The Best BBQ Rub Recipe

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What’s the best way to get mouthwatering flavor? Make your own BBQ rub seasoning mix and use it on pork chops! This easy recipe will have you wondering why the store-bought kind even exists.

Spices combined together in a small glass jar.

This rub is a magical mix of spices that will add flavor to any meat, from pork chops to beef to chicken.

How To Make All-Purpose BBQ Rub

For this simple rub, you might already have all of the ingredients in your pantry. You need the following ingredients:

  • Black pepper (freshly ground is best)
  • Coarse salt
  • Brown sugar
  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder
  • Onion powder
  • Dry mustard
  • Ground red pepper

What makes this an easy recipe is that the ingredient list is longer than the instructions!

Spices in small glass bowls on top of a wooden cutting board.

There are only two steps in this process:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Store in an airtight container.
Hand holding a glass bottle with spices.

This recipe was created by John Rivers and is included in his cookbook, The Southern Cowboy Cookbook.

To use, rub the spice mixture on your choice of protein and then grill (or bake).

Gift Idea

Mix up some of this All Purpose Rub and pack it into a Mason jar. Tie on a ribbon, then give them away as thank you’s, housewarming presents, or Christmas gifts. (They are perfect little presents when you have a lot of people on your holiday lists.)

The Southern Cowboy Cookbook

The Southern Cowboy Cookbook by John Rivers.

The Southern Cowboy Cookbook is a delicious, fun take on traditional comfort food. With recipes for dishes such as Shrimp ‘n Grits and Coffee-Rubbed Ribeye, there’s something here that will please everyone at your table!

The founder of 4 Rivers Smokehouse pays homage to America’s South in this innovative cookbook with his blend of distinct regional flavors like Texas BBQ and Deep-South specialties like red velvet cake topped with a cream cheese icing.

Spices combined together in a small glass jar.

I love that he is honest in the beginning of the book and states that he is not a classically trained chef or culinary school graduate. He even tells of how he failed Home Economics in school because he refused to eat green peas.

What is interesting, at least to me, is who the book is dedicated to and how she is tied into the birth of 4Rivers Steakhouse and a Barbecue Ministry. (Sorry, but I am not going to spoil the story, but let’s just say it’s pretty touching.)

Recipes in the Cookbook

There are ten chapters with recipes that will have you preparing your grill and heating your oven. The chapters and a few of the recipes included are:

  • Sauces and Rubs – Mustard BBQ Sauce, Brisket Rub, and All-Purpose BBQ Sauce
  • Starters – Smoked Chicken Wings, Carne Asada Nachos, and Bacon-Wrapped Smoke Jalapenos
  • Soups, SIdes, and Salads – Smoked Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Frito Chili Pie, and Cornbread Salad
  • Breads and Breakfast – Skillet Cornbread, Migas Breakfast Tortillas, and Kolaches
  • Sandwiches – Grilled Cuban Sandwich, St. Paddy’s Day Brisket Burger, and Cochon De Lait Sandwich
  • Beef – Chicken-Fried Steak, Oxtail Beef Stew, and Street Tacos
  • Pork and LambGrilled Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce, St. Louis Ribs, and Cowboy Pork Chops with Soy-Honey Glaze
  • Poultry and Fish – Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Smoked Chicken Potpie with Cheddar Buttermilk Biscones, and Stacked Chicken Enchiladas Verde
  • Thanksgiving – Smoked Turkey, Southern Green Beans, and Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Desserts – Coconut Cream Pie, Bourbon Pecan Pie, and Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding

You can learn more about John Rivers and The Southern Cowboy Cookbook at 4rsmokehouse.com.

Spices combined together in a small glass jar.

All-Purpose Rub

This special blend of seasoning transforms pork, beef, and chicken from bland to delicious and will become your go-to bbq seasoning.
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Course: staple
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 101kcal


  • Mixing bowl


  • 2 tablespoons black pepper freshly ground
  • 3 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon ground red pepper


  • Mix ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Store in an airtight container.


Recipe excerpted from The Southern Cowboy Cookbook by John Rivers. Copyright © 2013. Used with permission of the publisher, Story Farm, LLC. All rights reserved.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 10481mg | Potassium: 165mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 389IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg
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