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The inspiration for this All-Purpose Dry Rub Recipe started at Corky’s restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee.

What an experience. It was summer for one thing, and if I have one piece of advice for you it’s this: Do not visit Memphis in the summer if you can avoid it. We’d come to help Keith’s grandmother move from the house that she’d lived in for decades. Most of the family was there and other than the challenges that moving always brings and the sweltering heat and humidity, we had a fabulous time.

Dry Rub Ribs and Flame

One evening, we had dinner at Corky’s, a famous Memphis BBQ and Rib joint. A few things stand out from the meal: one, a mix of horror and excitement when the server informed us that the deep fried onion loaf we’d ordered was ‘draining’ in the back and would be out shortly; two, that my nephew was little and crabby from the hot day and not wanting to be confined to a chair in a restaurant, a malady that was immediately resolved by a giant bowl of vanilla ice cream that the server plopped down in front of him (His parents were not informed that this was about to happen, nor did they care.); three, the most exquisitely delicious dry rub ribs that I had ever tasted.

Since then, I have never had their equal. Regardless of the term ‘dry’ that’s attached to ribs on menus, invariably the ribs come out slathered in sauce. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the sauce, but there was something about those Memphis ribs – dry, salty and savory with crisp edges where the grill had been extra hot.

After trying a number of dry rub recipes, I’ve finally found the one. It’s a cinch to make and all of the ingredients are easy to come by. (The same goes for my favorite Blackened Seasoning recipe.) I’ve called it an ‘all-purpose dry rub’ because we’ve used it on just about everything we’ve grilled this summer, from shrimp and chicken to corn and zucchini.

This dry rub doesn’t come with the drippy heat of Memphis or the wisdom and kindness of a Southern gentleman, but it may just treat you to the best ribs you’ve ever tasted.

Flipping Dry Rub Pork Ribs
Dry Rub Ribs Second Side
Dry Rub Pork Ribs Done

All-Purpose Dry Rub Recipe

Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Course: Seasoning
Calories: 2
Servings: 100 1/4 tsp
Use this rub on any meat or vegetable you’re planning to grill. And if you’re grilling pork ribs, resist the urge to add sauce at the end. Just coat the ribs with the rub at least an hour in advance and then grill letting all of those little ends get crispy and delicious.


  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika or regular paprika if you can’t find smoked
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper


  • Combine all ingredients and use as you like on any meats or vegetables that you plan to grill.


Calories: 2kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 141mg | Potassium: 6mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 67IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Jess @ whatjessicabakednext says:

    This rub sounds amazing – love the mix of flavours! Grilled meat is my absolute favourite – so I definitely need to try out your dry rub recipe! Thanks for sharing, Marissa!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thanks so much, Jess!

  2. Maggie | Omnivore's Cookbook says:

    I share the same feeling and I like the crispy and tender ribs too. This dry rub sounds absolutely delicious. Not only for grilling, I believe the rub mixture will be perfect for baking veggies (like potato gratin) or even stir-fry as well! Sharing the recipe of course 🙂

    1. Marissa says:

      Thank you, Maggie. Great idea on the potato gratin – I’ll have to try that.