The best dry rub for ribs can make any rack of ribs turn into the most mouthwatering, show-stealing ribs. My favorite dry rib rub is this Memphis-style rub that was inspired by Rendezvous Ribs in the heart of Memphis.
This rub is briming with herbs and spices that add sweetness, bitterness, sourness, heat, and savoriness from dried herbs and garlic that gives this rub the ideal balance. Salting the ribs at the start rounds out the flavors for the complete experience.
How To Prepare Dry Rub for Ribs
This dry rub for ribs recipe combines dried herbs and spices, each with its own unique flavor that complements and contrasts each other for the ideal seasoning. It is equally delicious as a dry rub only or as a dry rub base and then slathered with you favorite BBQ Sauce. The exact measurements of these ingredients are in the recipe card.
- Sweet: allspice and paprika
- Bitter: celery seed and mustard seed
- Sour: coriander
- Heat: chili powder and ground black pepper
- Savory: garlic powder, oregano, and thyme
All you need to do is mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. Measure out the amount of the dry rub for ribs mixture you need for your recipe and then store the remainder in an airtight container. The seasoning blend will keep for up to 1 year or longer. However, the flavor will be best if used within 6 months. Go ahead and make a large batch. You will find many reasons to use this dry rub recipe.
How To Use Dry Rub for Ribs
Season the pork with salt first before adding other seasonings. Seasoning the ribs with salt first draws out the juices from the center of the meat and then those liquids dry on the surface during cooking to create a richly seasoned and crusty exterior. After the salt has a chance to do it's magic, add the dry rub to your ribs.
The best way is give the ribs 30 minutes to 12 hours to enable the dry brine to work. Anything longer than 1 hour and you need to cover your ribs with plastic wrap and refrigerated them.
Keep the ribs dry, as in true Memphis-style, or slather them with your favorite barbecue sauce. Try this Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe or use a a store-bought brand such as ever-popular Sweet Baby Ray's.
Use this homemade dry rub for this Oven Baked Dry Rub Ribs Recipe or use the rub before cooking and adding BBQ sauce such as in these Amazing BBQ Ribs in the Oven. You may also enjoy this rib rub recipe on these slow cooker ribs or in the pressure cooker with this Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs recipe. There are so many possibilities with this amazing dry spice rub.
How to Season Ribs
Season ribs before or after cooking. Each way will give you slightly different results. If you season before grilling or roasting, the rib rub will provide a more intense flavor than if you season after cooking.
Pat the ribs dry with paper towels before adding the salt and the rub. Then, sprinkle the rib rub generously on the ribs. You can pat the rib rub lightly onto the ribs, but it isn't necessary.
Add some of the dry rub to a mop sauce of vinegar, ketchup and water and use it to baste your ribs during cooking. This is how we use it in our Dry Rub Ribs Recipe. For this recipe, more dry rub is then added to the ribs after cooking. We should almost call this method a reverse-rub.
Packed with flavors, this rib rub doesn't overpower the ribs, it highlights the flavor of the pork ribs. You can use it on any number of rib recipes including baby back ribs, spare ribs, St. Louis ribs, rib tips and country-style ribs. It even adds a nice touch to pork chops.
Why not make a large batch of this spice mix and have it ready for next time. This recipe will make enough for racks of ribs. Mason jars are perfect for storing your own dry rub. You won't be disappointed.
Rib Rub Variations
Brown sugar rib rub: To achieve a crustier finish combined with sweetness, add 1 tablespoon of packed brown sugar to every 1 tablespoon of rub. This rub should be added before grilling or oven baking.
Spice it up: Add a pinch or more to taste of cayenne pepper to the rib rub if you like your ribs spicier.
Onion lovers: Ribs are always tasty with onion powder or granulated onions. Omit 1 tablespoon of the garlic powder and replace it with an equal amount of onion powder.
For the best results, use a meat thermometer and check that the internal temperature registers between 180°F and 195°F. It is generally agreed by BBQ professionals that this range is the ideal temperature for your ribs. For once, I will say ignore the USDA safe temperature rules of 145°F for pork. You just won't get tender meat at this internal temperature.
Make sure to place the probe of the thermometer horizontally in between the ribs in the center of the rack without touching the bone.
The bend test is another useful method. Use tongs to pick up the slab of ribs near the center. Gently bounce the ribs. If the slab bends nicely and the meat begins to crack on the surface, your ribs are ready. If there is only a small crack, cook the ribs longer.
The bite test, a well respected non-temperature rib test, is used on the professional competition circuit. Simply take a bite out of the rib and if you if it leaves a bite mark but is easy to chew, the ribs are perfect. While this is a reliable test, it's not exactly ideal if you are serving guests.
Fall-off-the-bone ribs means overcooked ribs. Don't overcook the ribs.
After making this rib rub, you will find yourself wanting to have this rib seasoning on hand for all of your rib recipes.
Best Dry Rub For Ribs - Memphis-Style
- 1 tablespoon celery seed divided
- 2 teaspoons allspice berries divided
- 2 teaspoons coriander seed divided
- ¼ cup paprika
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1-½ tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons mustard seed
- 1-½ teaspoons oregano leaves
- 1-½ teaspoons dried thyme
- Using a mortal and pestle, grind 1-½ teaspoons celery seed, ½ teaspoon allspice berries, and ¼ teaspoon coriander seed.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ground seeds, the paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, black pepper, mustard seeds, oregano and thyme. Transfer dry rub to a tightly sealed container. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.