Award Winning Baby Back Rib Rub {Best Championship Recipe}

Championship Rib Rub

What makes an award winning rub?  A balance of flavors.  Hitting all taste buds on the tongue.  The perfect blend of heat & sweet.

That’s exactly what this rib rub does.  It’s perfect, in my humble opinion.  And the multiple trophies and ribbons tend to agree with me.

This rub is part of our Championship Rib Recipe that won Second Place at the Memphis in May World BBQ Championship.

Award Winning Rib Rub for Baby Back Ribs

The secret recipe!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Dry Rub
Cuisine American
Calories 10 kcal


  • 3/4 c Paprika
  • 1/2 c White Sugar
  • 1/4 c Granulated Garlic
  • 1/8 c Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 2 tbsp. Salt
  • 1 tbsp. Cayenne
  • 1 tbsp. Cumin
  • 1 tbsp. Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp. Oregano
  • 2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Thyme


  • Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  • Apply rub liberally to your baby back ribs.
Keyword award winning baby back rib dry rub recipe

Use this rub or either baby back ribs or St Louis Style spare ribs.  Apply just enough rub that you can still see some of the meat, pat it into the ribs and let it stand for at least 30 minutes before placing the ribs in your smoker.

How Long Should the Rub Be on the Baby Back Ribs Before Cooking?

I like to let the rub sit on the meat for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour before the ribs go on the smoker.  That is about how long it takes for the salt to draw moisture out of the meat and turn the remaining ingredients into a paste that looks like it is melting into the meat.

Some people like to prep ribs the day before they cook them and will let the rub sit on the meat overnight.  While there is nothing wrong with letting the rub sit overnight I haven’t found that the extended time provides any meaningful benefit.

What Do You Use to Get the Rub to Stick to the Ribs?

You have several options when it comes to getting the rub to stick to the ribs.

The first option is to just take your time.  Sprinkle the rub onto the meat side of the ribs and wait 30 minutes for the rub to melt into the meat before flipping them over and applying the seasoning to the bone side.

You could also use a binder to help the rub adhere.  Some commonly used binders include a thin layer of olive oil, yellow mustard or mayonnaise.

The flavor of the binder does not come through in the finished ribs.

This is a Dry Rub for “Low and Slow” Ribs

There are two types of sugar in this rub so you should only use it if you will be cooking your ribs at low temperature.

If you try using this rub for high heat grilling then the sugars are going to scorch and the ribs will come out dark and bitter…and ain’t nobody got time for that!

29 thoughts on “Award Winning Baby Back Rib Rub {Best Championship Recipe}

  1. Your recipe calls for 2 tbsp. of salt. Is that table salt, or kosher? I don’t see anywhere mentioned exactly and nowhere in the reviews of anybody asking..

    1. Uncovered. You want the meat to stop cooking even though it will cook as it rests. Also keeping it covered could give a wet seasoned out side. Check you temp when covered and check it afterwards to get the results you want.

  2. I have a master built smoker, need to know what temp.and length of time you recomend for smoking? We also do fish, rabbit, chicken, pork and beef. Gotta love the tin foil.

  3. Just a quick look at the recipe and wondering about adding dry mustard or maybe mustard seeds. If that could be added….how much? Or are the ribs (assuming this rub is for Pork) rubbed down with regular mustard before applying the rub?

    1. Great question, Ed. First, yes, rubbing the ribs down with mustard is certainly a good idea. I don’t usually, but I have, and it’s yummy. If you don’t do that, then absolutely add dry mustard to the rub. I’ve started doing that myself. Start with a teaspoon and move up from there if you wish.

    1. Marilyn – yes you can – just be careful with the salt. I usually only marinate a few hours. If you want to do overnight, I would pull back on the salt.

  4. Hi Kevin….thank you for sharing this recipe! I have a few questions:

    1. Would this recipe make enough for 3 racks of back ribs?
    2. How would rate the amount of kick….mild or medium? If I needed to reduce the amount of kick for certain family members, which spices would you recommend reducing?
    3. How should I cook the ribs so that they’re fall-off-the-bone tender? I used to boil them but don’t really want to do that anymore. I have a friend who suggested putting them in the oven, covered, and baking them all day at 200-250 until they’re done. Then, slather them with BBQ sauce and throw them on the grill for a char.

    Thanks in advance for all your help!


    1. I just noticed that it makes enough for 8-10 slabs of ribs, so that’s one question answered! 🙂

      How long would you say the rest of the mix will keep in an airtight container?

    2. 1. Yes!
      2. I would say medium. You could reduce or completely eliminate the cayenne and be safe.
      3. DON’T BOIL! Check out my award winning rib recipe. It’s an awesome process and you’ll LOVE the results.
      4. I keep my rub in an airtight container for months and have never had issues. It stays good for a long time.

      Have fun!

      1. Hi kevin. Do u sell any rib rubs. Me and my dad been cooking for a while. We haven’t been able to win in the ribs category. Any suggestions?

        1. I do not sell. Hard to say which to try using, depends what area of the country you’re in. I love Cinnarons, Sweet swine o mine, and blues hog.

        2. Robert
          to win ribs or any other meat, you will need to find out what flavor the judges prefer and are looking for, some like heat, some like sweet and or both and that will depend on what part of the country you are competing in, good luck and keep on smoking

    1. The title definitely gives the meat I think this rub is best suited for. It’s got some kick, so just be careful. I’ve used this on fish, veggies, pork of all kinds – heck I’ve even sprinkled some on steaks. It’s not an all purpose rub…but maybe it’s a…put it on anything you want to give a little kick to rub.

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