If you want a great dry rub recipe for ribs, you need to mix up this Award Winning Dry Rub For Ribs. This homemade dry rub has a sweet maple-infused flavor with savory spices and just a touch of heat. Friends and family will say at your next BBQ you are a pit master with this award-winning dry rub for ribs.

award winning dry rub for ribs in a bowl

Save This Recipe Form

Send This Recipe To Your Inbox

Enter your email and I'll send it directly to you! Plus, enjoy new recipes, entertaining tips, and a free surprise bonus!

The best ribs deserve great sides to make your BBQ menu complete. While cooking your ribs on the gas grill, make my easy recipe for Grilled Corn In The Husk. If you bake your ribs in the oven, you will also want to have a pan of Apples and Bourbon Baked Beans baking alongside them. If you need to serve a big group of people at a BBQ, this Classic Macaroni Salad With Cheese For A Crowd would be perfect.

Why this rub is award winning

  • It is one of the best rib rub recipes because there is a perfect balance of unique flavor from the combination of maple sugar and savory spices.
  • This maple-flavored spice rub is perfect for pork, chicken, beef, and seafood.
  • The sweet and spicy rub is also delicious when grilling veggies such as zucchini, squash, onions, or eggplant.
  • If you plan a big BBQ party, you can make this dry rub days or weeks before the big party. It will keep fresh for up to 3 months in a tightly sealed jar.
  • Do you like your rack of ribs spicy, then I have some ideas for customizing your rub blend. You can make the best seasoning for your preferred heat level.
  • It only takes a few minutes to make your dry rub. It will make your ribs so good everyone will want to know your secret ingredient.

Ingredients

BBQ dry rub is easy to make with common spice ingredients found in your pantry. There is one secret ingredient that levels this rub up to award-winning. Have you ever cooked with maple sugar?

Award Winning Dry Rub For Ribs. three wood shelves with bottles of rub spice on them

What is in a great pork dry rub?

  • Paprika: For this recipe, use smoked paprika. It gives your rub a slightly smoky flavor. 
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder: You can use a mild blend or a slightly spicier chili powder. 
  • Cayenne pepper: I suggest starting with just a teaspoon for this recipe. However, If you would like some spicy heat on your ribs, add 2 teaspoons or more. 
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Maple Sugar: (secret ingredient) The sugar is made from 100% pure maple syrup. It is a crystal form similar to white sugar but with a sweet maple flavor, perfect for adding a sweet maple flavor to your ribs or other BBQ meat. 

Dry rub secret ingredient

Today I want to share a new twist on BBQ rubs that I created. I love a sweet and spicy rub but wanted something other than brown sugar. I decided to try maple sugar, knowing it would give the meat a sweet, earthy note along with the other rub spices.

Maple sugar is made out of 100% pure maple syrup. It is completely unrefined, giving perfect sweetness the way God created it for our enjoyment.


For this recipe, try Maple Joe Pure Maple Sugar. It’s great to use in all kinds of recipes, or try sprinkling on your warm popcorn for a late-night sweet treat.

*See the recipe card for a complete list and quantities.

Instructions

  1. Measure all your ingredients into a glass jar.
  2. Next, place a tight-fitting lid on your jar and shack well to combine all the seasonings.
  3. Store in a cool, dry cabinet.

💭 Tips

This rub is not just for ribs. It is also an excellent seasoning for pork chops, country-style ribs, pork shoulder, spare ribs, or beef brisket. I have also enjoyed it on chicken and salmon. It has the perfect combination of sweet and savory that complements almost every type of meat you might grill.

Be sure and make a double batch of Award-Winning Maple Dry Rub. You can use some on your ribs for dinner tonight, then the next time you cook out, you could try it on chicken or salmon. Keep it in an airtight container in your spice cabinet for the best result.

More ways to use this rub

  • Add a few teaspoons of this dry rub for ribs to a cup of store-bought BBQ sauce. This is a great way to add a little kick of flavor to a plain BBQ sauce.
  • If you plan to cook your meat low and slow, you might like to add some barbecue sauce with this your rub seasoning. This will create a wet rub which will infuse flavor while helping your meat not to dry out.

Customize your rub

  • If you are not a fan of maple but still want to add a bit of sweetness to your bbq rub, substitute the maple sugar for Holy Hive Real Honey Powder.
  • Want more heat? Add a teaspoon or two of Habanero Ground Pepper Powder
  • Add a tablespoon of ground cinnamon to add another layer of sweet spice.

Gift idea


If you need a gift for someone special in your life that loves to grill, then help them become one of the best pit masters with a jar of the best dry rub.


First, click the recipe card below. You can multiply your recipe by hitting the 2x or 3x to ensure you make enough rub. Next, get some nice glass jars to fill once you have your dry rub seasoning mixed up. I use these 4-ounce glass spice jars for my extensive seasoning collection.

I have created a sheet of free custom Award-Winning Maple Dry Rub labels to make this great rib rub gift even better.

someone holding a phone with the printable dry rub labels

Throw in a slab of ribs, and you have the perfect unique gift for Father’s Day or that special someone’s birthday.

How to put dry rub on ribs

  1. It’s easy to put a dry rub on ribs. First rinse of any solution that the ribs were packaged in.
  2. Pat them dry with paper towels. 
  3.  Using your hands is the best way to put a dry rub on. It’s good to use plastic gloves for easy and safe cleanup. 
  4.  Dry rub ribs until they are well coated on the sides of the ribs, back, and top.
  5. Next, wrap the ribs in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place the ribs into a refrigerator and allow the ribs to sit for 3 to 4 hours before cooking.

Do you put oil on ribs before dry rub?

It is unnecessary to put oil on ribs before putting on a good dry rub. The meat has enough moisture for the rub to adhere.

I Want To Answer Your Questions & Hear Your Comments

Do you have a question about this recipe❓ I will answer in the comment form below👇🏼 the recipe card. Did you make this recipe? If so, could you be a gem and leave a comment and rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below? This helps others find yummy 😋 recipes to make for their family and friends.

award winning dry rub for ribs in a wooden bowl
5 from 2 ratings

Award Winning Dry Rub For Ribs

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 36 teaspoons
If you want a great dry rub recipe for ribs, you need to mix up this Award Winning Dry Rub For Ribs. This homemade dry rub has a sweet maple-infused flavor with savory spices and just a touch of heat. Friends and family will say you are a pit master with this award-winning dry rub for ribs at your next BBQ.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Measure all your ingredients into a glass jar.
  • Next, place a tight-fitting lid on your jar and shack well to combine all the seasonings.
  • Store in a cool, dry cabinet for up to three months.

Notes

Customize your rub
If you are not a fan of maple but still want to add a bit of sweetness to your bbq rub, substitute the maple sugar for Holy Hive Real Honey Powder.
Want more heat? Add a teaspoon or two of Habanero Ground Pepper Powder
Add a tablespoon of ground cinnamon to add another layer of sweet spice.
More ways to use this rub
  • Add a few teaspoons of this dry rub for ribs to a cup of store-bought BBQ sauce. This is a great way to add a little kick of flavor to a plain BBQ sauce.
  • If you plan to cook your meat low and slow, you might like to add some barbecue sauce with this your rub seasoning. This will create a wet rub which will infuse flavor while helping your meat not to dry out.
Serving: 1teaspoon, Calories: 11kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 69mg, Potassium: 23mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 186IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Seasoning
Author: Gina Dickson

⭐️ One last thing, please leave a rating and comment letting me know how you liked making this recipe. This helps me provide more free, high-quality recipes for everyone.

Did you make this recipe?Show it off! Share on Instagram, tag @intentionalhospitality. Are you a food enthusiast who enjoys trying new recipes and sharing your thoughts about them? I would love to have you join our VIP Recipe Testers Group. Learn More !

Update Notes: This post was originally published in 2016, but was republished with new photos, step-by-step instructions, tips, and in June of 2022.