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Best BBQ Seasoning

Homemade BBQ Seasoning is easy to make homemade with spices in your pantry. This unique flavor blend is great for seasoning burgers, steaks, ribs, and can be used as a bbq dry rub!

dry bbq rub in a jar

BBQ Seasoning Recipe

I absolutely love making spice mixes. I know you have heard me talk about making my own rubs so I can avoid all the extra salt and anti-caking agents they put in them.

Not to mention how expensive they are! So, today I am making an all purpose bbq rub.

You don’t have to wait for the next barbecue! It’s perfect for the summer tor anytime of the year you want that grilled bbq flavor on your favorite meats and vegetables. It will take them to the next level!

What are BBQ Rubs?

You can never really tell what’s in pre-mixed spice blends because the ingredient list mentions things like, salt, sugar, oregano, and other natural spices.

But what are all the other “natural spices” that they can’t list out individually? Doesn’t seem very natural if you can’t tell me what they are EXACTLY.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t any actual spices in it. Just colored salt and monosodium glutamate.

Use It On:

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ingredients for all purpose barbecue seasoning blend

BBQ Seasoning Ingredients

  • Thyme
  • Garlic Powder
  • Parsley
  • Celery Salt
  • Chili Powder
  • Garlic Salt
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Black Pepper
  • Kosher Salt
  • Cumin
  • Onion Powder
  • Dried Mustard
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Light Brown Sugar

All of the spices in my homemade BBQ Rub are ones you probably have already in your pantry. I know I have all of them on hand at all times, but I have a spice hoarding problem.

You will have all of these on hand too, most likely.

The only spices that you might not already have are smoked paprika and celery salt. Regular paprika is prevalent but smoked paprika is so much better.

Celery salt is another one. Most home cooks have celery seed in their pantry. Celery seed is used in a lot of recipes and adds a great floral flavor to a lot of foods.

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How to make BBQ Spice Rub

First: Combine all ingredients, give them a good stir to mix, and store in an air tight container in a cool, dry place.

Second: Season your food as desired!

This recipe for my homemade BBQ Seasoning Mix makes roughly 1 & 1/4 cups. This is enough for a few dishes depending on how spiced you like your foods. I use 1/4 cup per pound of meat.

For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

barbecue spice rub in a bowl with a whisk

What is the difference between a seasoning and a rub?

A seasoning is really a mix of spices and herbs that is sprinkled on vegetables or cuts of meat. A rub contains the same but in larger pieces.

Coarser pieces add texture to the meats along with stronger flavor. They are applied and”rubbed” into the meat prior to cooking.

A spice mix is a combination of spices and herbs that you add to marinades, soups, dips, and dressings. A dry rub is a spice and herb combination that you rub on the outside of something before cooking it.

close up of competition bbq rub in a small mason jar

How long should the rub be on ribs for before cooking?

For the flavor to really set in, the dry rub needs to sit on the meat for at least 15 minutes. I like to apply mine 1-2 hours before cooking.

Should you put salt in a dry rub?

Pre-mixed BBQ seasoning blends tend to overdo it on the salt because it is a lot cheaper than the other spices in the mix.

But let’s not forget that salt is also a great meat tenderizer. It is necessary to get your meat tender. When you are BBQing on the grill or a smoker tender meat is what everyone wants.

spoon of seasoning

Is a dry rub better than a marinade?

A marinade is better at tenderizing meat in the long run so if you have a tough cut of meat, use a marinade. If your meat is already a tender cut, go with a dry rub.

A dry rub is meant as a flavoring for the meat and not for seeping into it and tenderizing it. Think of it more like a flavor coating or a sauce that you top your meat with.

My dry rubs tend to have more salt because I am adding flavor to the plain and enhancing the flavors of the other spices. Do not leave the rub on for more than 24 hours as it will dry out your meat.

If you are making a spice mix into a dry rub you need to watch the sugar content. Sugars can burn on a grill or in an oven that is over 275F so I tend to reduce the sugar content and up the salt content if I am transforming a spice mix to a dry rub.

spoon of seasoning

How do you get your rub to stick to the meat?

The best way to rub your ribs is to take off the membrane first. If there isn’t one or you are using a cut of meat that doesn’t have one, skip this step.

Pat the meat with paper towels to remove any excess water. Next rub the surface of the meat with vegetable oil. Sprinkle the rub over the surface liberally.

Use your hands and actually “RUB” the spices into the meat! Feel free to use gloves if you like to stick your finger in your eyes on a regular basis. Hello, contact lens wearers!

Let the rub sit overnight or at least 15 minutes at room temperature. Your meat should be room temp anyways when you cook it so it cooks evenly!

Can I use this rub recipe on other meats?

This recipe is great on baby back ribs, pulled pork, steaks, other cuts of pork and chicken. And it works on vegetables too!

How long does it last?

If you keep them in an airtight container like these jars they will last 3 months. If you want them to last longer I would portion it out and freeze in small bags for up to 6 months.

More BBQ Recipes

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

jar of bbq seasoning

Skip the bbq sauce and try a dry barbecue rub instead. It will elevate any cut of meat and is perfect for oven baking or grilling season!

Dry Rub BBQ Seasoning Blend spilling out of a jar on to a wood surface

Homemade BBQ Seasoning

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Whip up your own BBQ seasoning mix with spices from your pantry.  Sweet, spicy, and smoky is the best seasoning blend for all your summer grilling!


  • 1/2 tablespoon Thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celery Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Dried Mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar


  1. Mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container until ready to use.
  2. Use as needed.


You can substitute Ancho chili powder for the regular chili powder if you prefer.  If you don't have smoked paprika, feel free to use regular paprika.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months in a cool, dry place.

use 1/4 cup per pound of meat.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 28Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2117mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

collage of seasoning blends

Want more seasoning recipes? I have a delicious Cajun Seasoning or Steak Seasoning recipe. Check them out along with this amazing list of homemade spice mix recipes and tips and trick on how to store them.

{Originally posted 05/17/17 – photos and recipe notes updated 09/19/23 to improve reader experience!} Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.

Dorinda Daley

Saturday 4th of February 2023

Cooking ribs at work an needed a rub. Thankfully this is it. Can’t wait to try it! Thank you. Will let you know.

Trev Foster

Saturday 5th of June 2021

Can I use a sugar substitute such as Swerve to cut back on the carbs in this recipe? It looks great and my son just gave me a new grill for my birthday. I would like to impress him with some awesome food.


Monday 7th of June 2021

Yes you can!

Niki Simmons

Saturday 5th of June 2021

I am allergic to cayenne. What could be substituted for it.


Monday 7th of June 2021

You can leave it out or add more black pepper for spice. Or if there is another hot chili pepper that you can have try that. Another option is more chili powder.


Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

Way way to much sodium 2100mg or something like that turn down the sodium alittle Jen some people have high blood pressure


Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

That's why you make your own dry rubs. So YOU can control the amount of salt in it.


Tuesday 25th of August 2020

I hate to post since I didn't do EXACTLY what the recipe says, but I can't have sugar, so I used a small amount of monkfruit powder, I wanted something for sprinkling on pork rinds. This is delicious! I didn't use sugar, and I halved the salt because pork rinds usually have salt, but... Delicious.


Friday 28th of August 2020

Monkfruit powder is genius! I have been experimenting with other sweetener options, my fave so far is Sverve, but haven't tried it in my dry rubs yet. I think I will make my snack mix to see how it acts when heated.

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