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All-Purpose Ancho Spice Rub

All-Purpose Ancho Spice Rub

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Bobby Flay uses this spice rub for salmon, or on chicken thighs that are braised and then layered in tacos.


  • ⅓ cup hot smoked Spanish paprika
  • 3 tablespoons English mustard powder
  • 3 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons ground dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground chile de árbol

Recipe Preparation

  • Whisk ancho chile powder, paprika, mustard powder, coriander, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, and chile de árbol in an airtight container; cover.

  • DO AHEAD: Rub can be made 1 month ahead. Store at room temperature in a dark place.

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 20 Fat (g) 1 Saturated Fat (g) 0 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 3 Dietary Fiber (g) 2 Total Sugars (g)0 Protein (g) 1 Sodium (mg) 220Reviews Section

Master chef shares 8 tasty DIY dry rub recipes. These make any dish taste so much better!

Barbecue grilling season is almost here, so you’ll want to school yourself now on how to make the tastiest meat, poultry, and fish dishes.

An easy way to pack your dishes with flavor is to use dry rubs. Just sprinkle some on top of your food or put it in a bag with your food and shake it up. When making your dry rubs, you’ll want to use a mini whisk to properly blend everything, and don’t forget to store your rubs in an air-tight container.

Making your own homemade dry rubs ensure that no nasty chemicals go in it. Plus, we think everything takes better with a little homemade love in it! Here are 8 homemade dry rub recipes!

Dry Rub Recipe

But the number one reason to make your own pork rub? Well, I&rsquod say it&rsquos so you can adjust the spicy heat to your personal tastes. Everyone&rsquos heat tolerance differs, so you can absolutely decrease the heat in this recipe if it&rsquos too spicy for you.

My family likes some heat, and I feel like this dry rub recipe as written walks the line between &ldquoOh, that has a bit of a spicy kick to it!&rdquo and &ldquoOMG, my mouth is on FIRE. &rdquo just perfectly. However, if you&rsquore sensitive to capsaicin or have young children, start with half the ancho chili powder and cayenne pepper and adjust from there.

TIP: Be sure you&rsquore using smoked paprika and not sweet paprika or hot paprika. There is a world of difference between the three, and a good smoked paprika is what will give your pork that rich cooked in the smoker all day flavor without the time consuming smoking process.

digital meat thermometer &mdash it will up your grilling game for all meats tremendously!


Ingredients Needed For This Santa Maria Tri Tip Rub:

This dry rub is so flavorful, it is packed with healthy ingredients that you may already have on hand in your spice cabinet, which are:

  • Garlic Powder
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Onion Powder
  • Aleppo Chili Flakes
  • Cumin Powder
  • Ground Oregano
  • Espresso Coffee
  • Brown Sugar
  • Kosher Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper

Put These Dry Rubs on Absolutely Everything

Michael Turek

Two essential dry rubs. Matt Taylor-Gross

A good rule for dry rubs is that once you hit on a recipe that works, make a vat of it and use it all summer. So this season, expand your horizons and try an heirloom chile pepper or take inspiration from a cup of coffee—either can be the backbone of a punchy spice rub that will transform your grilled meats and vegetables.

Two All-Purpose Rubs to Make

Chimayó Chile Rub

The key ingredient to this rub, which grilling maven Adam Perry Lang likes on cuts of pork, is Chimayó chile, an heirloom varietal that tastes slightly of curry powder, harvested in the town of Chimayó in New Mexico. Including it in your rub requires a little forethought—it’s not mass produced like common chile powder, and generally has to be ordered online—but the flavor it imparts is well worth it, says Lang. Before cooking, he recommends coating your meat with a drizzle of pork or bacon fat and a “mustard moisturizer”—yellow ballpark mustard is his go-to, because of the nostalgic flavors it invokes with each bite—to help tenderize the meat and allow the rub to adhere. For a pork butt that’ll be cooking low-and-slow for hours, add the rub on at the beginning and let sit for up to 3 hours. For a pork chop or something that’ll be on the grill over high heat, sprinkle it on toward the end of cooking, to prevent the flavors of the rub from carbonizing.

“A Little Jolt” Dry Rub

“I drink three to four large cups of coffee per day,” says Amy Mills, “and I’m one of those lucky people who can drink it at night and it won’t disturb my sleep!” It was a no-brainer for Mills, daughter of Memphis in May’s four-time world barbecue champion Mike Mills—the two of them helm Southern Illinois’ 17th Street Barbecue restaurants—to incorporate coffee into this otherwise traditional dry rub. It adds an earthy, sweet taste.

And Two to Buy

The Classic: Bell’s Poultry Seasoning Call us old school, but we just really love this blend of rosemary, oregano, sage, marjoram, and a punch of ginger. It’s salt-free, so it won’t interfere with your salting, and its classic holiday stuffing flavor is absolutely transformative when used in yogurt marinades for grilled chicken.

The Cutting Edge: Sunny Oaxaca Ancho-Coffee Rub Beyond the two titular ingredients, this rub is full of cumin, Mexican oregano (more perky than its Mediterranean cousin), garlic, cinnamon, and brown sugar for a sweet-and-spicy, extra-savory blend that adds a ton of depth to grilled beef or pork ribs. Bonus: makes excellent chili, too.

And If You Want to Get Creative…

Add these spices to your own favorite rub for an extra kick.

Chimayó Hot Chile: Vibrant red with a mild spice, this New Mexican chile will add a subtle background heat when added to chicken or shrimp, or when sprinkled over slices of pineapple. (Add it to flaky salt for a more complex Margarita rim.) Read more about it »

Ground Coffee: Texas ribs, with their dinosaur mass, are a great match for a jolt of roasted flavor. When mixed with the usual spices, coffee amplifies the usual caramelization to a ruddy crust.

Cocoa Powder: A tablespoon or two of unsweetened cocoa powder lends richness to short ribs, brisket, and baby backs, and would be well-paired with a crack of fresh black and white pepper.

Lapsing Souchong Tea: Roasted over pinewood fires, this smoky black tea adds the same character that a coal-fired grill might to everything from pork chops to spare ribs. Add it to a chicken brine for a quick infusion of grill character.

Grains of Paradise: These pungent little corns are packed with flavors of citrus, spice, and cardamom. Duck and skirt steak would get an interesting lift from a few of these ground into your everyday rub base.

Sansho Peppercorns: Brighter and more citrusy than Sichuan peppercorns, Sansho have with the same numbing effect, but won’t overpower lighter proteins like chicken or fish.

Mace: The outer layer of nutmeg, mace is subtler, more complex, and brighter than its parent fruit, and adds a touch of aromatic baking spice to beef ribs.

La Boîte Smoked Cinnamon N. 18: From New York’s own spice whisperer, Lior Lev Sercarz, this unexpectedly smoky cinnamon is a short-cut to imitating the flavor of wood smoke when using a gas grill or a grill pan. Add to chicken for a subtly sweet Jamaican jerk flavor.

Dehydrated Honey: This unconventional addition is a sweet, crystalized solution to keeping chicken or rib skin crackly and crisp. Toss it with breadcrumbs or flour when breading or frying chicken.

How to Use Spices in Cooking

Spices are crucial items in a pantry. With a few well-chosen seasonings, you can transform simple ingredients into a flavorful dish. Keeping a selection of spices on hand at all times makes it easy to throw together a tasty meal in a flash. If you use certain spice combinations often, make your own mixture and store it in an airtight container &mdash it will keep for several months. By creating your own concoctions, you can make many different blends. Try a basic spice rub, like the recipe here, which includes sweet brown sugar along with spicy cayenne, sharp black pepper, and herbs. This balanced all-purpose mixture tastes delicious on meat, chicken, vegetables, and nearly anything else you can dream up.

Ancho chilies &mdash the dried version of the poblano pepper &mdash are commonly used in Mexican cuisine, and are often found in the country's famous mole sauces. The whole dried peppers can be soaked in liquid and processed into a paste (perfect for adding to sauces) or ground and used as a chili powder. In this recipe the powder is whipped into butter &mdash along with tart lime, garlic, and black pepper &mdash to form a rich coating for grilled corn. Try adding ancho chili to your homemade salsa or to your family's go-to enchilada recipe for an added boost of smoky, spicy flavor.

Widely available, jalapeños are most commonly used when green, but if fully ripe can turn a vivid red color. The peppers grow all over Mexico and are used in many Mexican dishes, but their signature kick can add a bit of heat and lively flavor to any number of foods. The cheesy, beer-infused soup recipe here is decidedly un-Mexican, but the spice from the chili is a nice contrast to the richness of the cheese and the smoky bacon. Jalapeños are often sold pickled, which can add some tartness as well as spiciness to foods. If you're averse to the taste of vinegar, stick with the fresh variety. Either way, dice the peppers, then sprinkle them over soups, stews, and casseroles at the end of cooking, or sauté the fresh peppers with other vegetables as a base for your favorite meals to deliver an extra kick.

The southern states are known for their distinctive and delicious barbecue &mdash and nearly every state that lays claim to great barbecue has its own style. Whichever style you prefer, there's no denying that the spices chosen to flavor the meat are key. Whether you're putting this mix in a sauce or plan to use it as a dry rub, it's got all the classic ingredients you need to make great barbecue at home: paprika, sweet brown sugar, and smoky ground coffee.

Garam masala (from the Hindi words meaning "hot mixture") is a common spice blend added to many North Indian dishes. The spices in it can vary, but warm and savory seasonings like cinnamon, white and black peppercorns, cumin seed, turmeric, and cardamom are often included. Many pre-made garam masala blends that are commercially available are quite good, but since ground spices do not keep as long as whole spices, you may want to grind and blend your own mixture as needed if you plan to use it infrequently. Mix it with other ingredients to create a delicious marinade for chicken, pork, or tofu, as in the recipe below, or sprinkle some over a hearty soup, stew, or rice dish at the end of cooking for added impact.

Many Indian dishes start the same way &mdash spices and other seasonings are quickly fried over high heat before meat, vegetables, or other main ingredients are introduced. This process of toasting the spices adds a deeper, more complex flavor to a dish. This vegetarian curry calls for a variety of traditional spices, like ginger, coriander, cumin, and turmeric, all strengthened and enhanced by a few minutes over the heat. Spices can be fried in oil or other fat, or they can be toasted dry and ground or blended with other ingredients. This technique can be used in curries as well as other dishes to bring out richness, depth, and a more intense spicy flavor. Try it with one of you favorite recipes and taste the difference!

Curry is a word applied to an array of dishes from around the world, but the basic idea is always the same &mdash vegetables and/or meat are cooked to tender perfection in a spice-laden sauce or liquid. Many curries found in or inspired by Indian cuisine, like the one included here, use tumeric, a spice with a beautiful golden yellow color and surprisingly mild flavor that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. The spice we know as curry, made from the fragrant leaves of the curry tree, is also pervasive in Indian cuisine, but many ground mixtures sold as "curry" in markets are actually blends of a variety of spices.

Jamaican jerk seasoning is a hot spice blend that consists primarily of a fiery type of pepper, called the Scotch bonnet, and allspice. Other spices and herbs that are commonly included are cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic, salt, and thyme. Traditionally, jerk seasoning is used on chicken or pork (as in this recipe), but it also adds a spicy boost of flavor to beef, lamb, seafood, or tofu. Jerk spice blends can be used in wet marinades, but the mixture is most often used as a dry rub for grilled meats.

Saffron &mdash one of the most expensive and luxurious spices &mdash is made from the hand-gathered stigmas of the crocus flower. It has a slightly bitter, nutty flavor and imparts a beautiful golden color to a dish. Used in small quantities, it can be a beautiful complement to delicate flavors, like those of white fish and shellfish. Because of its bitterness, saffron pairs nicely with slightly sweet flavors, like vanilla. To use it, soak a small pinch of the dried spice in a little warm water to soften it and open up its flavors, then add the liquid with the saffron pieces to a dish near the end of its cooking time. In a stew like the one here, the saffron can be added about 10 to 15 minutes before you plan to serve.

Harissa is a popular condiment used in North African cuisine. It is made mainly from smoked or dried chilies, like the super hot piri piri, along with a blend of spices, garlic, and sometimes tomato. Particularly predominant in Tunisia, harissa is becoming more sought-after in nearby nations, like Libya, Algeria, and Morocco, and in countries with large Arab populations, such as France. It makes a deliciously fiery marinade for chicken and lamb, and is also commonly used to flavor plain couscous and fish stews. The recipe here calls for store-bought harissa paste, but you can easily make your own by soaking lightly toasted, dried chilies in water until they become soft, then blending them (and some of the water, if needed), with garlic, olive or vegetable oil, and spices like coriander and caraway.

Harissa is the most popular spicy Tunisian condiment, but many of its ingredients are used widely across North Africa. A spice rub like this one &mdash with ingredients that are commonly used in harissa blends like coriander and red pepper &mdash can be used with oils, vinegars, and other ingredients to make a marinade, or can be used dry as a rub for meat, seafood, or vegetables. It'd be especially delicious on anything grilled &mdash the grill's charred flavor would enhance the taste of the spices &mdash or on a roast, like a leg of lamb.

Star anise is a spice not often used in Western kitchens, but it's a common ingredient in Asian cuisine. Star anise is a key component of Chinese five-spice, which also has cinnamon, cloves, fennel seed, and Szechuan peppercorns. The star-shaped pods are actually the dried fruits of a small evergreen tree native to China and Vietnam. Whole pods can be simmered to infuse a dish with their sweet-and-spicy, licorice-like flavor. You can also ground them and sprinkle them into dishes. Here star anise is combined with black peppercorns, cinnamon, soy sauce, fresh ginger, and sweet plum jam to create a flavorful concoction that is sure to wake up your taste buds.

Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice blend that traditionally includes a whole host of spices: paprika, black pepper, cumin, coriander, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg. A versatile, warming combination, this mixture works well with intense and flavorful foods that can stand up to its complexity. Beef and lamb are both good choices, but this zesty concoction could also liven up fattier fishes and seafood, heartier vegetables, and would be a great pick for grilling.

Adobo is a popular seasoning blend that uses hot chilies as its base &mdash commonly ancho chilies, but other chili powders or hot peppers can be used. Chipotle chilies are often sold "in adobo" &mdash the smoky chili peppers are marinated in tomato, vinegar, and spices. Adobo originated in Spain and versions of it are used throughout the Spanish-speaking world, but some classic ingredients show up in recipes across the globe, including paprika, garlic, cumin, onion, and oregano. An acid, like lemon juice or vinegar, is also usually added to the mix to enhance and preserve the flavors of the spices. Use it dry as a rub or for sprinkling into soups, stews, and casseroles, or mix it with oil to make a marinade for beef, pork, or chicken. If using as a marinade, coat ingredients in the adobo mixture and put in a plastic bag or airtight container and refrigerate for several hours (or overnight) before cooking to maximize flavor.

Chili pepper might seem like an obvious choice for curries and other savory dishes, but surprisingly it works well in sweets too. The ancient peoples of Mexico and Central and South American knew this well. The cacao plant has been cultivated there for thousands of years. Before it was introduced to Europeans, chocolate was never sweetened rather it was used to make a bitter, spicy drink flavored with chili pepper and vanilla. A little bit of heat is a nice contrast to the sugar in these fudgy brownies. It also makes a great addition to a cup of sweet hot cocoa.

Steak and Roast Rub

Another option to add great flavor to your grilled steaks, this is also a great all-purpose seasoning for any beef roast, from eye-round to tenderloin.



2 tablespoons kosher salt (be sure that it is coarse)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
½ tablespoon whole coriander
½ tablespoon dill seed
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder

Nutritional information

Calories 51 (99% from fat) &bull carb. 0g &bull pro. 0g &bull fat 6g &bull sat. fat 4g &bull chol. 15mg &bull sod. 49mg &bullcalc. 2mg &bull fiber 0g


1. Put all spices into a Cuisinart® Spice Grinder. Pulse about 10 to 12 times to chop and blend.
2. Use as desired. Store remaining rub in an airtight container in a dry, cool place.

How to Make Your Own BBQ Spice Rubs

Many great meats start with a great spice rub. While you can buy any number of blends from the store, why not try your hand at creating your own?

There’s no better place to get started with creating your own spice blends than with DIY BBQ rubs. Whether you’ll be massaging it into ribs or pork butt or brisket, BBQ rub has a number of uses and can enhance many of your summer-grilling favorites. A rub creates a dark, crusty “bark” on the meat that adds a nice layer of tasty texture above the tender meat it covers. You can also add BBQ sauce to this bark, or leave it to stand on its own, depending on the taste and texture you’re going for.

We asked our lineup of BBQ and spice experts for their favorite recipes, and have a few options for you below depending on what you’re cooking up. The rubs are especially good for pork butt and pork ribs you can use a spice rub on beef cuts too, but most chefs — like AoM’s resident food expert Matt Moore and award-wining barbecuer Karl Engel — like to keep the seasoning for beef really simple in order to let the robust taste of the meat take center stage. They both recommend just salt and pepper, though Karl likes to throw some garlic and cayenne into the mix sometimes too.

You don’t have to stick to these recipes, of course experiment with your own ingredients. The only real necessity is having both salt and sugar present. The first provides flavor, the second allows for a nice caramelized coating on the surface of the meat. These days, with a wide variety of smoked sugars, fancily flavored salts, and other gourmet ingredients available, the options for small-batch, signature spice blends is endless. Mix, match, and experiment!

Pork Butt Rub

“I’m a fan of a good dry rub — so I was happy to get this standard classic from Skip Steele, which he affectionately calls his Old-School Butt Rub.

  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp MSG

Stir together all ingredients in a bowl, and store in an airtight container up to one year.

Pork/Beef Rib Rub

This recipe comes from Spice Master Tim Ziegler (yes, that’s a real title!):

“Paint the rub on heavily. You may add this entire rub to 1/2 cup of olive oil to create a paste and then apply liberally to all facets of the ribs. This recipe will work well with either beef or pork ribs but I recommend pork.”

When shopping: For the best results, use an imported paprika from Hungary or Spain. For a mild rub, use sweet paprika. For a spicy rub, use some or all hot paprika (a specialty of Hungary. One good brand is Szeged). For a smoky rub, use some or all pimenton (smoked paprika) from Spain. For a Texas- style rub, replace the paprika with pure ancho or other chili powder and add one teaspoon each of dried oregano, ground cumin, and cayenne pepper.

You don’t need to mix the seasonings on the spot every time you need a barbecue rub, but I’d try to use up each batch and make a fresh one every 3 to 4 weeks.

There are two ways to use a barbecue rub. The first is to apply it right before grilling or smoking, in which case it acts as a sort of seasoned salt. The second is to rub it into the meat a few hours or even a day before you plan to cook it, in which case the seasonings partially cure the meat, resulting in a richer, more complex flavor.

Herbs Versus Spices

Most spices are dried seeds, roots or flower buds, or in the case of chiles, dried fruits. And unless the blend calls specifically for whole spices, assume they need to be ground. Thus when you see cumin powder on the list of ingredients, you need to start with whole cumin seed and grind it yourself. Same with things like coriander, fennel and black pepper (technically a dried flower bud, not a seed).

Other ingredients include garlic powder and onion powder, which are garlic and onion respectively, that are dried and then ground into powder. You don't need to grind these, but rather use them straight from the container.


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