BBQ Tips: Grilling with a Dry Rub

June 19, 2023 by Kenmore

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Nothing adds more fun and flavor to your summer than spending time with family and friends in the backyard, grilling up some barbecue magic. If you’re ready to embrace your inner outdoor gourmet and take your grilling game to the next level, why not try a dry rub? They’re a great way to add layers of deliciousness to virtually any type of grilled meat, poultry, seafood… even veggies![/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][su_spacer size=”30″]

So, what is a dry rub?

A longtime favorite among grill-masters and beginners alike, dry rubs are a blend of spices, salt and flavorings used to enhance the taste of foods as they cook.

You can find any number of commercially prepared dry rubs and grilling spice mixes at your local grocery or specialty food store. They are available in a wide variety of popular flavor combinations and styles to suit your individual taste and to complement whatever you’re cooking up. Some of the more popular flavor profiles include…

  • All-purpose / Seasoned salt – very nice on veggie-kabobs
  • Barbecue – different styles are available for pork, chicken, beef, etc.
  • Steak rubs, such as “Montreal” steak seasoning
  • Cajun-style, aka “blackening” seasoning
  • Mediterranean za’atar seasoning – excellent on eggplant slices
  • Chinese five-spice mix – perfect with pork loin
  • Brown sugar & herbs – sensational on salmon

Of course, you can easily make your own dry rub mixes at home, too. The internet is filled with literally thousands of recipes to explore… or you can whip up your own zesty BBQ dry rub from our recipe below. Give it a try![/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][su_spacer size=”30″]

Why use a dry rub?

Once you start using tasty rubs as part of your outdoor cooking routine, you’ll find yourself wanting to use them more and more. They offer strong advantages that can instantly upgrade your grilling results without much time or trouble.

Advantage #1: A good dry rub will complement the flavor of grilled meats, poultry and fish, enhancing their natural flavors instead of covering them up.

Advantage #2: Unlike wet marinades, you don’t have to apply a dry rub to your meat several hours in advance or even overnight. You can use them to season foods just before grilling if you want, or one to four hours beforehand to let the flavors sink in a little.

Advantage #3: Once the dry-rubbed meat hits the preheated grill, it immediately starts to sear on the outside, helping to lock in the juicy, meaty flavor. Wet-marinated foods tend not to sear quite as well because of their moisture content.

Advantage #4: Once the meat has cooked for a while, it will release its juices which will start to blend with the rub, making its own delicious sauce.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][su_spacer size=”30″]

How to use a dry rub

One of the best things about spice rubs is how easy they are to apply. Just follow these simple steps, and you’ll be ready to grill.

Pat dry – Remove your grilling meat from its packaging and use a paper towel to pat it dry on both sides to help ensure a nice sear.

Oil up – Brush on a small amount of oil (olive oil works great). This will help bind the rub to the meat and allow the flavor to penetrate.

Season well – Pour on your selected dry rub, using enough to cover all sides generously. Don’t be shy! The more rub you use, the more flavor you’ll add.

Rub it in – Take few moments to rub the spice mix into the meat using your fingers… and be sure to wash your hands before and after you rub.

Fire it up – You can let the meat rest in the refrigerator for an hour or more and let it absorb some extra flavor, but there’s nothing wrong with grilling it right away, either. So fire up the grill and get it nicely preheated, and you’re ready to cook![/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][su_spacer size=”30″]

Gas or charcoal, which is better for dry rubs?

You can enjoy your favorite dry rubs using any type of grill, and any style of grilling or barbecuing. Low and slow, hot and fast, smoked on a smoker… it’s all good!

For the very best results, it helps to use a smart grill with internal temperature probes and Bluetooth connectivity. This next-level tech lets you monitor the internal temperature of each piece you’re grilling with an app on your phone, so you never have to guess when it’s done. How cool is that?

Kenmore’s next-generation 4-Burner Smart Gas Grill and 32-Inch Smart Charcoal Grill both share this smart capability, making it super-easy to simultaneously monitor up to four separate food probe temperatures and check the ambient temperature in the fire box, set cooking timers, and much more.

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Can I use a sauce, too?

Yes, absolutely. There is no reason why you can’t slather on your favorite grilling sauce on dry-rubbed meats. Just remember, it’s best to apply BBQ sauce toward the end of the grilling process and not at the beginning. If you leave sauced meat on the grill for too long, the sauce may start to caramelize too much and produce a “scorched” taste.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][su_spacer size=”30″]

Recipe: Classic BBQ Dry Rub

This traditional barbecue rub adds a bold burst of flavor to chicken, pork, ribs, beef brisket… just about anything, really. Makes about 1 cup of spice rub. Skip the cayenne if you don’t like it spicy; double it if you want some extra “kick.”


3 tablespoons smoked paprika

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dry mustard powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)


In a small mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and mix well, making sure to break up any clumps of brown sugar. Store in an air-tight container to preserve freshness.

Apply the dry rub to meat, poultry, etc. and cook as you normally would. And enjoy!

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