Best BBQ Rubs To Take Your Grilling to the Next Level

When you have the perfect cut of meat and a grill all fired up and ready to go, any season is barbeque season. You don’t need to wait for the perfect weather!

You do need to find the best BBQ rub, however. With the perfect rub, you’ll be able to take the flavors of your meat to the next level. Whether you like to smoke savory racks of ribs or you’d rather go for a traditional Texas BBQ chicken, these rubs will open up new doors for you when it comes to barbequing.

Get ready to switch things up and explore a new world of grilling with these 10 best bbq rubs of 2021!

Table of Contents

Best BBQ Rubs – Comparison

PictureProduct NameBrandWeightPrice
Bad Byron’s Butt RubBad Byron’s Butt RubBad Byron’s7 pounds
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Lawry’s Perfect BlendLawry’s Perfect BlendLawry’s1.53 pounds
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Plowboys Yardbird RubPlowboys Yardbird RubPlowboys0.9 pounds
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Szeged Rib RubSzeged Rib RubSzeged2.63 pounds
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BBQ Bros UltimateBBQ Bros UltimateTampico Spice Co. Inc1.12 pounds
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Tandoori Glory - SpiceologyTandoori Glory – SpiceologySpiceology2.25 pounds
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The Salt Lick Dry RubThe Salt Lick Dry RubSalt Lick1.05 pounds
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McCormick Grill MatesMcCormick Grill MatesMcCormick0.21 pounds
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Rub with Love by TomRub with Love by TomRub with Love0.21 pounds
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Fords Gourmet FoodsFords Gourmet FoodsBone Suckin’2 pounds
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What to Look for in the Top BBQ Rubs

If you’re headed to the store – or perhaps just grabbing an online shopping cart – in search of a new favorite BBQ rub, just wait one minute. If you’ve never bought a barbeque rub before, it’s important that you first consider the top qualities a good rub must-have.


While there are some ingredients you will find in just about every rub as standard additives, each rub will also have unique ingredients that you can’t find anywhere else.

For example, things like salt, sugar, pepper, paprika, onions, and garlic are common ingredients. You may see variations on this, with kosher salt, sea salt, or table salt being options, or brown sugar taking the place of regular white sugar.

While some ingredients are added to improve the flavor of the rub, others are for aesthetics alone, working to improve the color and overall appearance of the rub. Once you look at the ingredients list, you will be able to make a better-informed decision about which ribs are right for you.

Health Implications

Some rubs contain high levels of salt – something to be aware of if you are watching sodium in your diet. Often, commercial manufacturers use extra salt in order to reduce costs, since it’s inexpensive and heavy, giving customers the illusion that they are getting more for their money.

Unfortunately, salt doesn’t do much to improve the flavor of your rub and it can be bad for your health (not to mention singe your tastebuds!). Look for a rub with minimal salt and sugar added, as this will be better when it comes to flavor – as well as your waistline. Also watch out for things like MSG and gluten, which often aren’t necessary to improve the form and function of dry rubs, anyway.

Too Much Sugar

While we already mentioned how too much sugar in a rub can be bad for your health, keep in mind that you need to avoid a rub with too much sugar for another reason – safety reasons.

Sugar burns at 375 degrees. Therefore, if you are planning on grilling meat for long periods of time at or above that temperature, you’re going to find that the sugar not only becomes bitter, but it burns and can singe your meat. This is not only disappointing because you’ll lose the meat that you’ve spent so much time trying to prepare, but it can also pose a risk of fire.

Package Size

If you are new to barbecuing, you might feel hesitant to buy a huge tub of dry rubs. We don’t blame you! That’s not only a major investment to make in terms of your wallet, but you don’t want to have a giant tub of a disgusting dry rub taking up space in your pantry.

Consider carefully the size of your dry rub before you buy. Some companies offer sampler packs or variety packs so that you can sample all the best that the manufacturer has to offer before committing to a larger size.

The 10 Best BBQ Rubs of 2021 to Help Take Your Grilling to the Next Level

1. Bad Byron’s Butt Rub

Bad Byron’s Butt Rub

Bad Byron’s Butt Rub is first on our list of the best bbq rubs – and not just because the name makes us giggle! This authentic Texas-style rub has a smoky, classic flavor that is perfect for pulled pork and, of course, pork butt.

However, it’s also versatile and flavorful enough to be used on other foods, like seafood, chicken, and beef. It’s also a phenomenal rub for ribs. It contains chipotle seasoning, salt, paprika, pepper, garlic, and onion as it’s main ingredients.

Toss it on some ribs or dash it on steamed vegetables – this rub has a fantastic taste no matter what you apply it to. It works well seasoning poultry and serves as an excellent base spice – you can always add hotter or sweetener ingredients on top of it later. It is sugar-free and contains no MSG.

A gluten-free BBQ rub that’s favored by professional chefs, it is also a top pick for backyard cooks. It is sold in several sizes, adding convenience no matter where or how you like to cook. It comes in 4.5 oz, 26 oz, and even 7 lb packages.

What We Liked:

  • Has an authentic, smoky flavor
  • Requires very little in order to be flavorful
  • Comes in a variety of sizes

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some users report having to add brown sugar to improve the sweetness.

2. Lawry’s Perfect Blend Chicken Rub

Lawry’s Perfect Blend Chicken Rub

Before you start shaking your head in disbelief, just hang on a moment. Lawry’s might be a household name when it comes to affordable spice blends, but this chicken rub is really out of this world – and it’s a product that you need to consider when it comes to stocking your barbeque arsenal.

The Perfect Blend Chicken Rub has a fantastic aroma that will lend your meat a spectacular flavor. While it’s difficult to find in most stores, it is sold in large, value-sized bottles of 24.5 oz and more online. It contains a robust combination of your favorite spices and herbs, with main ingredients including sea salt, thyme, paprika, rosemary, garlic, onion, and parsley.

Although Lawry’s markets this specifically for cooking chicken, don’t be fooled by the label. It’s also the perfect choice for pork, vegetables, and other foods – you can even use it in salad dressings! Not too salty and not too sweet, it strikes the perfect balance that you need for your next grilling experience.

Oh, and did we mention that this bottle comes with an easy pour spout so you never have to worry about using too much – or too little?

What We Liked:

  • Not too salty or sweet
  • Can be used on chicken as well as other meats
  • Sold in large value-sized shakers

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Difficult to find in stores

3. Plowboys Yardbird Rub

Plowboys Yardbird Rub

Developed for stores after it won the 2009 American Royal BBQ competition, the Plowboys Yardbird Rub is one of the best bbq rubs all around – and it doesn’t matter what kind of meat you are grilling. This rub is perfect if you’re looking for a blend of spicy and sweet – although the rub does have a slightly salty aftertaste, it is ideal when used in small doses.

Not sure whether its saltiness is right for you? Just add a bit more brown sugar. This rub is one of the few that has very little in the ingredients’ list – instead, it contains garlic, chili pepper, salt, paprika, mustard flour, and onion. The rub has minimal caking and is both gluten-free and MSG-free.

A mild rub with a hint of heat and a touch of sweetness, this rub is the best bbq rub for grilling enthusiasts who always insist on making their own rubs. It can be purchased in a convenient 14-ounce jar or in other sizes, too.

This isn’t the only dry rub offered by Plowboys, either. The company sells a variety of ribs in addition to barbeque sauces and other concoctions that are perfect for grilling or slow roasting your meat. They even sell bulk value products, with weights up to five pounds so that you never have to worry about running out of your favorite dry rub.

What We Liked:

  • Comes in a convenient 14 oz jar
  • Spicy yet sweet flavor
  • National winner for its flavor and versatility

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Can be super salty

4. Szeged Rib Rub

Szeged Rib Rub

This rib rub by Szeged is one of the best around. Not only can it enhance the flavor of all meats – especially ribs – but it also comes in a decorative tin. This not only helps it stand out attractively in your kitchen, but also makes it great for gift-giving. Have somebody who loves to barbeque on your Christmas list? Check!

The Szeged Rib Rub helps to improve the natural flavor of meat, giving it a spicy aftertaste and a unique bite. The rub’s main ingredients are garlic, salt, mustard, paprika, sugar, and several other spices. Some people find it too salty, but this is something that can easily be remedied by adding more brown sugar.

This rub works well on your food without overpowering it. Sweet with a hint of spice, it can be tough to find in stores – but luckily, it’s available online in economical six-packs.

What We Liked:

  • Can be bought in bulk
  • Comes in a decorative tin
  • Great for gifting

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some people find it too salty

5. BBQ Bros Ultimate Seasoning Set

BBQ Bros Ultimate Seasoning Set

New to barbequing? If so, you’ve got to consider this BBQ Bros Seasoning Set. buying bbq rubs – especially online – can be a nerve-wracking experience. Not only do you have to fork out a fair amount of money for seasonings you’ve never even tried before, but most of these seasonings are sold in large shakers.

Is there anything worse than being stuck with 26 oz (or more!) of dry rub that you wouldn’t even want to feed your dog? We don’t think so.

When you buy this package, you’ll get not one, not two, but three fantastic rubs to try – so you’re practically guaranteed to find one that you like. With options including a California Style rub, a Kansas City Style rub, and a Texas Style rub, you’ll feel like you’re exploring all the best that the country has to offer when it comes to barbequing.

While you’re on this world tour, you’ll enjoy natural ingredients like brown sugar, garlic, paprika, red pepper, onion spice, and more. Each ruby has a unique – yet authentic – flavor that will add versatility and zest to your cooking. Plus, these rubs are backed by a manufacturer’s guarantee that ensures a full refund if you are not satisfied with your purchase.

If you are new to smoking or grilling meat, this rub set is perfect. You can experiment with different rubs to find the ones you like best – and for best results, you can even play around with the style and type of wood chips you are using to fuel your smoker!

What We Liked:

  • Comes with three different flavor options
  • Authentic and unique flavors
  • Contains natural ingredients

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some customers report that the three separate flavors are quite similar in taste

6. Tandoori Glory – Spiceology Indian Curry Masala Blend

Tandoori Glory - Spiceology Indian Curry Masala Blend

If you’re really looking to take things up a notch, you’ve got to consider this unique bbq rub by Spiceologist.

Known as Tandoori Glory, this rub accelerates your cooking by taking your meat out of the southwest and into the East. A Moroccan-inspired rub, it contains all-natural spices such as coriander, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, garlic powder, cardamom, white pepper, brown sugar, cayenne, kosher salt, and sweet paprika.

With an ingredient list that long, you might worry that this rub has too much of an overpowering flavor. Don’t worry – it doesn’t. The spices work in conjunction to help create a delicious smoky flavor that is reminiscent of Morocco. And if you aren’t sure whether this Tandoori blend is right for you, rest assured – Spiceologist has dozens of other mixtures for you to choose from.

You can buy in bulk, too – this package comes in with shipment quantity options as large as eight!

What We Liked:

  • Can be used straight out of the jar
  • Excellent as a rub or marinade
  • Contains the perfect blend of spices and curry flavors

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Some consider the flavors to be too mild

7. The Salt Lick Dry Rub

The Salt Lick Dry Rub

The Salt Lick Dry Rub might not be a true Texas-style barbecue rub – but nobody’s going to argue with the fact that this dry rub is still downright delicious. It contains ingredients like cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and a variety of other spices, making it perfect for pork butt, ribs, and even brisket.

This rub has a consistent grind size so you wo n’t have to worry about uneven amounts of species being applied to your food. Nor will the rub lose its flavor quickly in storage – this rub has the ability to retain its unique flavors for months after it’s been opened.

Shipped in a package of three 12 oz bottles, this delicious rub is one of the best BBQ rubs you can use at home.

What We Liked:

  • Sold in a package of three 12 oz bottles
  • Consistently ground to improve flavor
  • Has unique ingredients like cayenne and black pepper

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The name is confusing since it isn’t that salty

8. McCormick Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple

McCormick Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple

McCormick is a brand name that you likely already know and trust when it comes to your spice cabinet and pantry. There’s lots to love in the McCormick Grill Mates Smokehouse Maple rub. A great choice for pork and chicken in particular, it can also be used on beef and even seafood, lending any type of meat a fantastic smoky flavor.

Although this rub is somewhat light on the classic BBQ flavors, it has a smoky aroma and aftertaste that will also allow it to work well just as a general, all-purpose seasoning. It is gluten-free with no MSG or artificial flavors. There are no artificial colors added, either, so you can feel good about what you are putting into your body.

This rub includes main ingredients like garlic, maple syrup, brown sugar, onion, and, uniquely, orange peel. The ingredients lend the rub a unique zest and flavor that complement the sultry tones of the meat you are cooking. It is best used as a dry rub but also can be used as a seasoning or marinade.

If the Smokehouse Maple flavor isn’t what you have in mind for your next grilling adventure, don’t worry -McCormick also sells a variety of other spice mixes and rubs in the Grill Mates line of products.

What We Liked:

  • Bold blend of spices like onion and garlic
  • Has no MSG or artificial flavors
  • Can be used on chicken, pork, seafood, and burgers

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not gluten free

9. Rub with Love by Tom Douglas

Rub with Love by Tom Douglas

Rub with Love by Tom Douglas is a classic dry rub that comes in multiple flavors, including mushroom, chicken, pork, steak, turkey, veggie, and our personal favorite, salmon. The salmon rub is inspired by the Pacific Northwest’s favorite type of fish, and lends all meats an amazing smoky taste.

The rub comes in a sixteen-ounce tub, giving you all the leverage you need to give your grilled foods that perfect panache. Combine it with a bit of olive oil for the perfect grilling experience. Tom Douglas’s perfect dry rubs are each sold with airtight seals to help them maintain adequate freshness during shipping along with after being opened.

The rub uses a variety of herbs and spices that can be used on other meats besides salmon, including thick cuts of steak, pork, chicken wings, chicken breasts, and more. It has a premium smoky flavor because its active ingredients are brown sugar, thyme, and paprika. With no MSG to worry about, you’ll be able to rub all of your meats “with love.”

What We Liked:

  • Best option for fish and seafood
  • Made with all-natural ingredients with no MSG
  • Adds a smoky flavor to seafood, pork cutlets, chicken wings, and more

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Batches of the rub are not consistent across the board

10. Fords Gourmet Foods Bone Suckin’ All Purpose Rub

Fords Gourmet Foods Bone Suckin

Fords Gourmet Foods originates from a single family recipe out of Raleigh, North Carolina. Today, this rub can be found in both rub and sauce form and is exported to more than 80 countries as well as all 50 states. Yep – it’s that good!

This rub isn’t overly spicy, so if heat isn’t your thing, don’t worry – you’ll get plenty of flavor without having to deal with the heat. It is delicious on ribs and pork products, but also tastes great when used to season vegetables and steak.

An incredibly versatile rub, ti can be used on numerous products – some users even put it on their popcorn! It is sweet and peppery with just a small amount of heat to give you that perfect kick you’ve been looking for. A crowd-pleasing rub, this option is mild enough that you can feed it to just about anyone in your family.

What We Liked:

  • Versatile rub that can be used on other foods
  • Not too spicy
  • Also available as a sauce

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Not very salty

How to Use a BBQ Rub – and Why You Should!

Finding the best BBQ rub is only half the battle – you also need to know how to apply it. Here are a few quick tips.

Start by laying out your ingredients. Use one of your hands to sprinkle the rub and another to handle the meat to avoid cross-contamination. You can then shake or spread your rub out onto your meat. Start with small amounts first, and then add more if you don’t think the meat is flavorful enough. Remember, you can always add more after cooking – but you can’t take it away!

Practice makes perfect when it comes to applying a rub. The more often you grill, the better your meat will taste. So get out there and start grilling – and don’t forget to use one of these flavorful best bbq rubs.

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