When I first embarked on a carnivore diet, I quickly discovered that a BBQ rub holds a lot of sway over how the meat will taste when it’s done. Since then, I’ve tried every single BBQ rub I came across.
I experimented using different rubs with different cooking styles — smoky, spicy, rub packed with herbs… I’ve tried it all. I’ll give you my list of the best BBQ rubs you can buy today and a buying guide to make it easy for you to decide.
Our Top 15 Best BBQ Rubs
Meat Church Holy Gospel BBQ Rub
Meat Church puts a lot of stock into their BBQ rub. They even called it the Holy Gospel, and I agree, it’s divinely good. This rub is a combo is Meat Church’s Holy Cow and Gospel, and it has mild, smokey, and peppery primary flavors.
I found Holy Gospel very versatile, but I used it the most as a rub on chicken, ribs, and beef. I also liked it when added to roast vegetables.
Its main ingredients are sugar, celery, garlic, paprika, and dehydrated garlic, which work together nicely to enhance the flavor of any BBQ dish. You can apply it to the meat and leave the rub overnight, or just apply it half an hour before cooking.
The only part of this rub I wasn’t impressed with is the calorie count. If you’re watching what you eat, you may want to skip this one. Otherwise, I had no other complaints.
- Ready to cook in 30 minutes
- Can be applied to all kinds of meat
- Brings out natural meat flavors
- Pricey compared to other best BBQ rubs
- Size 14 oz
- Primary flavors: sugar, paprika, celery
Traeger Winemaker's Napa Valley Rub
Traeger doesn’t only manufacture world-class grills but also high-quality rubs. I found their Napa Valley Rub works better with chicken and fish than red meat. I especially liked it with roast vegetables, hash browns, and potatoes.
Traeger doesn’t list all the BBQ rub ingredients, which I wasn’t thrilled about. I always want to know what the food I’m using contains. However, they do say their rub is Kosher and GMO-free.
I used this rub with my Traeger pellet, and it paired best with their Apricot BBQ sauce and Winemaker pellets.
The rub comes packed in aluminum tins, which are durable and keep the rub fresh for a long time.
- Kosher, gluten-free, and Gmo-free
- Packed in aluminum tins
- Made in the USA
- Traeger doesn’t list ingredients
- Size 10.5 oz
- Primary flavors: fennel, garlic, and red wine
Killer Hogs The BBQ Rub
This BBQ rub was used by the championship-winning Killer Hogs BBQ team. They claim they’ve spent 13 years developing it, and based on the rub quality, I believe them. It has a sweet and smokey flavor balanced with just a hint of chili kick.
I like that this rub can be used on its own, but it’s also easy to modify, so it can be used in all kinds of barbecues. Its ingredients are sugar, salt, onion powder, chili powder, garlic, orange peel, dill weed, mustard, and a few more.
They work well together to give this rub a flavor that compliments the meat well. I used it the most with pork butts and ribs. It gave the pork a mahogany bark and natural flavors.
I also liked that this sweet rub comes in a good size — 12 oz, so it’ll last for a while. It comes in thick granules, so it’s easy to apply.
- Can be used on its own or easily modified
- Pairs well with all kinds of meat
- Comes in thick granules for easy application
- Flavor too mild for some users
- Size 12 oz
- Primary flavors: sweet and smokey
Plowboys Yardbird Rub
Yardbird rub is a sweet rub created by winners of the 2009 American Royal Invitational BBQ competition.
Plowboys is a rub specifically made for a pork and chicken dish. I find this both a pro and a con. It’s a pro because you’ll have a perfect rub that works with your favorite chicken or pork, but it’s a con because you’ll have to buy more BBQ rubs for other kinds of meat, which means a higher expense. That being said, I did find it worked well with seafood too.
This chicken rub is mild with only a touch of sweetness and heat, so it enhances the natural chicken flavor when barbecued. I also used it with chicken in a stir fry and a chicken burrito.
Its main ingredients are sugar, chili pepper, garlic, onion, mustard flour, chili pepper, and celery seed.
It comes in a package of 14 oz, so it’ll last for months even if you frequently barbecue.
- Large size, so it’ll last a long time
- No fat formula
- Works well with seafood
- Doesn’t work well with all kinds of meat, only poultry, and pork
- Size 14 oz
- Primary flavors: sugar, paprika, chili, garlic, salt, and mustard
Lillie's Q ' No16 Carolina Dirt' BBQ Rub
The next rub is ideal for slow-cooked meats, so if you plan to grill or smoke, this could be the rub for you. I also liked using it on fries, as it gives them a sweet flavor.
This rub is manufactured in Carolina, and it got its name from the dirt-red Carolina soil. It gives a subtle flavor and intensifies the southern-style barbecue.
This isn’t the most budget-friendly rub, as it comes in a package of 3.5 oz, so if you’re a frequent rub user, you’ll have to stock up often.
Its ingredients are paprika, sugar, brown sugar, dehydrated onion, and garlic.
You don’t have to rub in this BBQ rub but only sprinkle it on your food as little as 15 minutes before cooking.
- Can be used 15 minutes before cooking
- Works well with slow-cooked food
- Gives meat a sweet flavor
- Small package means frequent restocking and more expense
- Size 3.5 oz
- Primary flavors: sweet, salty, and garlicky
Lawry’s Perfect Blend Chicken Rub
Lawry’s will do the job extremely well if you need a chicken rub,. This rub is specially made for chicken and poultry, and I found it brings out the best chicken flavor. I also successfully used it in burger patties.
While it works best when barbecuing, I experimented with roasted, baked, and braised chicken, and it paired well with those as well.
My favorite part of Lawry’s Perfect Blend is the huge package — it comes in a 24.5 oz bottle, which is the second-largest bottle on this list. This is more than enough dry rub if you’re a professional chef or cook for a large gathering.
Its main ingredients are garlic, sea salt, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and onion.
- Works well as a dry rub for chicken but also salad dressing and burger patties
- Comes in a huge package
- Can be used for grilling, baking, broiling, and roasting
- Difficult to find in stores and should be ordered online
- Size 24.5 oz
- Primary flavors herbs and spices
Hardcore Carnivore 'Black' BBQ Rub
Carnivore dry rub is perfect if you cook a lot of red meat, such as beef and steak. What makes this rub stand out is the list of ingredients: sea salt, sugar, garlic, onion, other spices, and activated charcoal made from coconut husks.
This dry rub adds mild flavors to your meat, so it works well as a rib rub, or on chicken and brisket. It creates a nice-looking black crust, thanks to the charcoal. I was able to create the perfect sear on each steak with only a little of this dry rub. However, I wish the charcoal was a little more noticeable in terms of flavor.
It’s made in Texas, and keto-friendly, so you can use it even on a strict Keto diet.
- Comes in a large package
- Gives good texture to steaks
- Charcoal flavor barely noticeable
- Size 13 oz
- Primary flavors: spicy, pepper, and salt
Bad Byron's Butt Rub Barbecue Seasoning
The company says this dry rub is a favorite of professional chefs and barbecue cooks everywhere, and it found itself on my favorite list as well.
What makes Bad Byron’s Butt Rub barbeque stand out is the chipotle powder, which gives it a kick at the finish. Other ingredients include salt, black pepper, granulated paprika, granulated garlic, and onion.
I liked how versatile it is. I used it with chicken, beef, and pork, and it worked well with all kinds of meat, but especially pulled pork. I also used it with fish and vegetables, and it paired well thanks to its subtle blend and smoky profile.
It arrived in a 26 oz package, which is the largest on this list, and it took me months to get to the bottom of the bottle.
- Easily modifiable
- Works well with most meats, especially pork butt, pork chops, and pork ribs
- Comes in a huge package
- Too salty for some users
- Size 26 oz
- Primary flavors: mild and smokey
Spiceology 'Sasquatch BBQ Dirt' Espresso Chile Beef Rub
This rub is different from others I’ve mentioned — it’s a specialized beef rub. It has a nice earthly flavor.
The company says they only use natural ingredients, which I found to be true. The ingredient list says this dry rub contains brown sugar, espresso powder, black pepper, salt, and activated charcoal. There aren’t any fillers.
I was especially curious how espresso would work as a seasoning, but it made other flavors, such as brown sugar, stand out more.
Apart from beef, I used this rub on pork where it created a nice crusty bark, but I don’t recommend it for chicken, as the flavor is too rich and overpowering for poultry.
- Excellent rub for beef
- Good price to value
- Contains only natural ingredients
- Doesn’t work well with poultry
- Size 20 oz
- Primary flavors: sweet, spicy, and a hint of espresso
Lambert’s Sweet Rub O’ Mine
If you’re looking for a sweet rub that works on all kinds of dishes, this could be the one. Sweet Rub O’Mine is an all-purpose rub that has five flavors. It can be used to enhance the BBQ taste or for everyday seasoning.
The ingredients are dehydrated garlic, turbinado sugar, evaporated cane juice, mustard flour, salt, and more. My favorite is the turbinado sugar which really made the sweet taste stand out. However, it also contains additives that deepen the color, such as MSG, which some people may be sensitive to.
I used this barbecue rub on beef, pork, chicken, and veggies.
- Works especially well with pulled pork
- Has a nice sweet taste
- The ingredients bring out natural meat flavors
- Contains MSG, which is an additive
- Size 12.5 oz
- Primary flavors: sugar, mustard, and garlic
Szeged Rib Rub
Like the name says, this rub is best used as a rib rub. That being said, I tried using this dry rub with pork, chicken, and steak, and it worked well. I was satisfied with how the meat tasted in the end.
One package contains 6 tin packs of 5 oz bottles, so this should last for a while. I like that the bottles are tin, as many commercial rubs come in plastic containers.
The ingredients are paprika, mustard seed, other spices, and salt. They work well and enhance the rib flavor without being too overpowering.
- Excellent rub for ribs
- Comes in a package of 6 tins
- Works well with pork-based dishes
- Too salty for some users
- Size 6 tins of 5 oz
- Primary flavors: salty, with a hit of spice
Lane's BBQ Signature Rub
Lane’s BBQ signature rub is an all-purpose seasoning mix that can be applied to any part of the meal. I tried it with all kinds of meat: beef, pork, chicken, as well as seafood, such as shrimp. I even used it with eggs and pasta. It goes well with literally any food.
This is mostly due to its ingredients: black pepper, kosher salt, smoked paprika, thyme, coriander, and ground mustard. The ingredients are all-natural and gluten-free. There aren’t any preservatives.
This is one of the rare rubs that doesn’t contain any sugar, so it’s good if you’re trying to lose weight. It’s also suitable for a Keto diet.
- All-purpose rub that works with all kinds of food
- Only has natural ingredients
- Flavor too mild for some users
- Size 4.6 oz
- Primary flavors: mild and salty
Boom Boom Chicken Spice Rub
As the name says, this rub is made specifically for chicken. However, I tried it with other poultry, such as turkey, and also vegetables, and I was satisfied with the flavor.
The ingredients are a blend of szechuan, garlic powder, brown sugar, and paprika, and there’s a noticeable pepper flavor. All the ingredients are natural and gluten and GMO-free.
The size of the package is 6.3 oz which isn’t the biggest on this list by far. But, you should use only about 1/4 teaspoon per serving, so you’ll have enough rub for about 288 servings, which will last a long time.
- Natural ingredients
- Lasts for 288 servings
- Enhances natural chicken flavor
- Doesn’t work well with red meats
- Size 6.3 oz
- Primary flavors: salty and peppery
Snake River Farms Perfect Pork Rub
I’m a big fan of Snake River Farms’ meats, so I had to try their barbecue rub as well. This rub is intended for use with pork only. I tried it as a pork butt rub barbeque seasoning, ribs, pork shoulders, and tenderloins and was blown away by the flavor.
Snake River Farms says they worked with barbecue professionals to develop the pork rub. One thing I’d love is if they listed all the ingredients. They only state the rub contains brown sugar, pecan, cherry, and a blend of secret spices.
Also, this is far from the largest bottle on this list, but it was enough for a few uses.
- Works well with all kinds of pork
- Comes in a shatterproof container
- Has a nice sweet flavor
- Doesn’t have a full list of ingredients
- Size 6.5 oz
- Primary flavors sweet and fruity
Bone Suckin' Sauce Bone Suckin' Original Seasoning and Rub
This versatile rub can be used on all kinds of barbecue meats. I also tried it with vegetables and seafood and was pleased with the results.
This rub will satisfy many users, as it has a mild flavor. It’s not too salty or spicy, but it enhances the meat flavors just enough without being overpowering.
The ingredients are chili pepper, red bell pepper, celery powder, and critic acid. This is a family recipe that comes from Raleigh, North Carolina, so it’s a proprietary blend of ingredients.
- Affordable price
- No MSG or additives
- Works with all kinds of meat and seafood
- Flavor too mild for some users
- Size 5.8 oz
- Primary flavors: sweet and peppery
Here’s what you should keep in mind when looking for the best BBQ rubs:
1. Dry vs. Wet Rub
Rubs come in two forms: wet and dry. The majority of rubs are dry, and they have a mix of spices and dried herbs, such as orange peel, honey powder, cayenne pepper, cane sugar, smoked jalapeno, and more. Wet rubs have olive oil, vinegar, or a tomato base.
A wet rub may need to be applied more than once, while a dry can be applied once.
Also, there are differences in flavor. Only wet rubs have Worcestershire sauce flavor, while a dry rub can have a natural hickory smoke flavor or a savory flavor.
2. Rub Style
BBQ dry rubs come in different styles:
- Texas — Sweet and chili flavor
- Memphis style rub — Savory and sweet flavor
- Kansas City — Thick and sweet, good for smoke flavor
- Carolina BBQ — Best pork rubs
Ingredients will determine how the rub tastes, so you should carefully check them.
Great BBQ rubs will contain natural ingredients without any additives such as MSG. Some specialty rubs tend to include a lot of MSG, which can be toxic, and some people have adverse reactions to it .
Another thing to consider is the content of sugar and seasoning salt. Salt is often used as a bulking agent, and high salt content can lead to heart and kidney damage .
Too much sugar leads to a risk of dying of heart disease . Also, sugar burns at 375 degrees, so grilling meat with a sugary rub at high temperatures will lead to bitterness and burning.
Are Dry Rubs Good for Grilling?
Yes, dry rubs are good for grilling. They are a blend of spices that give the meat a smoky flavor when grilled.
Should I Dry Rub My Ribs Overnight?
Yes, you should dry rub your ribs overnight for about 1o to 12 hours.
What’s the Best BBQ Rub for You?
Out of all the rubs I used, the BBQ rub I had success with every time is Meat Church Holy Gospel. I liked its smokey, peppery flavors.
The flavors worked with all kinds of meat, which makes this rub extremely versatile. I even tried it on vegetables, and the result was delicious.
It’s extremely easy to use. You can apply it overnight or just 30 minutes before cooking when you’re in a hurry, and you’ll get moist, flavorful food.
Click here, and get the best rub for your meat.