Easy All-Purpose Barbecue Rub and Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Brushing barbecue sauce on top of ribs on the grill

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • A balanced spice blend in the rub provides a good contrast between sweet and savory.
  • Adding spice rub to the sauce adds complexity.

If you barbecue or grill with any frequency, you'll want to make big batches of this all-purpose barbecue spice rub and sauce combo—they store well in the pantry and fridge (respectively), and they're great on a wide variety of barbecued and grilled foods, like ribs, chicken, or burgers.


Recipe Facts



Active: 5 mins
Total: 20 mins
Serves: 16 servings
Makes: 2 cups of barbecue sauce

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For the Rub:

  • 1/3 cup paprika (2 ounces; 60g)

  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (2.5 ounces; 70g)

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt (1.5 ounces; 45g)

  • 4 teaspoons (12g) ground mustard

  • 2 teaspoons (6g) freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons (6g) ground coriander seed

  • 1 tablespoon (5g) dried oregano

  • 1 tablespoon (10g) granulated garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon (10g) granulated onion powder

For the Sauce:

  • 1 cup (240mlchicken broth

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) ketchup

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) dark molasses, plus more to taste

  • 1 small onion, grated on the large holes of a box grater (about 4 ounces; 115g)

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) brown mustard

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) cider vinegar, plus more to taste

  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) hot sauce, plus more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons (25g) spice rub

  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) liquid smoke, such as Wright's (optional)


  1. For the Rub: Whisk all rub ingredients together to combine. Use your fingertips to break up any large clumps of brown sugar. For better flavor, before combining, toast ground mustard, black pepper, and coriander in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Store rub in a sealed container at room temperature for several months. (It will lose flavor over time, but it will not go bad.)

  2. For the Sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk together and simmer until reduced to a glaze consistency, about 15 minutes (sauce should reduce by about one-third). Adjust flavor with more molasses, vinegar, or hot sauce to taste. Cooled barbecue sauce can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for several months.

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