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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.
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. 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.
All-Purpose Dry Rub Recipe
- 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
- ½ teaspoon celery seed
- ½ 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.
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!
Thanks so much, Jess!
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 🙂
Thank you, Maggie. Great idea on the potato gratin - I'll have to try that.
Nothing beats a good dry rub! Those pictures are making me hungry - might have to try your recipe here. Thanks for sharing it!
Thank you, Jordan. And I agree!
Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor says
I love reading about your experience visiting Memphis! I have never been and will make note not to visit in August. Thanks for sharing this rub recipe. It sounds delicious, I can't wait to try it myself!
That rub sounds like it's filled with all the right spices!
Thanks, Joanne. We just used it on grilled portobellos the other night - so good!
This dry rub sounds wonderful and those ribs look amazing!
Thanks so much, Sabrina!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
I adore dry rubs! They really infuse so much flavour into meat. Hehe wow a bowl of ice cream too? I would have been a very happy kid had that ever happened to me. But as an adult I'd go for ribs 😀
I'm with you, Lorraine. 🙂
Love this rub Marissa! Perfect for Labor Day grilling! Will try it on some ribs 🙂 Pinned!
Thank you, Mira!
Mon Petit Four (@byMonPetitFour) says
Wowwww!! Marissa, these ribs look mouthwateringly good!! You have answered my prayers. I have been on a mission to make ribs before the summer ends, but it's just been a struggle to settle on a dry rub recipe I can rely on. While the sauce on ribs is okay, I'm not crazy about it. I prefer a dry rub, like you do. And since you are so fantastic in the kitchen, I'm so excited I've found a great recipe from YOU! I can't wait to try this out...bring on the saltiness and crispy edges! I'll just have to figure out what to do without a nice southern gentleman...maybe a slice of cornbread will be a decent substitute :p Thanks so much for sharing!! XO
Why am I not surprised that we'd be simpatico. 😉 Hope you love the rub, sweet friend. xoxo
Ooh, nice! I've never been to Memphis, but BBQ is definitely on my short list of best styles of cooking (although, honestly, what isn't?). This rub sounds perfect for the grill!
Right? There are so many great cooking styles. And this rub really is versatile and flavorful.
shashi at runninsrilankan says
This rub sounds fantastic Marissa - using it on corn and zucchini or any veggies would make them irresistible!
It's so good on corn, Shashi. With a bit of butter too of course... 😉
Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps says
Everyone needs have to something like this at their disposal! So convenient!
Agreed! Thanks, Nicole.
You know me and the spice mixes, so I gotta try yours! Sounds great and I am more a fan of dry rubs than sauces on my ribs. Although a good slathering of a sweet, tangy heat-tinged sauce never stopped me from finishing off a rack myself. 😉
BTW, the opening line was THE best, conjures up all sorts of possible topics, so glad you enjoyed Memphis and found this recipe.
I do! You have the best spice mixes, Kevin. And thanks. 🙂 Kind of sounded like the beginning of some kind of murder mystery.
Faith (An Edible Mosaic) says
This looks amazing! That little touch of brown sugar seals the deal for me...I need to try this. I like to do a rub on salmon before grilling and I've been using a store-bought one, but I bet this is 100X better!
What a great idea, Faith! I haven't tried this on salmon, but that will soon be remedied. xo
Wow! Now that's a killer rub! I would totally have BBQ all over my face devouring these! And just in time for some serious Labor Day grilling - woohoo! Pinning of course 🙂
You crack me up, Kathleen. And no harm in a little bbq on the face right? 🙂
Dorothy Dunton says
Hi Marissa! I have no willpower when it comes to GOOD ribs! I make a somewhat similar Memphis rub, but mine has brown sugar in it and I try to think ahead and let the ribs marinate overnight. I like some sauce, but not drenched in it. Must have sides for me are creamy coleslaw and mac n' cheese. Yes, I do make a pig of myself and I don't feel guilty about it! 🙂
I like the way you think, Dorothy! You just laid out the perfect menu...
This would be fabulous on any roasted veggies or even tofu! Awesome 🙂
Agreed, Medha! I can vouch for zucchini, mushrooms and corn on the cob!