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This basic BBQ rub is a flavorful dry rub to use on all your favorite meats! It’s a little smokey and a little sweet – the perfect combination to make all your grilled meats taste amazing.

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I would have to say that grilling is my favorite cooking method. The high heat cooks everything so fast and the flavor you get from the grill is unmatched. There is an extra step though when grilling to ensure you get the most flavorful meal — seasoning!

This basic BBQ rub is called basic for a reason. It has a short ingredient list that you likely already have in your pantry, but don’t let the basic part fool you. The method and ingredient list is basic but the flavor is anything but basic! It is a sweet and smokey flavor and has the right amount of heat. It has that hint of garlic and onion and it’s just such a tasty rub!

I love generously sprinkling this on my chicken thighs before grilling. It gives the chicken the most amazing exterior. The sugar caramelizes on the grill and gives it a nice crust and char. You can really honestly use this on a variety of meats like chicken or pork.

What You’ll Need:

  • Brown sugar – you can use light or dark, whatever you have on hand. Flavor changes will be very subtle, hardly even noticeable honestly.
  • Salt + pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Smoked paprika – one of my favorite spices and one that you should not omit or substitute! It gives it that smokey, rich flavor
  • Dried parsley
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried oregano
  • Cayenne pepper – this gives it a little bit of heat. If you like more, add more! Otherwise, it should be relatively mild as is.

Common questions

What can you use this basic bbq rub on? Generally, I like using it on poultry such as chicken and pork.

Can you use this rub if you’re not grilling? Yes, I’ve baked with this rub before! Sprinkle it on before baking and make sure you’re not sticking it under the broiler or on an oven rack at the top. It’ll burn.

Can I double this recipe and store it for later? Yes! I would keep it in an airtight container and since it contains brown sugar, to prevent it from hardening, I would put a slice of white bread into the container as well to keep it moist.

Fire up that grill for more tasty recipes!

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5 from 1 vote

Basic BBQ Rub

A sweet and smokey rub to use on all your meats for grilling!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cup


  • ¾ cup (165 g) brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
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  • In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients and generously sprinkle on poultry before grilling or baking.


Serving: 1cup, Calories: 681kcal, Carbohydrates: 174g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 3544mg, Potassium: 473mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 161g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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