BBQ Spice rub for ribs Real Food Girl

Real Food Girl BBQ Spice Rub

I’ve got some sad news my friends. It’s so sad I actually cried.  It could possibly be hormones, but we’ll just play along and say it is because of sadness. After years of tinkering I finally created what The Stud Muffin and I felt was my best BBQ Spice Rub. That stuff was Da Bomb!  I slapped that rub on chicken, ribs, pork chops, and that meat was happy! Heck, WE were happy. Happiness all around. Happy meat, happy wife, happy life. And life was BBQ’y and good and happy. 

Then, one day, I decided it was time to organize my desk and purge papers and things I’d had for years that were taking up space. You know; clean.  As I was filtering through my various piles of papers, magazines, junk mail, and Post-It Notes, I ran across my spice rub recipe, which had been scribbled on 5×7″ orange Post-It as well as my recipes for Brown Sugar Maple Baked Beans with Bacon, and my House Seasoning.  I set that aside in the SAVE pile. I often write down recipes I’m developing on large Post-It Notes or small notebooks and I’ve been pretty fortunate that I’ve never misplaced one, even though they seem to travel all over the house and never stay in the same place.

Until now. That’s right, I lost my stack of recipe Post-It Notes and I honestly, for the life of me can’t remember the measurements of the spices I used to make this rub. I remember 95% of the ingredients, and had to search for the photo I took of all the spice bottles laying on my cutting board. Thankfully I had that photo!  I couldn’t even begin to tell ya the measurements or which of the ingredients I toasted and which ones I didn’t.  I could only guess at this point and the only thing more frustrating than losing a recipe in development is having a blog post disappear before you hit publish. As in Poof! Gone! Sucked into space and you can’t recover one, tiny, letter or word. Nada! 

How sad is that, people? I mean, YEARS of tweaking and I decide to clean my desk and office and now I can’t find the awesomest, bestest, most spectacular BBQ Spice Rub recipe in the world. 

Real Food Girl BBQ Spice Rub- for ribs and more!

So I’m sad. And now your sad. And we’re all sad. Even The Stud Muffin is sad. 

Since there is no whining in fine dining, it’s back to the kitchen to try and figure out how I made this amazing rub.  I did what I could, but I ended up running out of a few spices before I felt the rub was as good as the one I’d lost, so this one will have to do.  It’s a fantastic BBQ Rub. But it’s not the rub, so I’m still sulking a bit.  I’m sure it’s close to something an award winning BBQist (is that a word? It should be a word…it’s like violinist, but a BBQist) has lovingly locked in an armoured box and guarded by 4, mean-looking Doberman Pincher’s with shiny, sharp teeth, but since there aren’t any Award-Winning BBQist sharing their recipes with me, we’ll never know. So for now, we’ll call this pretty doggone good and I’ll keep looking for the perfected recipe. Until then, you enjoy this mixed into burgers, sprinkled onto ribs, chicken and pork.  Later this week I’ll share my St. Louis Style BBQ ribs that call for this recipe, so make sure you have a batch on hands my friend. Yer going to love my ribs.  I GarronTee it! 😉  Oh, I almost forgot, I use this mixture to make BBQ sauce, too.  

Before we get started I should point out that I have a plethora of various brands of spices in the photo below. Please note that I reuse bottles and many bottles come from my pre-Real Food days. The spices in each bottle are organic, despite what the label may say. I like to buy bulk when I can from a couple different local markets. Please don’t let the McCormick label scare you. I promise imported, non-GMO oregano is in there and it’s not McCormick brand.  

Real Food Girl BBQ Spice Rub- for ribs and more!

I use this rub on chicken, pork, and ribs. Pork or beef. For chicken or pork chops, I’ll put about 1/3 cup of this rub into a large zip top bag and add a little olive oil, and then drop in the meat.  I remove as much air as possible and seal the bag. I then massage the mixture into the meat and refrigerate it for a couple hours. It’s then ready to bake or grill.  For ribs, I do it differently and you’ll learn about that later this week. 

I use kosher salt for rubs, but if all you have on hand is sea salt, feel free to use that but know it is a bit saltier, so I’d use just a tad less.  You may not win any awards with this rub, but you will win the hearts of friends and family who try your BBQ and they’ll want this recipe, so feel free to share it.  


Real Food Girl BBQ Spice Rub
A super simple, but darn near award winning bbq spice rub for ribs, chicken, pork and more. This friends, is BBQ at it's finest.
Write a review
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 1/2 cup organic brown sugar (*you can make your own)
  2. 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  3. 1 TB ground cumin
  4. 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  5. 2 TB Smoked Paprika (not sweet or hot, it must be smoked)
  6. 1 tsp. Hungarian Paprika
  7. 2 tsp. ground mustard
  8. 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  9. 1 tsp. onion powder
  10. 2 tsp. dried oregano
  11. 1tsp. dried thyme
  12. 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
  13. 1/4 tsp. celery seed
  14. 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
  15. 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (or just 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper)
  16. 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  17. 1/8 tsp. ground chipotle pepper (optional, but yummy)
  1. In a small skillet over low heat, toast the cumin, cumin seeds, celery seed, and cayenne pepper until you can JUST start to smell their scent get stronger. Immediately take off the heat and carefully pour the spices into a mortar (the bowl part of a mortar and pestle). Add the thyme and oregano to the mortar and grind the spices until the cumin seeds are pretty well ground. I don't mind a little bit of chunkage, so you don't have to make them into a fine powder. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, put the spices in a shallow bowl and using the back of a small wooden spoon scrape and smoosh everything up against the sides of the bowls until you've got them ground up and their oils are released.
  2. Combine the non-toasted ingredients and the toasted ones into a 3 cup bowl and combine well with a fork. I usually stir and blend for a good 60 seconds.
  3. This rub is now ready for ribs, chicken, pork or burgers.
  4. This will keep for several weeks, up to 2 months in an airtight container in your cupboard.
  1. Please use organic or Non-GMO ingredients whenever possible.
  2. YIELDS about 2 cups.
  3. You don't have to toast the spices listed, but trust me when I say it takes the rub to a whole other level my friends.
  4. *My homemade organic brown sugar recipe:


PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Classically trained Cordon Bleu chef turned anti-GMO, pro-organic, food hippie blogger with a passion for REAL food.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.