Sweet & Smoky Dry Rub for Ribs

This Sweet & Smoky Dry Rub for Ribs is going to be a new BBQ, grilling, wood smoker or even oven baked ribs favourite! 

Jump to RecipePinSave to Favorites

Site Index BBQ Charcoal Ribs Wood smoker

This post may contain affiliate links. See my privacy policy for details.

My new Sweet and Smokey Dry Rub for Ribs will be used all summer long in this house. There is nothing like a sweet, smoky, and spicy dry rub to amp up your grilling or wood smoker game. Don’t have either of those? Make the ribs in the oven—no problem!

If you are looking for a sauced rib, try these smoked ribs!

 Pink ramekins with Dry Rub for Ribs

Dry Rub for Ribs Done in the Oven, Smoker, Or BBQ

You can make pork ribs in the oven, on a smoker, or on BBQ; don’t feel like you have to own a smoker to make ribs. The best part about this dry rub is that it is going to give you that smoky flavor without you even having to turn on the BBQ!

However, we prefer to use our smoker, and we will have a recipe coming right up for those of you who like to use a home smoker.

For now, I just wanted you all to have a great rib rub that is going to taste amazing when done in the oven! The secret ingredient is smoked paprika, which is a great trick when you want a nice smoky flavor but don’t want to BBQ.

Rib Rub Commonly Asked Questions & Answers

What is a dry rub?

A dry rub is a mixture of dried herbs and spices rubbed on the outside of meat before cooking it. It helps seal in moisture by creating a layer ( the bark) on the outside of the meat and makes the meat flavourful.

What is the best seasoning to put on ribs?

The best seasoning is the one that you prefer. Listen, people take their rib rub recipes seriously- like taking the secret spices to the grave with them seriously. The main base for a good rib can include:

  • paprika ( smoked or normal)
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • black pepper
  •  chili powder
  • ground white pepper
  • onion powder
  • oregano
  • mustard powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • red chili flakes

Any and all of these are unique spices for a great rib rub; it’s all about what you prefer. Don’t take this as the end-all, be-all list of rib rub spices, either; there are many combinations!

Sprinkling dry rib rub on top of raw pork ribs
Sprinkling dry rib rub on top of raw pork ribs

How long do I cook ribs?

Ribs must be cooked low and slow to be the best. You can’t cook them at a high temperature; the best temperatures are from 225 to 325 °F. At those temperatures, the ribs will take anywhere from 2 1/2 to 6 hours ( the higher the temperature, the less time they will take).

Ribs are not something that you should throw in the oven in a hurry after work; they take some planning and care to get them cooked perfectly.

How do you apply the dry rub to meat?

You simply rub it on with your hands and in large quantities. I’ve heard that you should use 2 tbsp PER POUND! of meat, and that’s probably a good guess. You want the rub to form the “bark” on the outside of the ribs, which helps keep the moisture in and is the most sought-after, flavourful part of the ribs.

This rib rub recipe will make enough to cover 3 (2-3 lb) slabs of pork ribs, and it was perfect, even though it was less than 2 tbsp per pound.

Raw pork ribs being prepared with rib rub on a baking sheet
Raw pork ribs being prepared with rib rub on a baking sheet

Oven Baked Method

I tend to cook my oven-baked ribs at a higher temperature for less time because the oven really heats up the house. Cooking them at 325 will still take a few hours! If you don’t mind the heat or using that much electricity, go ahead and cook them for 4-5 hours at a lower temperature. You do need to use a cookie sheet to container the mess.

Smoker or BBQ Method

You place the ribs right onto the racks for the smoker or the BBQ. You also want to cook these lower and slower, and you can add a handful of damp woodchips to your smoker if you like. These are also really flavorful, but a little hickory smoke wouldn’t hurt!

If you want another ribs recipe, try my Salt and Pepper Ribs, Country Style Ribs, or you can see all of my pork recipes!

Happy grilling!



Sweet & Smoky Dry Rub for Ribs

This Sweet & Smoky Dry Rub for Ribs is going to be a new BBQ, grilling, wood smoker or even oven baked ribs favourite! 
5 from 43 votes
Raw pork ribs being prepared with rib rub on a baking sheet
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
5 hours
Total Time
5 hours 5 minutes
Main Course
North American
3 racks of ribs
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons flaked sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes ( optional)


  • two (3 pounds) slabs your favourite ribs


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees or prepare your BBQ/Smoker for your own preference. 
  • Whisk together the dry rub ingredients. 
  • Use 1/3 of the mixture on each slab of ribs that you have. Each slab should be approximately 3 lbs ( see the ones in our photos for size reference.) Place any remaining rub in a sealed container for later.;
  • Place the ribs on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

Oven Method

  • Bake in the oven at 325F for at least 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is pulling off of the bone.

BBQ Method

  • Cook in the smoker or the BBQ according to your favourite methods, usually around 250 ° for 4-5 hours until the meat is falling off the bone! 

Recipe Notes

  • PLEASE NOTE that the calories are calculated on the SPICE only and doesn’t include any ribs that you are using! 
  • You usually don’t want to run your indoor oven long, which is why you can cook them at a higher temperature than the smoker or BBQ. You can also cook them lower and slower inside!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 105kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Sodium: 4705mg, Potassium: 221mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin A: 3090IU, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 1.8mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

Made this recipe?

Share a photo of what you made on Instagram or Facebook and tag me @thekitchenmagpie or hashtag it #thekitchenmagpie.

Please rate this recipe in the comments below to help out your fellow cooks!

Learn to cook like the Kitchen Magpie

A Very Prairie Christmas Bakebook

Vintage Baking to Celebrate the Festive Season!

Learn More

a copy of Flapper Pie cook book

Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky

A Modern Baker’s Guide to Old-Fashioned Desserts

Learn More

The Prairie Table

Suppers, Potlucks & Socials: Crowd-Pleasing Recipes to Bring People Together

Learn More

 Pin This Recipe to Your BBQ/GRILLING Board or SUPPER IDEAS Board and Remember to FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST!

This Sweet & Smoky Dry Rub for Ribs is going to be a new BBQ, grilling, wood smoker or even oven baked ribs favourite! #BBQ #ribs #grilling #summer #rub #spices #barbecue #meat #recipe

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

Site Index BBQ Charcoal Ribs Wood smoker

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Bob Bussiere says

    I hare when the BBQ is too salty. So, I am one to use less salt for a rub than the recipe requests. Ribs turned out great (for me) using a little less salt. I use Real Salt only (got hooked on it when in Utah 15 years a go and that’s all I use now. As a rookie I made the mistake of going to the dollar tree to get something called Memphis BBQ rub. Way, way too salty. I should have know better but I did learn my lesson. 5 Stars for this recipe.5 stars

  2. Mike Ostopowich says

    I skipped the red pepper flakes and rubbed on ribs and refrigerated for 2.5 hours. Best rub ever. Last night I used the rub on salmon steaks cooked on t-fal opti-grill. Absolutely delicious. Next up-chicken thighs!

  3. KAREN PILLER says

    Hi Karlynn, love your web site and recipes. Could this recipe work with sweet and sour cut ribs to get like a dry garlic rib????

  4. G Rey says

    I baked it while having it in foil (with extra space) to tenderize it a bit. Followed the oven temp but after an hour, I smelled something almost burning. When I opened the foil, there the spaces in between the meat was burnt! I guess it was from the sugar in the rub. Transferred the ribs to a new foil (as it was still not tender) but put some sauce on top in order for the ribs to have a moist source. Turned out tender and roasted after less than an hour. And the taste was superb!
    Q: how do I prevent it from having burnt parts on the foil? I brushed the foil with EVOO but does this mean I need more of this? Some techniques would be helpful. 😊

  5. Jeana says

    I don’t have flaked sea salt on hand. How much Himalayan Pink salt would you recommend to replace the flaked salt?

  6. Ed Matthews says

    I would add a 1/4 cup of white sugar and use granulated garlic. All in all this rub should be fine.
    USMC66′-5 stars

  7. A.Rrajani Photographer says


  8. Janice H says

    Love this rub mix! Look no further! This is by far the best one I have tried. Better than any of those TV celebrity chef’s recipes out there on the web.5 stars

  9. Lisa says

    Delicious! I cooked them for 3.5 hours on 275° wrapped tightly in foil. Then spread some sauce on and broiled for 3-4 min.5 stars

  10. Paul GOLUB says


  11. Whitney says

    I have used a lot of rubs and this one is the perfect balance! Not too sweet. Not too salty. Not too peppery. Perfect. The red pepper flakes may be a bit hot for some and I will try it with a little ground cayenne pepper next time.5 stars

  12. Alicia says

    Do I have to cover the ribs with foil while baking?

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      Foil is to speed up the cooking, such as with a brisket that can take 10-12 hours! You also won’t get that crunchy outside bark, it will be softer, so you CAN foil them if you want the outside softer.5 stars

Leave a Comment or Recipe Tip

Recipe Rating

Enter your email to get this recipe emailed to you, so you don’t lose it and get new recipes daily!