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Sweet & Smoky Dry Rub for Ribs

Site Index BBQ Charcoal Ribs Wood smoker

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

 Dry Rub for Ribs
Dry Rub for Ribs

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

You can make pork ribs in the oven, smoker or in your BBQ, don’t feel like you have to own a smoker in order to make ribs. The best part about this dry rub is that it is going to give you that smoky flavour without you even having to turn on the BBQ! We prefer to use our smoker however and we will have a recipe coming right up for those of you that 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 done in the oven! The secret ingredient is smoked paprika, which is a great trick when you want a nice smoky flavour but don’t want to BBQ.

Sweet & Smoky Dry Rub for Ribs
Sweet & Smoky Dry Rub for Ribs

Rib Rub Commonly Asked Questions & Answers

What is a dry rub?

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

What is the best seasoning to put on ribs?

The best seasoning is the one that you prefer, to be honest. Listen, people take their rib rub recipes seriously- like take the secret spices to the grave with them serious. 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 amazing 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 need to be cooked low and slow in order to have the best ribs ever. You can’t cook them at a high temp, the best temperatures are from 225 to 300 °F for cooking ribs. At those temperatures, the ribs will take anywhere from 2 1/2-6 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 in order 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 that 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 is less than the 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

For this recipe I am going to give you the rub recipe and then some simple cooking instructions for it. Like I mentioned earlier, I will be writing up a ribs recipe for you all this week!

If you want another ribs recipe, try my Salt and Pepper Ribs, those are another favourite!

Happy grilling!



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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

Learn to cook like the Kitchen Magpie

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 2 votes
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
5 hours
Total Time
5 hours 5 minutes
Main Course
North American
Karlynn Johnston


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


  • 2 (3 lb) slabs your favourite ribs


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees or prepare your BBQ/Smoker for your own preference. 

  2. Whisk together the dry rub ingredients. 

  3. 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.;

  4. Place the ribs on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

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

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.

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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. 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.

  2. 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.

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