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Dry Rubbed BBQ Ribs

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I have no idea if it’s Kansas City, Carolina, Texas, Memphis or St. Louis style. All I know is that this dry rub is magic dust on a rib. Just in time for your Memorial Day menu, this Dry Rubbed BBQ Ribs recipe is the perfect seasoning for a meaty slab of pork or beef ribs, finished off with just a light brushing of barbecue sauce. So let’s tackle cooking first. Slow and low. It’s the only way to keep those juices moistening the meat. For the rub, don’t overpower. Generally, whatever sticks to the slab should give you just the right amount of flavor. And because bbq sauce is loaded with sugar or honey which can burn, save it for the last 10-15 minutes, and then just lightly coat it on the slab at the end of the cooking process. You want the flavor of the rub to come through. Now for the rub. It’s an incredibly simple formula I found in an old paperback cookbook called Tasty Vittles. This rub is the perfect combination of sweet, spicy, hot and salty. You can add a slightly citrusy kick if you’re using something like a chili lime sea salt, or burn it up big time with various chili powders. I’ve been on a quest for a good basic rub that I can make ahead, keep it in a jar in the pantry, and shake out onto a slab whenever I’m craving ribs, and this is it! Start with the basic rub and then add your own special touches using some of your favorite herbs and spices, a little at a time, until you make it your own.

Dry Rubbed BBQ Ribs


  • 3 ½ pound slab of meaty ribs (I used Pork Back Ribs)
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups of your favorite BBQ Sauce, divided
  • Dry Rub (Ingredients below)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed (Rub)
  • ⅛ cup sweet paprika, do not use regular paprika (Rub)
  • ⅛ cup smoked paprika, do not use regular paprika (Rub)
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder (Rub)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder, not garlic salt (Rub)
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard (Rub)
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin (Rub)
  • ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper (Rub)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (Rub)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (Rub)
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper (Rub)


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all the Rub ingredients and mix with your hands or a fork, breaking up any lumps.
  2. Store in an airtight jar in the pantry or cupboard.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with several sheets of tin foil.
  5. Brush oil lightly over top of ribs (meat side up).
  6. Sprinkle dry rub liberally over ribs and lightly pat.
  7. Bake for about 2 ½ to 3 hours or until thermometer reaches 180 degrees.
  8. Brush with one cup of barbecue sauce during last 10-15 minutes.
  9. Serve with remaining cup of barbecue sauce, warmed.

Recipe Tags

Dry Rub


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