Top 5 Dry Rubs for the Best Smoked Meat

Top 5 Dry Rubs for the Best Smoked Meat

Posted on: January 17, 2023

Ever wondered how to make your smoked meat even tastier? In preparing any meal, the ultimate goal is to make delicious food, and there are various ways to go about it. While some can be complex, sometimes the small touches make a huge difference to our smoked meat.

There’s a lot that goes into preparing any meal, and every single step matters. From the ingredients used and cooking method to how you serve your meal, it all affects the overall presentation and taste of your smoked meat one way or another. Therefore, it’s important to pick the best dry rubs for an even tastier smoked meat.

What are dry rubs?

Rubs are generally a mix of herbs and spices applied to the food, enhancing the natural flavor of the meat and introducing other complementary flavors.

Unlike wet rubs, as the name suggests, dry rubs are a mixture of dry ingredients rubbed on meat to add flavor and make it tastier.

How to pick the right dry rubs

When choosing the dry rub to use, there are various factors that you should consider. This will help you achieve your desired taste, leveling up your cooking experience.

Here is what you should consider when picking dry rubs:

  • Type of ingredients used – In selecting the perfect dry rub, it’s essential to understand the spices or herbs used in making the dry rub. This will help you eliminate those that have used ingredients you don’t want in your smoked meat.
  • Type of meat – There are different categories of dry rubs depending on the meat used. For instance, if you smoke beef, you should use beef rubs. There are also pork rubs, chicken rubs, and general-purpose rubs.
  • Quantity of ingredients used – Salt is one of the major ingredients in rubs. However, since it’s relatively cheap, some manufacturers tend to add more salt as it helps reduce the cost and add weight, diverting from the main purpose of enhancing flavor. Therefore, it’s essential that you check on the quantity of the ingredients used before picking the right dry rub for your smoked meat.
  • Type of dry rub – There are four types of dry hubs: spicy, sweet, savory, and herb-infused.

The right way to use dry rubs

Before placing your meat in the food smoker, carefully spread the dry rub on both sides of your meat and let it sit for some time. While you can begin cooking as soon as you are done applying the dry rub, giving it time to marinate will help you get the most flavor. It’s also important to note that since you are smoking your meat, you should not apply a lot of sugar as it will burn and turn bitter (the melting point of sugar is 375 °F or 190 °C).

Top 5 dry rubs for the best-smoked meat

1. The Squeal Hog Rub by Cowtown

Their dry hub is quite easy to use, and it’s not overly spicy. Many that have used it classify Cowtown’s dry hub as not too strong. It is also sweet and has a subtle hickory smoke flavor.


  • The Cowton dry hub contains no MSG, which has been linked to obesity and other metabolic disorders.
  • It’s gluten-free.
  • The Squeal Hog Rub has won the American Royal BBQ contest twice.


  • For someone who likes their meat extra spicy, you might find Cowtown’s dry hub a bit lacking as it’s not too strong.

2. Lambert’s Sweet Rub O’Mine

Lambert’s Sweet Rub O’Mine is a perfect dry hub that can be used on any kind of meat. Not too strong and not too sweet, its deep and complex flavor provides a balance between sweetness and heat, making it perfect for almost everyone.


  • Balanced flavor.
  • Favorable reviews.


  • Not very spicy.

3. The BBQ Rub by Killer Hogs

It helps your smoked meat get a nice bark while adding more flavor to the meat.


  • The BBQ Rub is widely recognized for its special umami flavor.
  • It’s not overly salty.


  • It’s a bit pricier than its competitors.

4. Traeger’s Blackened Saskatchewan Rub

Their perfect blend of garlic and herbs gives a smokey flavor and aroma to the meat when smoking, providing a unique taste.


  • GMO-free – their rub is made of all-natural ingredients.

5. Meat Church dry rub

For someone who likes their meat sweetened, Meat Church dry rub is a perfect choice when smoking your meat.


  • Not too spicy, making it ideal for a family meal.
  • Gluten-free.
  • It adds amazing color to the meat.


  • Too sweet if you prefer your meat spicy.

To wrap up

Cooking is all about being creative, and you have the freedom to experiment with different ingredients. When making your smoked meat, you can pick any of the top five dry rubs listed above. You can also choose to make your own dry rub.

Interested in checking out more information about meat rubs? Look no further than our articles on:
3 Homemade Rubs to take Your Smoked Chicken to the Next Level
Famous Rub Types Paired with Delicious Recipes
What is a Rub, Why and How to Do It?

For more great ideas on how to get the most out of your Bradley Smoker, check out the awesome articles on our Bradley Smoker Food Smoking Blog for more tips & tricks.