You don’t have to wait until summer to get grilling (and beer-ing). Cooking outdoors can be enjoyed through all four seasons. Sure, most of the time when we picture a good barbecue, it’s surrounded by warm sun, green grass and lazy days. But we also like to keep the party going around the fire pit, while the kids skate on the backyard rink.
It’s easy to substitute fabulous wings and beer with a fantastic smoked brisket – paired with a nice red. So all year round, dry rubs add plenty of flavor to the food you’re grilling or smoking, and can be applied right before you throw it on the grill. But, since there are no rules here, feel free to season a couple of hours before you cook, if you so choose. While there’s nothing wrong with a little olive oil and salt seasoning, we’re always ready and willing to experiment with other flavors.
Whether you’re obsessed with smoking ribs, are a fan of classic BBQ chicken, or want to experiment with a savory steak, “the rub” is where it’s at. And there are so many to choose from. In fact, one thing we loved about checking out all of the options over on Amazon, is that so many of the user reviews included recipes! Some use the dry rub on its own, while others added honey and other ingredients to turn it into a marinade or sauce.
When trying a new seasoning, it’s always a good idea to start lightly – should enhance the flavor of whatever you’re grilling or smoking, not overpower it. If you’ve found that the spiciness (spiciness is all relative of course) is just too much, some recommend cutting it by adding things like brown sugar, garlic powder, or onion powder. If the rub has a high brown sugar content, it’s a good idea to limit direct or high heat as the brown sugar will darken quickly – prior to the meat cooking fully. Another thing to keep in mind is that rubs tend to be salty, so if that’s a deal breaker, some brands have low salt options. Lastly, buying seasoning on line save you a trip to the store, but always check the expiration date once you receive it – you never know!
We’ve rounded up some of the top dry rubs to try, and listed some of the main flavors, spices and heat factors for each. Always check the full ingredient list on line, so you can be on the lookout for allergens, MSG, sugar and salt content, and see which are gluten free. Some of our favorites include:
→ An award winning BBQ blend that’s sweet and savory
→ An espresso rub with a kick of brown sugar
→ A rib rub that turns up the heat
Shop our picks for the best store bought BBQ rubs to kick off summer grilling season (or really whenever) in 2021. Smoke ’em if you got ’em!
Black Magic Cajun Blackening Blend
What’s in it? Paprika, garlic, spices, onion and salt.
What should I season? This cajun black seasoning can be used on all types of protein including beef, chicken, seafood, game, pork, and fish.
Is it spicy? It’s got a bit of a kick.
Honey Killer Bee BBQ Rub
What’s in it? Sugar, salt, honey powder and spices.
What should I season? This award-winning Honey Killer Bee BBQ rub works with any meat, and is even recommended for amping up the flavor of casseroles, potatoes, baked beans, and more with a little sprinkle.
Is it spicy? The overall consensus is no. This one leans toward the sweeter side.
Bone Suckin’ Sauce
Bone Suckin’ Original Seasoning and Rub
What’s in it? A proprietary blend of brown sugar, paprika, garlic and spices.
What should I season? This is a great one for ribs, but works for all types of meat, like pork, beef, and chicken, along with seafood, and veggies. They even suggest sprinkling it on your popcorn.
Is it spicy? This one is not considered too spicy at all – mild.
Prime Rib Rub
What’s in it? Cane sugar, rosemary, garlic, spices, paprika, onion, chili pepper, sunflower oil.
What should I season? This is ideal for beef, like prime rib and premium steaks. Some reviewers loved it for their brisket.
Is it spicy? Not too much heat on this one, it’s categorized as sweet and savory.
The BBQ Rub
What’s in it? Brown sugar, sugar, paprika, salt, spices, dehydrated garlic, oleoresin paprika, dehydrated orange peel, natural flavor.
What should I season? This is ideal for pork, but can be used on all meats.
Is it spicy? It blends a bit of sweetness with a kick at the end.
BBQ Rub and Seasoning With Coffee and Garlic
What’s in it? Coffee, garlic, paprika, brown sugar, sugar, salt.
What should I season? This is great on ribs, burgers, steaks, or poultry.
Is it spicy? Not too spicy at all.
Heath Riles BBQ
Sweet BBQ Rub
What’s in it? Paprika, brown sugar, sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion, powder, spices, MSG.
What should I season? Add this one to pork, chicken, beef, fish and game. It’s even suggested for Bloody Mary’s!
Is it spicy? This one is sweet with a touch of heat. Sweet heat!
Pork Barrel BBQ
All American Seasoning Mix
What’s in it? Salt, dehydrated garlic, onion, and spices, ancho chili pepper, chipotle chili pepper, smoked paprika, mustard flour, celery seed, cilantro
What should I season? Add smokey flavor to this one to chicken, pork, beef, fish fillets, scallops, shrimp, veggies, chili and more.
Is it spicy? Definitely spicy, but not too hot.
Italian Seasoning Rub
What’s in it? A blend of 13 ingredients, including sun dried tomatoes, oregano, basil, dried olives and rosemary
What should I season? Add this mediterranean style rub to your choice of meat, poultry, seafood or vegetables
Is it spicy? Not spicy.
What’s in it? Sugar, salt, dehydrated garlic, onion, carrots, red bell pepper, tomato, and orange peel and spices.
What should I season? Ideal for pork, and pork chops, but also great on chicken and fish. Some users loved it on shrimp.
Is it spicy? Not spicy.
What’s in it? Salt, sugar, chili pepper, paprika, garlic, onion, mustard flour.
What should I season? Created for chicken, but made for pork.
Is it spicy? It does have a bit of a spicy kick – with a blend of sweet.
Pappy’s Choice Seasoning
What’s in it? Salt, spice, paprika, sugar, granulated garlic and onion.
What should I season? This one is suggested for just about everything, like BBQ and smoked brisket, steak, chicken, and seafood, as well as fajitas, popcorn, jerk, pizza and more!
Is it spicy? A slight spicy kick.
What’s in it? Salt, spices, monosodium glutamate, dehydrated garlic and onion, sugar, and papain
What should I season? This rub can be used on all meats, steaks, ribs, chicken, and pork and can also be used for seasoning potatoes, veggies, pasta, rice, grits, and fish.
Is it spicy? Not too spicy, but it does have a bit of heat.
Butt Rub Barbeque Seasoning
What’s in it? A blend of onion, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and chipotle (smoked jalapeno)
What should I season? This one works on all meats, veggies, eggs, and fish.
Is it spicy? This one is spicy!
Cowboy Crust Espresso Chile Rub
What’s in it? A combination of warm spices, espresso and a touch of brown sugar.
What should I season? This is perfect for grilled steaks, pork steaks or game, but you can also use it for roasting a turkey.
Is it spicy? Not spicy.
Garlic Parmesan Wing Dust
What’s in it? A secret blend of spices along with garlic, onion, and turmeric
What should I season? Chicken wings! But while it’s perfect for chicken wings, you can also sprinkle it on popcorn, pizza, nuts, veggies, potatoes, kabobs, seafood, and more.
Is it spicy? A bit of a kick.
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