Beef Rib Rub

This beef rib rub is your best bet for flavorful low and slow-cooked beef ribs. The salt balances the sweetness, and the layers of heat are deep and bright and add a little kick. If you want the perfect barbecue beef ribs, this rub is the ideal place to start.

When cooking meat low and slow, it is best to layer the flavors as you go. Start with a good seasoning like this beef rib rub recipe. From there, add wood chunks or chips like hickory, oak, or maple to the fire. Use a BBQ spritz after the first hour of cook time to keep the ribs from drying out, and of course, finish it all off with a good barbecue sauce. Of course, the sauce is not required! 

Types of Beef Ribs:

Beef Ribs done

Beef plate ribs: Yea, these are the huge, impressive beef ribs you see posted on social media. These ribs are also known as plate short ribs, dino ribs, brisket ribs, or plate ribs. Beef plate ribs are cut from the short plate section located on the lower rib portion of the steer. Typically sold in 3-4 bone racks, these well-marbled ribs are great candidates for low and slow cooking. Season them with a good dry rub or a simple Texas-inspired SPG Rub for the perfect smoked beef ribs! 

Slow Grilled Beef Short Ribs Recipe

Short Ribs: These beef ribs are cut higher up on the rib section of the steer. Like plate ribs, these short ribs are meaty and delicious, though they are nearly 1/3 of the size of a plate rib.  

Korean Flanken Ribs (Kalbi)

Beef Flanken Ribs: These ribs are literally plate ribs cut across the bone rather than between them. These thin ribs are popular in Korean cooking. While marinades work well with these ribs, they can be seasoned with a simple beef rib rub and grilled hot and fast.

Barbecue Beef Rib Rub

Beef Back Ribs: These delicious ribs are the leftover rib section after the butcher has removed the ribeye cap. These ribs contain far less meat on top of the bones, with most of it distributed between them. Back ribs cook faster than plate ribs but are also great candidates for low and slow smoking.

Beef Finger Ribs

Finger Ribs: Not to be confused with “beef finger meat,” which are strips of beef taken from between the bones, finger ribs are bone-in beef ribs that are the length of an index finger. Like beef back ribs, finger ribs cook quickly and benefit from a flavorful beef rib rub. Cook these ribs over indirect heat on your grill or smoker.

What you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Coarse salt: Kosher or sea salt
  • Brown sugar: There are two types to choose from; dark and light brown sugar. We recommend using dark brown sugar as it contains more molasses and has a deep rich flavor. However, light brown sugar will work in a pinch.
  • Paprika: Use the standard sweet paprika found in most grocery stores. 
  • Chili powder: Use a standard mild chili powder. However, if you’d like a deeper, richer beef rib rub, use dark chili powder. Both are available at local grocery chains.
  • Ground black pepper: Fresh grind versus pre-ground. This is a matter of personal choice and time. If you have a pepper grinder, aim for medium or fine ground black pepper.
  • Cayenne: Keep your heat tolerance in mind. While this recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of cayenne, that doesn’t mean you can’t adjust it to suit your taste buds. If you are heat intolerant, use 1 teaspoon or less; if you love spicy foods, add a little more.
  • Garlic powder: One of the easiest ways to add savory flavor to a rub is by adding garlic powder. You can also substitute with granulated garlic if needed.

How to use this Beef Rib Rub:

You do not need to remove the membrane from the back of the beef ribs. Some outdoor cooking experts do, and some don’t. We typically leave the membrane on. Combine the beef rib rub ingredients and either transfer to a large spice shaker or apply it by hand. If you would like the rub to be finer, place it through a spice grinder first. Coat the meat section and sides well, and cook as directed. You can apply this beef ribs rub anywhere from 1-3 hours ahead of time. Store covered in your refrigerator until 30 minutes before you are ready to place it on your grill or smoker.

Beef Rib Rub Cover

Beef Rib Rub

This rub is designed to put real barbecue flavor into beef ribs. The salt balances the sweet, and the layers of heat make for a delicious flavor that is deep and bright, with a little kick. If you want the perfect barbecue beef ribs, this rub is the place to start.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Rubs
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: barbecue ribs, barbecue rub, beef ribs, rib rubs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 0.75 Cup
Calories: 443kcal
Author: Sabrina Baksh


  • 1/4 cup coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp chili powder mild or medium
  • 2 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder


  • Combine all ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Apply to beef roast as needed. Remember that what sticks is all you'll need
  • Make up a large batch and store in an airtight container for future cooks. Take only what you need. Discard any leftover rub that has come into contact with raw meat.
  • Use roughly 1 tablespoon of beef rib rub per pound of beef.


Photos by: Sabrina Baksh for


Calories: 443kcal | Carbohydrates: 106g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 38107mg | Potassium: 1048mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 75g | Vitamin A: 9963IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 246mg | Iron: 7mg

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Beef Rib Rub

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