. Swapping messages this weekend with friends, I promised to publish it. For everyone who loves to grill, here you go! My all purpose dry rub recipe. Try it for your next grilling adventure.
I developed my dry rub recipe more than a decade ago and never shared it until now. It's my go-to, all purpose dry rub for chicken, ribs, pork tenderloin, and seafood. It really is all purpose! Sprinkle and rub generously onto whatever is going on the grill.
When you make it homemade, you control exactly what's in it, especially salt and sugar.
What's a Dry Rub?
Dry rub's are blends of spices, herbs, and sugar used to flavor foods. No liquids, no oil. Use them to rub on raw proteins, such as chicken, turkey, pork, seafood, and beef. Use them as a finishing seasoning for vegetables, potatoes, and flavoring vinaigrettes and dressings. They are multi-purpose and versatile.
Here are the spices you need to make this homemade dry rub. Find them at most grocery stores and online from spice purveyors like this one. Add them to a jar and shake well.
- Smoked paprika
- Granulated garlic
- Brown sugar
- Ground cumin
- Ground coriander
- Ancho chili powder
- Black pepper
- Chipotle pepper
If you don't have them all, I list swaps so you can make to still make the rub. The jar above is measured out but not yet shaken to combine. Kind of looks like sand art.
Why I Use Rubs
Simply put, for the flavor, and with homemade I control the ingredients.
Whether it's a gas grill or a wood-fired pellet grill (I've had both). I used a gas grill for decades but really wanted a smoker too. We love smoky flavors but didn't have the place for one at our old house.
With the completion of our backyard and outdoor kitchen, my new pellet grill is fired up and tempting the neighbors with what I'm doing for dinner.
How to Use a Rub
Here are examples of what I do. For ribs, I rub the ribs both top and under sides with a generous amount of dry rub. I start the night before to allow the flavors to develop (but you don't have to).
For my rotisserie chicken, I smear the bird with a little mayo (I know it sounds crazy but it works for pellet grilling) then coat it well with the rub.
For a gas grill, I use olive oil, then then the rub. Not a lot, just enough so the rub sticks. Same thing for shrimp kabobs or pork tenderloin.
Spices and Swaps
The smoked spices nicely support the gentle smoky flavor you get from pellet grilling and lend a lightly smoky flavor to foods cooked on a gas grill.
- Ground chipotle pepper is ground smoked jalapeno pepper, adds more of that smoky flavor
- Granulated garlic is coarse, garlic powder is very fine. To substitute garlic powder for granulated use ½ or ¾ as much
- Swap a little cayenne pepper for the heat of chipotle
- Use ground black pepper for the smoked pepper
- Switch coconut sugar or golden monk fruit blend for the brown sugar
Salt or No Salt
Originally I put sea salt in the mix but now I leave it out. Some people are salt-sensitive, so that keeps it salt-free. Some people prefer to salt their meat, then add a dry rub, which is what I do. If you want to add salt to the blend, use 1 tablespoon of pink sea salt.
Last note - another way to use this dry rub is on whole roasted or . In fact I'm doing one tonight!
This dry rub recipe is salt free, so either add salt (1-2 tablespoons) or make a note on the jar to add salt to your protein. I like to salt the protein first, then add the rub. It's more controllable. And my dry rub recipe is low sugar. Some store brands are all salt and a lot of sugar, if you read the labels.
My Dry Rub Grilled Chicken
Here is the chicken I did at friends house recently. They installed the same pellet grill we did and wanted to use it for a barbecue party. I offered an extra hand preparing food and made my pellet grill chicken with my all purpose dry rub on their grill. Not a bite left! Super moist and tender with terrific flavor. You can do this on a gas grill too.
All Purpose Dry Rub
- 4 ½ tablespoons smoked paprika
- 3 tablespoons granulated garlic
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar or golden monk fruit blend
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon pure ancho chili powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked black pepper or regular ground black pepper
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
- Measure all ingredients into a jar with a tight lid and shake hard until well combined. Label and date when you made it and store in a cool dark pantry or cabinet. Will last 4-6 months.
- Like it spicier? Add more chipotle powder, cayenne pepper, or some sharp (hot) paprika.
- If you use garlic powder instead of granulated garlic, start with half the amount as it is finer.
- For stronger smoky flavor use all smoked paprika
- If you prefer to add salt to the blend (instead of salting your protein), add 1 tablespoon of sea salt (such as Real Salt).