If you’re planning a large cookout and need a delicious seasoning recipe for your ribs or pork roasts, we highly recommend our ultimate magic dust rub. It strikes a perfect balance between earthy flavors and a touch of sweetness from the sugar. It’s perfect for multiple racks of ribs or a couple of pork butts on the smoker. Give it a try and impress your guests with the delectable flavors.
Who invented magic dust rub?
Magic Dust was invented by the late Mike Mills, Pitmaster and owner of 17th Street Barbecue in Illinois. Mill’s seasoning mixture remains popular today and contains sugar, earthy spices like cumin, and chili powder.
More about Mike Mills
I had encountered Mike Mills on a few occasions. He was a legend in barbecue. His 17th Street Barbecue in Murphysboro, IL, is on most people’s crawl list. The Murphysboro “Praise the Lard” BBQ Competition attracts the best of the best.
At the Jack (the Jack Daniel’s Invitation World Championship BBQ Competition), our meeting was more than a quick ‘hello’ in a crowded room. Jack Daniels had invited me to be a guest judge, and Mike was a perennial feature of that competition.
Mill’s Signature Style
One of the many traditions of the Jack is the apron signing. Every judge gets a black apron and a silver sharpie. While waiting for the first barbecue to be turned in, people talk and sign each other’s aprons, like yearbook day on the last day of the school year.
At this event, Mike walked straight up to me and asked for my autograph on his apron. The first one for that year. We swapped aprons and talked for a few minutes as people queued up for Mike’s signature. In turn, they got mine, and I got theirs. He asked me about what I do, we talked barbecue, and eventually, we sat down to start the job of judging barbecue.
Mike Mills passed away in December of 2020. His passing left a hole in the legacy of barbecue that will never be filled.
Ingredients for magic dust rub
- Paprika: Look for a sweet or American variety. Avoid smoked or spicy paprika.
- Cumin: The powdered variety. You can also grind 6 tablespoons toasted cumin seeds for fresher flavor
- Chili powder: Use a mild American-style chili powder for this rub.
- Dark brown sugar works best for this rub.
- Salt: Regular salt or you can use coarse salt like kosher or sea salt. Don’t use any salt with a very large crystal.
- Black Pepper: A fine or medium ground is sufficient.
- Granulated Garlic: Substitute with garlic powder but cut the amount by half.
- Cayenne: This spicy powder provides the heat necessary that makes all the magic in this magic dust rub. You can halve the amount if preferred.
- If you are a visual learner, please watch my video below!
How to use this rub
Combine all of the magic dust ingredients and either sprinkle or pat in on by hand, or you can fill up a large metal spice shaker and apply it as pictured below. Cook as directed!
Make a big batch of this ultimate magic dust rub and store it in an airtight container in the cupboard for up to one year.
Like this Magic Dust Recipe? Try these!
The Ultimate Magic Dust Rub
- 1/2 cup paprika (not smoked)
- 1/4 cup sugar I use Turbinado Sugar
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1/4 cup salt
- 1/4 cup cumin powder
- 1/4 cup granulated garlic or 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 2 tablespoons cayenne (use less if preferred)
- Combine rub ingredients in a medium bowl making sure to work out any clumps from the brown sugar. Use immediately.
- Store any unused rub in an air tight container in the cupboard for up to 6 months after preparation. Give it a good shake before using to remix the ingredients.
- Discard any remaining rub that has come into contact raw meat.
- Double or triple the recipe and save for future uses!
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.