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Memphis Dust Rub

This Memphis Dust Rub recipe incorporates all the key flavors of this distinct U.S. regional barbecue cooking style. Memphis is known for all things pork, especially pulled pork and dry-rubbed ribs.

Memphis Dust Rub in white bowl
derrickriches.com

One of the standout characteristics is the Memphis rub is the balance of earthy spices. While each Pitmaster has crafted their own “secret” recipe, two ingredients stand out the most: garlic powder and paprika. Our homemade Memphis Dust Rub includes those key items and so much more! If you’re looking for a pork rub rich in flavor and is simple to make, you’ve come to the right place. Most of these spices are already in your pantry, so it’s just a matter of grabbing a few bottles and getting to work! This recipe makes 1 1/2 cups of Memphis Dust Rub.

Ingredients for Memphis Dust Rub:

  • Paprika: Use regular paprika for this recipe. If you want to add a little smoke, combine 6 tablespoons of regular paprika with 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika.
  • Dark brown sugar: Typically, Memphis rubs do not contain sugar, or a very minimal amount, You can omit the sugar all together. Keep in mind that this Memphis Dust Rub recipe contains 3 tablespoons of sugar (brown and white). If you choose to remove the sugar, this recipe will yield 1 cup + 1 tablespoon of rub rather than 1 1/4 cups.
  • Kosher salt: Please see notes on salt below
  • White sugar: See note notes section in recipe.
  • Onion powder
  • Granulated garlic: We recommend using granulated garlic for rubs, but you can certainly substitute with garlic powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper: Adjust to your liking.
  • Celery Seeds: These seeds will lend an aromatic, astringent flavor to the dry rub. Leave them whole, or break them down with a mortar and pestle for a finer finish. Celery seeds will not overpower the rub, but you can them with dill or fennel seeds.
  • Dried Oregano

How to Make It:

  • Mix Memphis dust rub ingredients in a bowl. Use a fork to combine the ingredients.
  • Place the mixture into a spice grinder or a small food processor if for a more refined rub. Pulse 5-7 times.
  • Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the cupboard for up to 1 year after preparation. Check on it periodically for clumping.
  • Double or triple this recipe and store it for later use. 
  • NOTE ON SALT: If you like to prepare your rubs without salt, simply combine the other ingredients, and use. You can pre salt your meat 2-4 hours beforehand. Use 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat.
Rib rub applied to spare ribs

How to Use Memphis Dust Rub:

  • Use this homemade Memphis dust rub on all cuts of pork and poultry. For those exploring Memphis BBQ flavors for the first time, we recommend starting with a rack of spare ribs or a pork butt. 
  • Use 1 tablespoon of rub per pound of meat. So, if you have a 6-pound pork roast, use 6 tablespoons or 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons. See note in “How to Make It” section about salt.
  • Prep your roast as instructed. If cooking ribs, trim off any excess fat or hanging bits of meat. Remove the membrane from the bone side. Blot meat dry with paper towels.
  • Apply a light coating of yellow or Dijon mustard or a hot sauce binder to your pork. Doing this will help the Memphis Dust Rub stick to the surface of the meat. Use about 1/2-1 tablespoon of mustard or hot sauce and slather it on the ribs. Don’t worry; the finished product will not taste like mustard or be too spicy. It will be delicious, though! 
  • Let the Memphis dust rub rest on the meat for at least 15-20 minutes before placing it into your grill or smoker.  
Memphis Dust Rub close up in a white bowl
Sabrina Baksh/derrickriches.com

Tips:

  • Use a tablespoon or two of this Memphis dust rub in your injection marinades, BBQ sauces, and marinades.
  • Make up a large batch, and take out only what you need. Store in glass jars for safe-keeping.
  • Discard any leftover rub that has come into contact with raw meat.
  • Serve your dry rub ribs or pulled pork with a side of Memphis Barbecue Sauce!
Memphis Dust Rub

Memphis Dust Rub

This amazing Memphis Dust Rub is great on all types of pork and poultry. Use this fabulous dry rub for all your grilled and smoked foods!
5 from 6 votes
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Course: Rubs
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: bbq rub, dry rub, Memphis dust, Memphis dust rub
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 1.25 cups
Calories: 26kcal
Author: Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt *see recipe notes
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds

Instructions

  • *See note below on salt and sugar.
    Place all ingredients into a spice grinder or a small food processor if for a more refined rub. Pulse 5-7 times.
    Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the cupboard for up to 1 year after preparation. Check on it periodically for clumping.
  • Double or triple the recipe to store for later use. Discard any rub that may have come into contact with raw meat.

Notes

  • NOTE ON SALT: If you like to prepare your rubs without salt, simply combine the other ingredients, and use. You can pre salt your meat 2-4 hours beforehand. Use 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat.
  • NOTE ON SUGAR: Traditionally, Memphis rubs do not include sugar. This recipe calls for 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar and 1 tablespoon white sugar. It’s a minimal amount, however, you can omit them completely from the recipe. If you choose to do so, the rub recipe will yield: 1 cup +1 tablespoon of rub, rather than 1 1/4 cups of rub. 

Nutrition

Calories: 26kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 583mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 169IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
Derrick Riches

I began writing about Barbecue & Grilling in 1997 with one mission, to help the backyard chef have the best experience possible.

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