How to Make Barbecue Rub

A good barbecue starts with a good barbecue rub. The ingredients of your spice rub are the ones liable for the flavor surprises of your barbecue. And there are enough ingredients you can choose from and experiment with.  For your barbecue spice rub, there are three sets of ingredients to note.

1. Salt and Sugar

This is where to start with – a good salt and sugar base. Combining correct amounts of salt and sugar will give the taste balance and caramelization to the food. 

The ratio between the amounts of salt and sugar depends on the type of food you are cooking.

 A higher percentage of sugar works best for pork, while a higher ratio of salt suits great with beef and fish.

how to make barbecue rub

The type of salt and sugar to use now depends on your preference.

​For salt, you can choose from a fine-grained refined salt. An additive-free coarse-grained kosher salt. A very fine-grained sea salt that came from evaporated seawater or seasoned salt. A regular salt mixed with flavoring ingredients such as garlic, onion, or celery. The two choices for sugar are white sugar, which is highly refined cane sugar that will scorch at high temperatures. And brown sugar, a cube of white sugar mixed with molasses that add color to the food.

2. Pepper and Herbs

​Of course, pepper adds the heat and completes the blend of taste and warmth to the barbecue. Remember to go slow when adding pepper to the salt and sugar mixture until your desired mix of flavor and heat is achieved. You can use Any pepper for your barbecue rub.

how to make barbecue rub

​First on the list is the cayenne pepper or the ground red pepper that gives a good deal of heat and color to the food. White pepper gives a lighter color, milder flavor, and gentle heat. At the same time, cracked black pepper provides a more robust flavor than cayenne and white pepper. Smoked Chile powders such as the ground chipotle pepper add deep flavor and heat to the spice rub.

3. Added Spices and Flavors

These are the herbs and other spices that match the type of food you are cooking. Here is a list of the best herbs and spices you can use for meat cooked in grills.

  • For pork, you can add chilli powder for an extra spicy flavour, whole Cumin for an added aroma and peppery taste, and either the deeper flavour of Hungarian paprika or the milder flavour Spanish paprika. To achieve signature flavours for pork barbecue, you can also use coriander, garlic, ginger, onion, mustard, and thyme.
  • For beef, you can use almost everything used in pork except for ginger. You can also add oregano.
  • For poultry, you can also use whole Cumin, paprika, coriander, garlic, ginger, onion, mustard, and thyme, just as with pork, but other options include rosemary and dill.
  • You can mix your spice rub with whole Cumin, paprika, dill, garlic, ginger, onion, rosemary, thyme, and oregano for fish and seafood.
  • Hungarian paprika gives a deeper flavour, while Spanish paprika is milder, but both provide sweet and hot flavours to the food.
  • Whole Cumin offers an aroma to the food plus a nutty taste.
  • Bay Leaf is also widely used as an aromatic element to food. It also adds a solid taste for the spice rub. You can read more about how bay leaves are supposed to be used here.
  • Dried mustard powder excellently combines with many spices.