Rub Your Meat: The Best Dry Rubs for Barbecue

barbecue ribs
DebbiSmirnoff/Getty Images
DebbiSmirnoff/Getty Images

Barbecue is all about the seasoning. For some, that means slathering a cut of meat in sauce (which can counteract the nature of the meat itself — not all cuts are equally juicy, etc.). For others (and other cuts of meat), a dry rub is all you need to find your full expression of barbecue deliciousness.

For a good dry rub to work, you need to find a balance between savory, sweet, spicy, and smoky. If you’re the grillmaster or pitmaster of your block, then making one up on your own is probably second nature by now. Not everyone who wants a well-seasoned piece of meat has their own personal spice blend, though, and that’s where this list comes in. Below, you will find the best pre-made dry rubs out there. They’re all good for different meats, so check out which one will go best for what you’re about to cook.

Bone Suckin’ Sauce Seasoning & Rub – $7

Bone Suckin Sauce Seasoning and Rub

As evidenced by the name, Bone Sucking Sauce’s first product was a barbecue sauce that was originally based on the owner’s mother’s western North Carolina barbecue sauce, but they’ve since branched out into other flavorings. A mix of brown sugar, garlic, paprika, and spices, its great on ribs but equally useful on everything from roasts to popcorn.

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Bad Byron’s Butt Rub – $8

Bad Byrons Butt Rub

The barbecue realm is a place where people have fun — with meat, with each other, and with words. If you didn’t laugh a little at the words “butt rub,” well, good for you. Bad Byron’s was created by a Culinary Institute of America grad over 20 years ago and, in that time, he has won numerous awards with this Texas-influenced rub. If you couldn’t tell, it shines on pork products.

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Plowboys BBQ Yardbird Rub – $11

Plowboys BBQ Yardbird Rub

Coming out of the Kansas City barbecue tradition, this rub was created for competition barbecue. Due to its success (2009 American Royal Invitational winner), it has made its way — thankfully — into our hands. The slogan is “Created for chicken, but made for pork,” and they’re not wrong. Try it on wings or chops and you won’t be disappointed.

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Bull City Bar-B-Cue Rib Rub – $10

Bull City Bar-B-Cue Rib Rub

Another entrant from the North Carolina barbecue field, Bull City was created over the course of a decade during and after the owners attended the University of North Carolina. Their rubs and sauces were developed to match a low and slow approach to cooking meats (we’re talking cooking for 10 to 20 hours). Even if you’re not hosting a pig pickin’, this rub is great for all parts of a hog.

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Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Big Action Spice Rub – $5

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Big Action Spice Rub

Hailing from upstate New York, Dino Bar-B-Que doesn’t come from a canonical barbecue location, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious. This rub is a great balance of the sweet, savory, spicy, and smoky flavors that define good ‘cue. While great on cuts of meat, this is a good rub to branch out and try on something like fish.

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