15 Best BBQ Rubs in The Barbecue World: Reviews 2024 | Smoke Gears

15 Best BBQ Rubs in The Barbecue World

During a beach party on a sunny day or in any sort barbecuing, you will need BBQ rubs to grill like a “Pitmaster.” 

Rubs can be used as a great alternative, if you want to avoid sauce but want to infuse extra flavor.

There are plenty of rubs out there in the supermarket. However, you can also make your own rub at home as well. 

Creating your own signature style general-purpose rub is another way to boost up your confidence in grilling or smoking.


BBQ rubs are a blend of spices and herbs. You can use this blend of spices on chicken, steak, pork, fish, shrimp, or turkey before barbecuing or grilling. The mixture of spices which is commonly known as rubs -could be sweet, salty, mild, or hot, to your taste.

If you know how to apply the rubs on the meat properly before cooking, you’re guaranteed to get juicy and tasty meat in every bite.

Different Types of Rubs

There are two types of rubs- dry rubs and wet rubs. Usually, dry rubs are vastly used or found in a super shop easily. 

In order to make a dry rub, you blend the dry or powdered ingredients in a large bowl. A dry rub can be stored in an air-tight container as well. 

On the other hand, to make a wet or paste-like rub, you have to add some oil or various kinds of sauces to the mix of seasonings

Also, depending on the key ingredient, and types of rubs you can find in the store or order online-best barbecue rubs can be divided into several categories, which are:

  • Best Brisket Rub for Smoking
  • Best General-Purpose Rubs
  • Best Rubs for Beef
  • Best Rubs for Lamb
  • Best Rubs for Chicken
  • Best Specialty Rubs

Our Top 5 Picks of BBQ Rub





Texas Brisket Rub
  • Best for brisket
  • All-purpose Gluten-Free BBQ Rub
  • Spices, salt, and sugar flavor
  • Suitable for outdoor grilling


Birds BBQ Rub
  • Gluten-free and designed for chicken
  • Well-adjusted flavor
  • Seasoning blends well with pig too


Original Rub
  • Nice flavor to smoke meats
  • Perfect for popcorn and potatoes too
  • Delicious Rib Rubs


Best BBQ Rub
  • All-purpose BBQ Rub
  • Good-looking color and great taste
  • Mild flavored


Plowboys Rub
  • Best for chicken and baby back ribs
  • Balanced and flavor for wings
  • Less sugar

15 Best BBQ Rubs Review

This guideline will help you to pick the best rub before your next grilling experience. In this section, we have reviewed the best barbecue rubs in the market. All these rubs come in different sizes and containers for the user.

One of the best rubs in the market, vastly used by barbecuers, and professional chefs. It is commonly known as “a great all-purpose seasoning.” You can also toss some vegetables into this rub. 

It offers a balanced mix of garlic, onion, salt, pepper, Chipotle and paprika. This rub comes in three flavors- mild, smoky and authentic.

The butt rub can be used with everything. It is gluten-free, thus, it indeed is healthy as well. The very popular dry rub can be found in the shelves of spices section of any supermarket across the US. You can also order it online. 

Highlighted Features

  • Multi-purpose
  • Gluten free
  • Contains micro-crystalline cellulose (a natural anti-caking agent)

The award-winning BBQ flavored rub is perfectly balanced to enhance the taste of your food.

It has a few ingredients and less sugar. However, you have to be little careful while using salt along with this rub as its dominant ingredient is salt. 

Many users consider it as an “exceptional all-around BBQ rub.” It has both the sweet and spicy flavor that will amuse you.

Yardbird’s ingredients also include Chili pepper, celery powder, mustard flour, disodium inosinate, and guanylate. It is also gluten-free. Therefore, if you have diabetes, don’t worry about applying this rub.

Highlighted Features

  • Yardbird Rub is durable
  • Perfect for baby back ribs and chicken
  • It has the right balance and flavor for wings

One of the best barbeque Rubs brings out the best in every meal. Its seasonings are balanced and the list of spices found in this rub includes-blend of salt, sugar, other spices and heat.

Chili pepper, evaporated cane juice, orange peel, mono-sodium glutamate, mustard flour, dill weed, turmeric (color), and natural flavor have been used in this rub. Both professional and armature cooks adore this rub. 

Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub adds the natural flavors in meat including on pork, beef, and poultry. It creates a beautiful, and mouth-watering textures. It is available online.

Highlighted Features

  • Versatile and all around BBQ Rub
  • It gives a beautiful color and taste
  • Mild flavored

Bone-Suckin' Seasoning & Rub is a very versatile rub, with a proprietary blend of paprika, brown sugar, garlic, and spices.

One of the best all-purpose general rubs is excellent on almost anything including pork, beef, ribs, vegetables, pasta, chicken, seafood, venison, beans, and steaks.

This certified rub is also gluten, and fat-free.It comes in both sweet and peppery flavor with just a little bit of heat. It doesn’t have any artificial flavor either. 

The same manufacturer also produces sauce of the same name which they export to over 80 countries around the world.

Highlighted Features

  • Adds nice flavor to grilled meats and veggies
  • Can be used with popcorn and potatoes
  • Rubs tastes delicious with rib

John Henry's Texas Brisket Rub is a perfect rub for brisket since it is designed to hold juices while penetrating the beef. It adds extra flavor in the brisket. This is an authentic Texas-style rub which is perfect for outdoor grilling. It also serves as “all-purpose rub” for its flavorful, balanced blend of sugar, salt, and spices. 

The gluten-free rub can be used before or after smoking meats. It is excellent with chicken, pork, steak, ribs, and even fish. It contains 1% sodium aluminosilicate to prevent caking.

This award-winning rub is “Certified Go Texan Product” by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Highlighted Features

  • Best Brisket Rub for Smoking
  • Has a natural smoke flavor
  • Works excellent on fish especially on Salmon

Santa Maria Steak Seasoning offers a unique California style classic BBQ Flavor.
This rub combines the flavors of pungent pepper, creamy garlic, and spicy chilies with just the right amount of natural sea salt.

It tastes great with your favorite cut of beef. Rooted in California, this rub resembles Mexican style.

We suggest you try it with hanger steaks, tri-tip, brisket, sirloins, skirt steaks, ribeyes, and filet mignon. You can use it even with vegetables, pork, grilled seafood, chicken and chicken legs for enhanced flavor and taste.

It is one of the best rubs for beef. Natural rub doesn’t contain any MSG, fillers, artificial colors, flavors or additives.

Highlighted Features

  • Contains enriched garlic, spicy chilies, and pungent pepper flavor
  • Not too salty, and a great rub for steaks
  • It also a great “kick” rub for fish and poultry

Za'atar is a unique flavor and seeds including oregano and mingles marjoram with exotic sumac and sesame seeds. These ingredients are roasted to get the full flavor.

This Rub is very healthy as it contains natural herbs and no sugar and salt. You can turn it into a paste-like a rub just by adding a little olive oil. It can be used as a perfect spread on pieces of bread to eat a snack or appetizer. 

You can also sprinkle a little bit of Zatar on top of vegetables or in meat marinades to make your oven-roasted dishes which are phenomenal. It is one of the best seasonings to season lamb before grilling.

Highlighted Features

  • It is an excellent rub for savory dishes
  • This fantastic rub can be used with simple dishes like soup, beans, salads and many more
  • Tastes good on pizza dough

This Colorado rub has a lemon peel, basil, and spearmint. It also contains salt, fructose, and black pepper to bring balance this spice blend. 

Mint has always been a classic combination of lamb. It adds amazing flavor to the lamb during grilling. 

You don’t want to ruin the lamb with the wrong spice mix. Therefore, you should use this rub which is explicitly blended for lamb.

This amazing rub also contains fructose, spearmint, sesame seeds, lemon peel, basil, among other spices. The Kosher certified rub doesn’t contain dyes, artificial colors or MSG.
You can place your order online to purchase New Zealand lamb rub.

Highlighted Features

  • Contains fructose as the 2nd ingredient
  • Colorado Spice is a great lamb at a reasonable price
  • It smells like home-made rub

If you like the sweet taste in your barbecue or grill, then this is a perfect dry rub for you. It goes well with chicken. 

“Honey Killer Bee BBQ” rub will take your cooking to the next level, by adding finger-licking flavors to any meat. 

In 2015, it won World Steak Champion, for its savory-sweet flavor, with a feel of honey. As this brilliant rub contains ground spices, it is also a perfect mix of species for injecting.

Honey rub also contains honey powder (pure syrup honey), dextrose, celery, no greater than 2% silicon dioxide to prevent caking. It has no MSG and indeed is gluten-free.

Highlighted Features

  • You can use this rub while baking
  • Has an extra spicy “kick.”
  • Blends well with a brisket

McCormick Grill rub is one of the best rubs to season chicken. Made with McCormick spice, and herbs-this absolute perfect rub contains no MSG. 

The perfect mild blend of garlic, salt, onion, peppers, orange peel, and paprika- makes it ideal for chicken, pork and seafood dishes simultaneously. 

But you have to be little careful on the amount you are going to use as this rub can be a little salty. You might want to add some cayenne or chipotle powder if you're going to spice it further up. 

Both expert and backyard cook keep this rub in their kitchen.

Many seasonings and herbs are added in this rub including black pepper, parsley, and red pepper, orange peel, green bell peppers, and sulfating agents. No artificial flavor or colors added to this product.

Highlighted Features

  • You can use it with anything including chicken, pork and seafood
  • It goes well with various cuisines such as Chinese and French
  • This rub doesn’t contain any MSG
  • It has sulfite preservatives

Old Bay seasoning is one of the classic rubs especially suitable for seafood. Its specialty list of seasonings includes a blend of herbs and spices including McCormick celery salt, paprika, and red and black peppers. But it has no MSG or hydrogenated oil

The bpa-free package makes it easy to use, shake, sprinkle and pour. 

One of its secret ingredients is celery seed mixed with the right amount of salt, black and red peppers. The classic rub also contains 18 other herbs and spices.

Old Bay is widely famous across the US, from the east coast to west coast. 

Highlighted Features

  • Contains 18 spices and herbs
  • It makes crab delicious on the grill
  • This seasoning increases the taste of seafood

From its name you can tell that this seasoning contains the distinctive spicy flavor of the Caribbean. 

In the Caribbean Islands chicken and pork are grilled using authentic herbs and seasonings. This rub is an authentic commercial rub found in the market which has balanced the red pepper and ginger aroma and heat. 

You can mix use it to marinate seafood marinade with oil, lime juice, and green onions. This can also be used with mustard for a thick spicy coating for pork. 

This amazing rub also includes Jamaican pimento, ginger, celery, mustard, crushed pepper in the mix. It doesn’t have any artificial flavor. 

Highlighted Features

  • Versatile rub which can be used on anything
  • Adds a fancy flavor to grilled corn
  • This Jamaican rub is very popular for its amazing smell
  • It tastes great with both barbecue or grill

One of the best rubs to make a burger patty. But it is also a great rub to go with chicken, pork or seafood

Made with McCormick spices, Smokehouse Maple has a potent combination of onion, garlic, along with brown sugar and maple syrup. 

Thus, it is balanced and offers both sweet and sour savor for your taste buds. In addition to the seasonings, this dry rub also consists of paprika, chili pepper, red bell pepper, and natural flavor. Artificial flavors or no MSG are added in the mix. 

Various color palettes of peppers and paprika make the rub very vibrant and colorful. The firm flavored rub comes in a shaker bottle. 

Highlighted Features

  • Smokehouse Maple is formulated without gluten
  • It is a sweet rub
  • One of the best rubs for barbecue

This Mediterranean spice blend has received excellent reviews from the users over the years. It is one of the low sodium spice mixtures available in the market. But it contains high-quality ingredients to make to enhance the flavor in your meal. 

This BBQ rub is made with rosemary, basil, sun-dried tomato, orange peel, dried onion, sunflower oil, yeast, and sea salt. It doesn’t have any MSG or non-natural flavor. It is also gluten-free.

Highlighted Features

  • A low sodium spice mix
  • Goes well with stir fry
  • As it is all-purpose seasoning, works great for ribs and steaks on the grill

Dirty Bird BBQ is another award-winning rub to take your cooking to the next level. This special BBQ rub is designed for chicken, but it also works perfectly as a complete seasoning and adds a spicy kick to any meat. You can never go wrong with this amazing dirty BBQ rub.

It brings BBQ goodness to your meat because of the mixture with signature spices.
This original MSG-free, gluten-free rub blend is full of healthy flavor.

You can use this rub with vegetables as well. All you have to do is, sprinkle a small amount of the seasoning to enhance the flavor of casseroles, potatoes, baked beans, and many more.

Highlighted Features

  • Gluten-free and designed for poultry
  • Balanced flavor and heat
  • The savory seasoning blends well with pork too

Why you should trust us, how we picked and tested

When it comes to grill beef, beef ribs or any kind of meat, I personally prefer only using salt and pepper like Texans. But once in a while, experimenting with other ingredients and store-bought BBQ Rubs make my grilling experience a good one. 

Therefore, I never miss a chance to mess around with various kinds of rubs- especially at my own BBQ parties on special occasions. 

I have used all the above mentioned best Rubs in my life. Based on rub applications in real life, we sorted the best BBQ rubs for you.

The enlisted best rubs are in fact-checked after thorough research and comparing them with similar products online.

Why should you buy BBQ rub?

In our busy lives, it sometimes becomes difficult to spend spare time to prepare home-made rubs. Buying BBQ rubs is an easy solution to the problem, as it saves time. 

Moreover, experienced chefs and backyard cooks have been using store bought or ready made BBQ rubs for generations after generations. 

Things You Must Consider Before Buying the BBQ Rubs

There are so many different options out there; it can be hard to pick the right one for perfectly grilled or barbecued meat.

However, there a few factors you should take into consideration before buying BBQ rubs.

Not all rubs are right for all meats: 

Not all of them work on all foods or meats. Therefore, if you are planning to buy the BBQ rubs from store you should keep this factor in mind. 

Also, read the descriptions written on the bottle or container before purchasing the BBQ rubs. From those descriptions, you can find the ingredients that have been used in the rubs. 

Since different ingredients are suitable for different kinds of meats, therefore, don’t forget to check out that factor. Otherwise, you might end up getting the wrong rub. 

Some rubs are only made for vegetables or fish just. Be careful about that as well. 

Proportions of the Ingredients:

Salt is a key ingredient in commercial rubs. Since its cheaper and available compared with other ingredients, many significant manufacturers use it to reduce costs. But it could destroy the balance of the proportions of the ingredients. 

Thus, avoid the rubs that are mostly salt such as seasoning salt. A quality or good commercial rub uses salt and sugar sparingly to enhance the flavor of the other ingredients.

On the other hand, a rub that contains lots of sugar will burn quickly. 

Your Taste:

Some people prefer their barbecue to be spicy, while others prefer it to be sweet or sour. It all depends on your personal choice or your friends and family. 

Some rubs are too spicy while some are mild and sweet flavored. You should consider these factors while purchasing a manufactured rub and pick the one that suits you the best.

Style of Grilling:

As we already have discussed that there is a difference between grilling and barbecuing. Depending on what you are going to do, you have to select your rub. Because, not every rub is perfect for both grill, and barbecue. 

Best BBQ Rubs

Commercial rubs bring together various spices. So before you buy any rub, make sure it goes with your grilling style. Not all BBQ rubs are complimentary with the weather and grilling style of the state you live in. For example, Californians prefer different kind of rubs than Texans. 

On the contrary, with home-made rubs, you will have better control to choose the spices of your choice.


Everybody loves colorful, and flavored barbecued or grilled items. Therefore, while picking up rub or seasonings for fish, it is a good idea to go with savory herb rub.

There are specific store bought rubs to particular items of meats which also depend on the flavor you are the desire to achieve. Some rubs are mild; some are authentic while others are sweet. BBQ flavored seasonings are also available in the market. 

Seeds and Middle Eastern herbs bring authentic taste and color to your grill. 

Price and other health-related factors should be considered before buying BBQ Rubs from store or online.

The Common Ingredients in Most Rubs

Whether you create your own rub at home or buy the best BBQ Rub, generally, a few essential ingredients are common in almost every rub. Those ingredients are Sugar, Salt, Pepper, and Paprika.

Salt: Salt is the most essential in any rub. The right amount of salt –used in proper proportion along with other seasonings enhances the taste of your overall BBQ’ed items.
Besides regular salt, you can also use sea salt and kosher salt in your rub. Many readymade rubs use kosher salt as one of their key ingredients. 

Sugar: Sugar is a flavor enhancer. You can either use raw or refined sugar in your recipe. A lot of people prefer using brown sugar in their rubs. 

Pepper: Ground white or black pepper is the second most essential element for any rub. I always use black pepper in any recipe. A lot of people also use chipotle pepper to bring extra spicy flavors.

Paprika: Most of the pit masters use a lot of paprika in their rub to bring texture and strong flavor in the smoked items. It also adds color to your food. I personally prefer using a lot of paprika while grilling beef.

How to apply a rub

There are a few simple methods to follow in the art of using a rub. You have to understand the basics of barbecuing in order to apply a rub on the meat. For instance, while grilling chicken or turkey- you should first rinse the chicken and then pat it almost dry.

Next step is, applying the rub on chicken pieces. You have to coat every chicken piece evenly if you are going to grill the entire chicken coat the chicken with rub.

For steaks, marinade the steak first and then apply the rub into the steak. Amount of rub used in the steak depends on- how much you enjoy the flavor of the grill rub.

While grilling or barbecuing pork- you should use the grill rub before and during grilling.

First, take the pig and rub the spices into the meat as much as possible. 

Next, when the meat is at a suitable temperature but not yet 100% cooked, you could try adding a little more rub. 

You should sprinkle the rub on them before grilling fish or shrimp. You can use a brush to add wet rub. And big bowl for dry rub. Dip shrimp or fish into the bowl for coating with the rub.

What you need to know about applying a dry rub overnight

If you let all the different meats mentioned above to have some moisture; you should use the rub sink in overnight. 

To get that extra flavor, you can wrap the meat loosely or toss into a plastic bag and keep it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

While using a dry rub, the most common question people ask is: “How do you get the rub to stick to the meat?”

Some people let the moisture of the meat hold the rub in place, using the re-hydrating method. 

But using olive oil or some yellow mustard is another way to get the rub stick to the meat. Then, you can coat the meat with rubs, and store it in the freezer overnight for the flavor to soak in.

As a result, when you barbecue or grill them, the next day in the fire, you get tendered meat. 

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Q-1: What is the best store bought rib rub?

Ans: There are many great stores bought rib rub in the market. It is really hard to pick the best one from all these options. But Killer Hogs ‘The BBQ Rub’ is the most popular among the barbecue lovers.

Q-2: Why do you dry rub meat?

Ans: Dry rubs enhance the flavor of the meat. If you can apply it correctly before grilling, the dry rub will give you juicy mouth-watering meat.

Q-3: Should you rub ribs overnight?

Ans: Coating the ribs with the dry rub overnight will give you a slice of juicy meat as the rub will get deeper into the meat. It is always a better plan to coat the rib with rub and refreeze it a day before you would smoke.

Q-4: Should I rub my ribs the night before?

Ans: Yes, if possible. A lot of people prefer applying the rub an hour before smoking them while many coat the meat with rub just right before the grilling. But the application of dry rub the night before smoking enhances the taste of the meats.

Q-5: How long should a dry rub sit on meat?

Ans: It depends on how much seasonings and presence of flavor you want in your meats. But applying the dry rubs at least an hour before smoking them is the best idea to get the authentic aroma of seasonings that come from the rubs.

Q-6: Should I marinate my ribs overnight?

Ans: Many experienced cooks prefer marinating the ribs overnight. You can rub the dry rub and wrap the meat in a ziplock bag or foil paper and store it in the freezer overnight.

Q-7: Is Dry Rub better than marinade?

Ans: The marinade is used to tenderize the meat while rubs are used for extra flavors. Dry rubs don’t have liquid components in it while the wet rubs are paste-like. You can marinade the meats and then add dry rubs in it before cooking.

Q-8: How do you tenderize a steak on the grill?

Ans: By using a meat mallet or enzymatic marinade, steak you can get the tender steak. After marinating, you will have to cook slow cook it on the grill to get the steak you desire.

Q-9: How long should you marinate ribs with a dry rub?

Ans: Marinating is very important to get a delicious grilled rib. Usually, with a dry rub, you can marinate the ribs for an hour before cooking but rub the dry rub overnight on the rib if possible.

Q-10: What is the difference between a rub and seasoning?

Ans: A dry rub is a mixture of ground spices including salt, sugar, and paprika while seasoning could be any spice including salt and black pepper to enhance the flavor of any food. Seasonings could be a blend of various spices and herbs.


If you are a meat lover, you know how it feels to be at a great outdoor BBQ party in warm weather. You have to understand the differences between barbecuing and grilling, and know how to use rub properly on the meat, if you don’t want your foods to be under-cooked or overcooked. 

Now that you know the details about the art of grilling enjoy a sunny day with a beer in hand while eating barbecued or grilled meat along with your friends and family. Utilize the best BBQ rubs wisely to enjoy the tastiest of delicacies.

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Theresa Lori

Hi, I'm Theresa. My passion for grilling delicacy gradually built during the time I was living with my parents. My family members especially my mother was a great fan of grilled dishes to and from the love of food. I started preparing smoked food with my mom. This bonding helped me to know more and more about to smoke, grill what always I share on SmokeGears.com. So, in two words you can call me a BBQ lover.

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