7 Easy Rub Recipes for Grilling
Simple Spice Combinations to Add a Kick

A good basic rub recipe is a necessity for grilling. A homemade rub allows you to create a custom mix to your tastes, use the best ingredients, omit any preservatives, and lower key add-ins such as salt.

Once you’ve mastered a basic rub, you’ll feel comfortable experimenting with different flavors and combos. These rub recipes offer tasty complements to grilled beef, pork, poultry, and seafood.

Rub Application Tips:

Apply a coat of olive oil to meat or seafood before applying rub. This helps the rub stick to the meat, and also locks in moisture.

Turn a dry rub into a seasoning paste; add one to two tbsp of olive oil. This helps the rub stick to the meat, adds additional moisture, and makes the meat or seafood less likely to stick to grill grates.

For best results, apply rubs at least 30 minutes before grilling. This gives the meat time to absorb the rub’s spice flavors.

1) All-Purpose Beef Rub

From: Chris Grove from NibbleMeThis.com

The coarseness of this mix ensures it stays fresher longer; the rub is finely ground right before use to deliver more of a flavor impact.

Best Used On: Beef Steaks or Roasts

5 Tbsp coarse smoked salt
2 Tbsp black peppercorns
1 Tbsp green peppercorns
1 Tbsp dried minced garlic
1 Tbsp dried red and green pepper flakes
2 ¼ tsp dried minced onion
2 tsp dried thyme leaves

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight jar for up to six months. Grind in a pepper mill or spice grinder as needed for use. Use a fine grind for steaks and a medium grind for large roasts like brisket and prime rib.

All Purpose Beef Rub

2) Coffee Cocoa Beef Rub

From: Clint Cantwell, Editor of Grilling.com

Use this rub for a delicious flavor addition to roasts or beef tenderloins.

Best Used On: Roasts or Beef Tenderloin

2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp ground coffee
½ Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp Kosher salt

Directions: Blend all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside until ready to use.

Coffee Cocoa Beef Rub

3) Blackening Rub

From: Chris Grove from NibbleMeThis.com

Classic blackening season creates a crust when seafood is seared using a very hot iron skillet.

Best Used On: Seafood

½ Tbsp paprika
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp celery seed

Directions: Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Blackening Rub

4) All-Purpose Poultry Seasoning

From: Meathead Goldwyn from AmazingRibs.com

This easy-to-make rub works well on a variety of meat, from chicken to turkey and pork.

Best Used On: Chicken, Turkey, or Pork

3 Tbsp dried crumbled sage
1 Tbsp dried crumbled thyme
1 Tbsp dried crumbled marjoram
1 Tbsp dried rosemary, whole leaves
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
1 tsp celery seeds
¼ tsp cloves, powdered

Directions: Grind all ingredients together in a spice or coffee grinder, or using a mortar and pestle. Store in a tightly sealed glass container.

All Purpose Poultry Seasoning

5) Smoked Paprika Pork & Chicken Rub

From: Robyn Lindars of GrillGrrrl.com

Smoked paprika is a great all-purpose ingredient that adds smoky flavor to anything, even when used for indoor cooking. The combination of spices and brown sugar caramelizes when grilled to give meat a flavorful crust.

Best Used On: Chicken, Turkey, or Pork

3 Tbsp smoked* brown sugar (I used Bourbon Barrel)
2 Tbsp smoked paprika – I got mine from the local spice store, “The Spice Quarter”
1 ½ Tbsp smoked* sea salt – (I used Bourbon Barrel)
1 Tbsp smoked* coarsely ground black pepper
½ Tbsp ground coriander

*I used smoked sea salt, smoked pepper, and smoked brown sugar to add smokiness to the rub. You can use regular sea salt, pepper, and brown sugar instead.

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and rub into meat.

Smoked Paprika Pork And Chicken Rub

6) Smoky Chipotle Pork & Chicken Rub

From: Robyn Lindars of GrillGrrrl.com

Smoky chipotle powder adds heat and flavor depth to pork and chicken. A hint of sweetness complements the fiery kick.

Best Used On: Chicken or Pork

1 Tbsp chipotle powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
½ Tbsp turbinado or brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

Directions: Combine all ingredients to make the rub.

Smoky Chipotle Pork and Chicken Rub

7) Fish Rub

From: Meathead Goldwyn from AmazingRibs.com

The lemon peel brightens grilled fish. The recipe does not include salt, so can be used on brined fish. If your fish is not brined, add salt to taste.

Best Used On: Fish

1 Tbsp dried chives
1 Tbsp dried tarragon
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp dried chervil
1 Tbsp freshly ground dried green peppercorns*
1 Tbsp dried lemon peel, ground
1 tsp garlic powder

*You may substitute black peppercorns for green for a different flavor profile.

Directions: Combine all ingredients. Using a mortar and pestle, or bowl with a wooden spoon, crush all ingredients until they are of equal size. Store in a glass jar with a tightly fitting lid for about three months.

When ready to use, salt both sides of the meat lightly. Sprinkle the rub on the flesh side of the fish. For a fillet about the size of a business envelope, use roughly one teaspoon. If you plan to eat the skin, season it, too. Then lightly brush the fish with olive oil. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Fish Rub
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