Whipping up a delicious dinner can take some serious skill and time. Before you get those sides into the oven and start cooking your main, you'll need to settle on the best dry rub for you and your tastes. There are a good number of spices and no one has the time to sift through all of them at the grocery store, wondering which ones will complement each other. Don't you worry because we're here to help take the daunting nature out of this task and give you some pointers on which dry rubs are the best ones out there.

What Are Dry Rubs And Why Do They Work?

a collection of spices in white mugs

A dry rub is a mixture of various spices and herbs that not only work well together but complement different types of meat. They are rubbed into the meat before cooking (and are sometimes left to marinate) to bring out the flavor and soak into the food before you consume it. The difference between a rub and a marinade is that a marinade usually includes a liquid of some kind (wine, sauce, paste) and can also be used to tenderize the meat.

Rubs are crucial for dinner depending on what you're making. There are some meats out there that don't necessarily need anything too particular - like steak - but there are other cuts of meat that do well with a nice rub, such as chicken or pork. Just remember that even if a steak can do well with just salt, pepper, and olive oil you can still play around in the kitchen and mix spices that will still be a home run.

An important reminder before jumping in is not to worry about adding spices you're not a fan of. If a dry rub recipe calls for an herb you'd rather omit, you can swap it out or ignore it, but you should also consider keeping it in. The medley of flavors will leave you with a flavorful end result that isn't too reliant on just one herb. Not to mention, the taste of the meat will also cancel out that one spice you're not too keen on.

Dry Rubs For Chicken

a roasted chicken on a platter being served for dinner
  • Popular spices that go well with chicken are tarragon, oregano, garlic, marjoram, chili powder, thyme, rosemary, and sage.

Chicken is a classic meat that most people can indulge in. It's also one of the more versatile food options that will allow you to play around with different rubs and marinades and calls for something a little more extravagant than some salt and pepper.

Dry Rub For Roast Chicken

  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of dried oregano
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder

This combination works in many of the popular herbs and spices that go well with chicken without being too overpowering. These herbs are also easy to find in grocery stores, so you won't need to whip up anything crazy.

Dry Rub For Chicken Breast

  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon of sage
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder

This particular combination is a great blend of spicy and sweet and will bring tons of flavor to your chicken breasts.

Dry Rubs For Pork

spare ribs on the grill next to tomatoes
  • Popular spices that go well with pork are rosemary, thyme, garlic, sage, cumin, and mustard.

When you're looking to get a good pork dinner in, there are a few choice herbs and spices that will bring home the flavor and make your dinner an unforgettable one.

Dry Rub For Pork Chops

  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • ½ tablespoon of garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon of onion powder
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of ground mustard

Mixing the more commonly used herbs for pork in with paprika gives your chops a delightful sweetness that will only enhance the experience.

Dry Rub For Spare Ribs

  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of smoked paprika
  • ½ tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

This spice combo is a terrific way to get a bit of a spice, smokiness, and the popular herbs that specifically complement pork.

Dry Rubs For Beef

a raw slab of steak with herbs and spices on it
  • Popular spices for beef are thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic, rosemary, and tarragon.

There aren't very many of us out there who can resist a juicy steak dinner. But just like dry rubs, there is a wide variety of beef cuts out there and each can be complemented with their own kind of seasoning.

Dry Rub for Ribeye Steak

  • 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of black salt
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

This might seem like it won't be enough to offer any flavor, but this cut of steak doesn't need anything else but these simple spices. Make sure you're using Kosher salt and rubbing it into the meat so it grabs onto the flavor and the seasoning doesn't just sit on top.

Dry Rub For T-Bone Steak

  • 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon of onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar

Even though you can use the simple rub above for any cut of steak it doesn't hurt to add some new things in there. By using less salt and adding some complementing spices you'll still be able to pack a punch.

Dry Rubs For Turkey

a person carving into a turkey
  • Popular spices for turkey are basil, sage, thyme, parsley, cumin, and oregano.

Bringing a nice big turkey out of the oven for a grand feast gets the blood pumping at the table, but that also means there's a bit of pressure to get everything just right. Even if you're just indulging in a turkey breast, seasoning a savory piece of meat requires just the right kind of herbs.

Dry Rub For Whole Turkey

  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon of onion powder
  • ½ tablespoon of tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons of dried sage

While this works as a great dry rub you can add 3 tablespoons of butter, which is another seasoning that complements turkey. The butter will help to make the turkey juicier and these spices help bring out the flavor.

Dry Rub For Turkey Breast

  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of thyme
  • ½ teaspoon of onion powder

When you're working with just a turkey breast or two you don't need as much seasoning, but you can still change things up a bit to fit better for the smaller pieces.

a collection of spices on spoons on a black surface

One of the most important things you can do in the kitchen is to make something your own. These are the rubs that we like to turn to, but that doesn't mean you can't tweak these dry rubs to have them fit your tastes. Either way, these recipes are sure to bring the most from your meat and make a memorable meal!

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