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Top 5 Best Dry Rubs For Ribs (Review)

by Lianne Jones April 05, 2022

Top 5 Best Dry Rubs For Ribs (Review)

Is any summer cookout or smoking session complete without a gorgeous rack of ribs? We don’t think so.

Whether they be sweet, spicy, or savory, the perfect rack of ribs can be the centerpiece of your BBQ party. However, they can also be tough to cook well. If you don’t use the best flavors and cook your ribs to perfection, your friends and family could leave disappointed.

If you want to get the most out of them, you should try using dry rubs instead of sauces or marinades. Dry rubs are flavorful seasonings that are rubbed onto meat before cooking.

They add flavor without adding moisture, so they don’t affect the texture of the meat. The best dry rubs usually contain salt, pepper, garlic, onion, paprika, cayenne, and other spices.

To make sure you get it right, here are five of our favorite dry rubs for ribs. Try them out and let us know which ones you love the most.

Cowtown

Cowtown

The Cowtown BBQ dry rub from Old World Spices & Seasonings is an excellent place to start. If you consider yourself a beginner when it comes to smoking ribs and want an easy-to-use dry rub that gets the job done nicely, Cowtown is the dry rub for you.

Amazingly cheap and readily available, each 28.8 oz container provides you with enough seasoning for over an impressive 800 uses.

There are a number of different Cowtown dry rubs on the market, but the best has to be the squeal hog rub flavor. This versatile rub packs a beautiful smokey flavor that you simply can’t go wrong with.

Winner of the American Royal BBQ Contest twice, this rub also claims to work well with other meats such as chicken. After reviewing the rub, we can confirm that it definitely does.

When we reviewed this rub, we were also pleased to find that it contains no MSG, offers great value for money, and is suitable for anybody who is gluten-free.

Overall, if you want amazing flavors, easily, check out the Cowtown BBQ dry rub.

Pros

  • Great value for money - For a very affordable price, you get over 800 uses from this Cowtown dry rub.
  • Award-winning - This dry rub has won the American Royal BBQ Contest twice.
  • Gluten-free - Anyone with a gluten allergy can still use this rub.

Cons

  • Smaller-sized containers are pricey - While the 28.8 oz container offers great value for money, the smaller 6 oz container is quite pricey.

Also available at: Thekansascitybbqstore.com

Kosmos Q Honey Killer Bee BBQ Dry Rub

Kosmos Q Honey Killer Bee BBQ Dry Rub

For those of you looking for a more unique flavor, consider taking a look at the Kosmos Q Honey Killer BBQ Dry Rub. With its unique blend of spices, offering the perfect balance between savory flavors and a burst of sweet honey goodness, this rub will take your barbecuing experience to the next level.

The beauty of this smoked honey flavor is that it doesn’t just go nicely with ribs. Yes, it gives your ribs a divine, sticky, sweet flavor, but it can also be sprinkled on a range of other meats, casseroles, and even potatoes. The one downside is you might find your family and friends asking you to host every BBQ.

When we used this award-winning rub, we immediately fell in love with the mouthwatering explosion of sweet, yet smokey flavor our taste buds were greeted with. The dry rub was also very easy-to-use. This gives you the opportunity to customize your meats and blow your guests away.

If you don’t like too much spice on your ribs this could be the best option for you.

Pros

  • Beautiful flavors - The flavors this dry rub offers are phenomenal.
  • Not spicy - If you don’t like spice this rub is perfect for you.
  • Versatile - You can use this rub on a huge variety of food and meats.

Cons

  • Quite pricey - Considering the quantity you receive, this Kosmos Q dry rub is quite expensive.

Also available at: Kosmosq.com

Traeger Saskatchewan Dry Rub

Traeger Saskatchewan Dry Rub

Most people are aware that Taeger makes some of the best BBQ grills found in the US, but they are often surprised when they find out they make some pretty killer dry rubs too. Out of all the dry rubs Traeger has to offer, the best one for flavoring your ribs is the Saskatchewan dry rub. 

You can expect this dry rub to give any set of ribs a peppery, smoky aroma that takes you back to all those summer BBQs you had with your family when you were young. Each tin holds 10.3 oz of seasoning and can be used for a variety of meats including beef and poultry. We also enjoyed it with our barbecued veggies.

Coming in a neat aluminum tin, this dry rub is made using Traeger’s signature spice blend of herbs and garlic with a delicious hint of salt that works perfectly with ribs. If you’re a big lover of garlic and pepper you won’t want to miss out on this rub. 

Made from 100% natural ingredients, Traeger’s Saskatchewan dry rub is also gluten-free, GMO-free, and made in the USA. 

Pros

  • Great color - This dry rub doesn’t darken the ribs too much.
  • 100% natural - This dry rub is made from 100% natural ingredients.
  • Flavorful - Most importantly this dry rub makes your ribs taste good.

Cons

  • Not a traditional flavor - If you want a more traditionally tasting rack of ribs, this isn’t the rub for you.

Also available at: Traeger.com

Killer Hogs BBQ Rub

Killer Hogs BBQ Rub

For a more traditional sweet, smokey BBQ rib taste, look no further than this BBQ dry rub from Killer Hogs. 

Made from brown sugar, sugar, spices, salt, oleo resin paprika, orange peel, paprika, and natural flavor, this dry rub offers an enhanced, well-balanced, sweet, and smokey flavor with a great kick at the end.

Absolutely perfect for a juicy, succulent rack of barbecued ribs, this rub is also designed to be versatile enough to work well on other types of meat and veggies. Killer Hogs have been making dry rubs for over 10 years.

This one has been developed using the recipe used by their Championship BBQ team, giving you the chance to bring professional flavor to your cooking.

We were impressed with how consistent the results were when we used this rub. Time and time again the rub produced consistently flavorful ribs.

We can agree that the rub also works well with other meats and vegetables. We really enjoyed the rub with some juicy chicken drumsticks.

Pros

  • Ideal for traditional ribs - For traditional smoked rib flavors, this dry rub is hard to beat.
  • Reasonably priced - Available at a reasonable price, you get 16 ounces of dry rub per container.
  • Variety of uses - This rub can be used on a variety of meats and veggies.

Cons

  • Spicy - This rub has a spicy kick.

Also available at: H2qshop.com

Lambert’s Sweet Rub O’Mine

Lambert’s Sweet Rub O’Mine

The final dry rub for ribs on our list is another award winner. Winner of the Memphis In May Grand Championship BBQ Team, with this rub Lambert’s aims to provide balance, and in all fairness, they have done just that.

They have perfectly combined the ingredients to produce a flavor-packed rub that finds the perfect balance between heat and sweetness. This helps make the rub a good choice for almost everyone who enjoys a barbecued rack of ribs. 

As if that wasn’t enough, the Sweet Rubs O’Mine has such a versatile flavor that it can be used on almost any time of meat you want. Personally, we like to really rub this seasoning into our ribs before sprinkling it over our chicken thighs and maybe even some beef. 

If you seek a dry rub that offers a flavor that works well for everyone, is easy to use, and won’t blow your head off, we can’t think of a dry rub that would suit you more than this one. 

Pros

  • Well-balanced - The flavor of this rub isn’t too much or not enough. It is just right.
  • Award-winning - This dry rub has solid backing.
  • Great value for money - For how much you pay, this dry rub is excellent.

Cons

  • Spicy - If you don’t like a spicy kick to your meat, steer clear of this rub.

Also available at: Bbqproshop.com

Buyer’s Guide

Before making a decision, there are a number of things you need to take into consideration. To make things easier, we have discussed some of these things below. Take these factors into consideration if you want to make a decision you don’t later regret.

Ingredients

Obviously one of the most important things to think about before purchasing a dry rub is its ingredients. By this, we don’t just mean the overall flavor of the rub. Sadly, some dry rubs contain ingredients that are unhealthy or even unsafe. 

You should always check the product description before making your final decision to ensure you know exactly what is in the product.

We highly recommend buying a dry rub that is completely natural, containing no additives or msg. While msg isn’t generally considered unsafe, choosing a rub with completely natural ingredients 100% rules out negative health effects. 

Dry rubs that are organically sourced and not processed usually taste better anyway.

Flavors

We’ve probably all been there before. We’ve been looking forward to trying our new dry rub to then find out we simply can’t stand the flavors. This isn’t uncommon but can be avoided if you take more care when buying the dry rub. 

Some dry rubs are sweet and smoky, while others are mild and peppery. Some have almost no flavor at all, whilst others can be garlicky.

With so many options to pick from, it is important to take some time to think about what taste you want your ribs to have.

By working this out before looking for a dry rub, you can then look solely for the rubs that offer you the flavors you’re looking for. 

For example, if you want a sweet-tasting rack of ribs, it’s a good idea to look for a dry rub containing honey or sugars. On the other hand, if you want a spicier rack of ribs, look for a dry rub containing cayenne and paprika. 

Size Of Container

Dry rubs are sold in a variety of different containers. Some are sold in containers that can hold 7 ounces of seasoning, while others are sold in containers that can hold 14 ounces of dry rub. You might be thinking this isn’t important, but it can be. 

Obviously, a container holding 14 ounces of dry rub will last longer. Some 14-ounce containers hold enough seasoning for over 800 uses. Smaller containers will only have half the amount of use. Therefore, you will have to buy more dry rub sooner, costing you more money.

On top of that, some 7-ounce dry rubs might cost the same price as a 14-ounce container. By considering these factors you can ensure you don’t need to buy dry rub frequently and also save yourself some money.

Experience

You may be surprised to hear that not all dry rubs suit everyone. Occasionally, dry rubs are suited more to people with a vast knowledge of barbecuing and smoking.

Some dry rubs can even be suited more towards those who are just starting out. An example of this is the Cowtown rub from our list. Cowtown has designed this rub for people just starting to barbecue.

If you’re more experienced, you might prefer a dry rub that gives you a bit more bang for your buck.

This doesn’t mean you can’t use these rubs, but it is something you may want to consider. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take To Cook Ribs?

How long it takes you to cook your ribs depends on a number of factors. First of all, it depends on what sort of ribs you want. If you desire to fall off the bone ribs, cooking will take longer.

The type of barbecue or smoker you use will also play a part. Finally, how thick your ribs are and how hot your cooker is will also affect cooking time. 

To give you a general estimation, a rack of baby back ribs will take about 4 hours, while a full rack of spareribs may take as long as 6 hours.

How Long Should I Leave Dry Rub On My Ribs Before Cooking?

Usually, barbecuers leave the dry rub to sit on their ribs for at least 15 minutes to 2 hours before cooking. However, there isn’t really a correct answer to this question as it is down more to personal preference.

You will find individuals that simply slap the rub on and throw their ribs on the grill. You could find others that leave their ribs in the refrigerator overnight.

What Should I Do Before Applying The Dry Rub?

Before applying your dry rub, you should first remove the membrane from the meat. This should be done because it blocks the flavors from soaking into the meat.

After this, you can wash the meat in cool water before patting it dry with a paper towel. The final thing to do before applying any dry rub is to trim any excess fat off the ribs, leaving just enough fat to keep the ribs nice and tender.

Final Thoughts

Using the best dry rub on your BBQ ribs will take them to the next level, impressing your guests and leaving you wanting more. Whether you like a sweet and spicy flavored rack of ribs or something a little milder and traditional, our list of dry rubs has something for you.

All of the dry rubs on our list are easy to use, affordable, natural, and most importantly give your ribs an incredible flavor.

While the rubs on our list may vary in terms of the final flavor on offer, by using our buyer’s guide and taking your own preferences into account you should now have a good idea of which dry rub you want to use.

Now you just need to take some time to narrow down the list. Having said that, there’s no shame in trying out a few of the rubs from this list until you find the one you like best.

In fact, trying new flavors will only develop your barbecuing skills further. Who knows we might even be coming to you for the best dry rubs next time.

Lianne Jones
Lianne Jones


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