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Memphis Style Rib Rub

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>For the best ribs you’ve ever had, start with this fantastic Memphis Rib Rub! Loaded with herbs and spices, this simple, easy rub is a breeze to make, and even easier to use!

Memphis Style Rub

Memphis BBQ:

Memphis is known for its “dry” ribs. “Dry” ribs start with a flavorful rub and then are smoked low and slow. No sauce. Just ribs, herbs, and spices. This savory rub begins with a generous amount of paprika and extends from there with the addition of earthy ingredients like chili powder and a little cumin. While this rub is perfect for ribs, you can use it on a variety of meats as well. So, give this one a try next time you fire up the grill or smoker.

List of Ingredients

If you want the perfect Memphis rib rub, you’ll need the following:

  1. Paprika (not smoked)
  2. Chili powder
  3. Granulated garlic (substitute with garlic powder)
  4. Coarse salt and black pepper (Kosher salt works great!)
  5. Onion powder
  6. White sugar (Omit to make a low carb rub)
  7. Dried Oregano
  8. Cayenne pepper

How to make Memphis-Style Rib Rub:

Place all of the spices and herbs into a medium-sized bowl. Combine with a whisk or fork to remove any clumps. I recommend a medium ground black pepper, but you can use a finer grind if preferred.

Use your rub right away, or store it in an airtight container. I use these jars to store my barbecue rubs and other spices.

how much rub to use

How much rub should I use?

The general rule of rubs is to use 1 tablespoon per pound of meat. Below I have provided estimates.

Ribs: Use 1/4 cup per rack of baby back ribs, 1/3 cup for St. Louis cut, and 1/2 cup for spare ribs

Roasts: For a 10-pound pork shoulder, use roughly 2/3 of a cup of rub. For a 5-6 pound roast, use 1/3 cup.

Tenderloin: Use 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of rub

Pork chops and steaks: Use 1 tablespoon of rub per pound of meat

How to use Memphis-style rib rub:

applying rub

Start by brushing on a light coat of yellow mustard or vegetable oil. If you’d prefer not to add those items, simply omit this step.

You can apply the rub by hand or transfer what you need to a large shakers and apply it that way. Remember to season both sides.

rib rub

Ribs should be well coated and ready to cook! Now give this rub recipe and try and have a great cookout!

Memphis Style RubMemphis Style Rub

Memphis Style Rub

Memphis is known for its "dry" ribs. "Dry" ribs start out with a rub and then are smoked low and slow.  No sauce. Just ribs, herbs and spices.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin
Course: Rubs
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: Memphis dry ribs, Memphis rib rub, Memphis-style rib rub
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 2 Cups
Calories: 224kcal


  • 2/3 cup paprika (not smoked)
  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup granulated garlic
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons medium ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper


  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Make sure to work out any clumps. Store rub in an airtight container in the cupboard for up to 6 months
  • Apply rub over meaty portion of pork ribs or all over pork roasts and larger cuts of meat. Cook as directed.
  • Discard any rub that has come into contact with raw meat. It's best to take out a 1/4 cup at a time, use that first and go from there. This recipe is enough for 4 slabs of ribs and about 2 standard sized pork roasts.


Photos by: Sabrina Baksh
PixelsAway/ Depositphotos


Calories: 224kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 12242mg | Potassium: 645mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 2048IU | Vitamin C: 67mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 6mg

Looking for more ideas? See my list of the best BBQ Pork Rib Rubs.

Not everyone has a big serious smoker. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make great barbecue ribs. Try these methods for the equipment you have and combine them with any of the Top 10 Pork Rib Rubs

Back of House Ltd. Metal Dredge Shaker

Apply your spice rubs like a professional with a spice shaker (aka Dredge). This one from Winware has a heavy build, is machine washable, and holds plenty of spice rub. Plus it costs about $7. Just make sure you don’t use this to store your rubs. It isn’t airtight.

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