When you smoke your meat (you are smoking meat, right), one of the key elements besides great wood, lots of time, and great conversations around the smoker is the right rub.

My favorite part of smoking meat is rubbing the meat down with rub. In the early days, I was far to stingy with rub. Now I pack it on and push the salty mixture into every crack and crevice I can find in the meat. You can buy great dry rubs, but you can easily make your own.

The recipe below is ideal for ribs, brisket, and pork butts on the smoker. See note below on rubs for other meat cuts.

Here’s the bedrock recipe for dry rub:

First dry exterior of the meat. The meat should feel dry to the touch. Use a paper towel and press it on the meat until it feels dry. Leaving it out for a while helps, too.

  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups kosher salt
  • 1 cup garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup cayenne powder (reduce if you’re a yankee)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cracked black pepper (people have different tastes for pepper so add it to taste)

*For oven meats (eg, Prime Rib) reduce or remove brown sugar all the same. The brown sugar is what gives you the sweet BBQ flavor. For steaks and fine meats, you want to avoid that sugary southern BBQ taste. For Prime Rib, I’ve gone 100% garlic salt (no kosher salt) and it was amazing.

Happy smoking,