Beef Rib Rub

By Ben Isham-Smith


The best beef rib rub for smoked short, beef back, chuck, or plate ribs. Loaded with paprika, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar, this simple seasoning will take your smoked beef ribs to the next level.

herb spice beef rib dry rub seasoning

A beef rib rub is a great way to add an added layer of flavor to your smoked ribs. With a simple coating before smoking, a good rib rub will crystalize and caramelize to infuse your slow-smoked beef with some deep sweetness and a touch of spice.

Everyone has their own go-to reliable smoked beef rib seasoning, and we are no different. Whether we’re cooking beef back ribs or smoked short ribs, this dry rub is good for all beef cuts and all seasons.

Our beef rib rub recipe blends smoked paprika, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper to create the perfect balance between sweet and mild earthy heat. Discover how to make the best beef rib rub today with our easy seasoning recipe. Let’s get smoking!

smoked beef ribs seasoned with dry rub blend

What is a Dry Rub?

A dry rub is a blend of dried herbs and spices used to enhance the flavor of cooked meat. It is applied to the meat surface before it is cooked so that it can harden and crystalize, providing an outer layer of delicious flavor.

There are a wide variety of BBQ rub recipes and blends out there, each with its own unique blend of herbs, spices, and sugars. Whether you’re making a blend for ribs, chuck roast, or simple chicken breast, a good dry rub should include these four basic elements:

  • Sugar: Sugar performs several functions in dry rub, and doesn’t just provide sweetness. It also helps to form a delicious caramelized crust via the Maillard Reaction, as well as balancing out the bitter and acidic flavors that are common in barbecued food. While artificial sweeteners can replace the sweet flavors of sugar, they can’t replicate the chemical properties to help brown and caramelize the meat.
  • Savory: Adding savory elements like garlic or onion powder helps to balance out the salt and sugar, adding subtle levels of flavor.
  • Spice: Even for people who tend to avoid hot spices, the addition of mild ingredients like smoked paprika, fresh black pepper, or ginger can help add a subtle sharp note to complement the rich beef flavors.
  • Salt: Like with any recipe or ingredient blend it’s added to, salt helps to intensify flavors and reduce bitterness.

Quick Tips

  1. If you’re averse to a little bit of heat, feel free to dial down the cayenne pepper. Likewise, if you love a kick of spice, add some extra chili powder, or even ancho chili powder for a dash of extra smoke.
  2. Apply this rub liberally to your beef rib rack. Aim for an even coating across the meat surface, and use your hands to work it into any gaps or dents in the meat surface.
herb spice beef rib dry rub seasoning

Beef Rib Rub

5 from 3 votes
The best beef rib rub for smoked short, beef back, chuck, or plate ribs. Loaded with paprika, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar, this simple seasoning will take your smoked beef ribs to the next level.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Course: Dry Rub
Cuisine: American, BBQ
Servings: 10
Calories: 63kcal


  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard

Dry Rub Seasoning

  • ¼ cup smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • ¼ cup ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt


  • In a small bowl, combine all the dry rub ingredients. Use a fork to crush or remove any lumps that may form.
  • Trim any excess fat off your beef ribs. Rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Apply a thin layer of yellow mustard to the ribs, covering all sides
  • Apply the rub to the ribs, covering all sides generously and working into any crevices or folds in the meat
  • Smoke immediately


Calories: 63kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Sodium: 832mg | Potassium: 278mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 3326IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2mg

About the Author

Ben Isham-Smith

A BBQ obsessive, Ben is behind 250+ of The Online Grill’s recipes, as well as countless barbecue guides to help barbecue newbies get to grips with the world’s best form of cooking.

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