The Secret Ingredient To Grilling Great Baby Back Ribs – Big Daddy’s Rib Rub

smoked ribs

I love ribs, but I rarely order them when I go out to eat. Why? Because I prefer to make them at home. While ribs were once a challenge, I have developed a secret ingredient that seasons the ribs perfectly…every time. I call it Big Daddy’s Rib Rub, in honor of my husband. He is quite the grilling guru and patiently helps me tweak every recipe until we get it perfect.

Big Daddy’s Rib Rub was a game-changer for our rib cooking efforts. It’s spicy in a good, peppery way not in a light your tongue on fire way. It has a good amount of salt for flavor. The garlic and onion powders add Earthy flavors. And the smoked paprika adds smokiness. I will admit to my regular readers that this is so worth cheating on my low-sodium diet.

In addition, it has brown sugar which does two things for this rub. First, the brown sugar adds a sweet component to balance the peppery heat. Second, the brown sugar caramelizes, locking in the juicy flavor of the ribs. This was the missing ingredient during our early experiments. Without the sugar, it was just too much pepper.

Sometimes we cook our ribs on the grill. Other times we smoke them low and slow for hours. That all depends on how much time we on that particular day. Either way we cook them, we know that the flavor of this rub intensifies the flavors and we get great results!

baby back ribs
Big Daddy’s Rib Rub perfectly seasons a rack of baby back ribs from the smoker.

Another thing that’s for sure is this…Big Daddy’s Rib Rub is also wonderful on other grilled or smoked meats. We also like it on brisket, pork shoulders, or even chicken. In fact, we go very easy with barbecue sauce because the meat is so juicy and well-seasoned that we really don’t need very much of it on our meats.

brisket on the smoker
Brisket coated with Big Daddy’s Rib Rub stays moist during the long smoking process and it’s packed with flavor.


Mixing up a batch of Big Daddy’s Rib Rub is very simple. However, you are spending a good chunk of change on spices all at once. You don’t want to waste your expensive ingredients!

Here are a few tips for successfully mixing up your first batch.

  • Make sure that your mixing bowl is completely dry. Moisture will cause the spices and brown sugar to clump up.
  • Ditto for your hands. Be sure they are well-dried after you wash them.
  • Don’t be afraid if it seems like a lot of pepper. Indeed, it is! The flavors balance out and it’s more peppery than hot. Trust me on this. I don’t like super spicy foods and I do love this.
  • Don’t skip sifting the rub. Yes, it takes a few moments. However, you will get a fine and consistent blend of the rub. It really makes a difference. You’ll see!
  • Store in an air-tight container. I recycle Kraft parmesan cheese containers by removing the label and refilling with my rib rub. The shaker makes it easy to sprinkle on when I’m ready to use it.


If your Dad loves to grill or smoke meats, make up a batch. Put it in a mason jar or other airtight container and add a personal note. Unlike another ugly tie, this is a gift he will actually put to use!


I love free printables. I decided to place this recipe into a 5×7 printable jpg, just for fun. Print it, laminate it, and keep it handy. This is a recipe you’ll want to have on hand.

Big Daddy’s Rib Rub – free printable by

Are you thinking of grilling ribs this weekend? I know I am currently considering it. Please comment to let us know how this rib rub works out for you!

Free Printable Recipe for Big Daddy’s Rib Rub
Rib Rub
Big Daddy’s Rib Rub: The best rib rub for the best baby back ribs.

3 thoughts on “The Secret Ingredient To Grilling Great Baby Back Ribs – Big Daddy’s Rib Rub

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