Basic Spice Rub Recipes

Use these basic spice rub recipes to make big batches of customizable rubs for everyone your list.


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Spice rubs can turn a basic piece of fish or meat into a true culinary experience. Try making a huge batch of the Basic Spice Rub from Jennifer Worick’s book Simple Gifts, then customize it for everyone on your list with her simple additions.

For more ideas for homemade gifts, read the original article, Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas.

Basic Spice Rub

The beauty of this base is that it’s a snap to whip up and then modify. For example, if you like it spicy, you can add cayenne pepper; if you like it garlicky, add some garlic powder. This basic rub works on a variety of proteins—red meat, poultry or fish.

This makes enough for approximately 4 to 5 pounds of meat. The rubs that follow, which are variations on this basic rub, will make enough for 4 to 6 pounds. All herbs taste best when freshly ground. When possible, buy dried herb, then grind it with a mortar and pestle. Measure the amount after the spice is ground.

• 3 tablespoons paprika
• 3 tablespoons brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons kosher salt

Mix together all ingredients in a clean, airtight container.

Chicken and Pork Rub

This will rub the white (and other white) meat lover the right way.

• 1 recipe Basic Spice Rub
• 2 teaspoons dried ground thyme
• 2 teaspoons cumin
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)

Fish Rub

This is delicious on fish that holds up well to grilling such as salmon, tuna or halibut.

• 1 recipe Basic Spice Rub
• 2 teaspoons dried, ground thyme

Mediterranean Rub

Here’s a molto bene recipe for the Italian table.

• 1 recipe Basic Spice Rub
• 2 tablespoons dried ground oregano
• 2 tablespoons dried ground basil
• 2 teaspoons dried ground thyme
• 2 teaspoons dried ground rosemary

Southwestern Rub

This dry rub is terrific for red meat such as flank steak.

• 1 recipe Basic Spice Rub
• 2 teaspoons dried ground oregano
• 1 tablespoon chili powder or finely minced dried ancho chilies
• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 teaspoons cumin
• 2 teaspoons coriander
• 2 teaspoons onion powder