Bowls of mixed spices next to a white mortar and pestle
Photography, Kitchen Trinity

Up your grill game with these dry rub recipes

Here's the rub: a mortar and pestle is all you need for these quick & simple spice blends that pair with all things BBQ.

We get it. The dry rub vs. marinade debate is a hot one. We’re not here to take sides – dry and wet rubs both have their uses in the grill master’s arsenal.

Generally, dry rubs rest on the food for a short period (under 2 hours) before it hits the grill, unlike marinades which often sit for longer and tenderize the meat. Dry rubs, though, pack tons of flavour and create a yummy glazed crust on your food.

Looking for a rub recipe? Try out our T-Bone Steak with the Coffee Chili Rub, or the Feta Parcels with Grilled Zucchini and Peaches featuring the Sweet & Spicy Citrus Rub.

Our 7 Favourite Spice Rubs

Caraway Seed Rub

Tangy with a bit of heat, this rub features warm Middle Eastern and African ingredients like marjoram and fragrant spices.

Bowls of mixed spices next to a white mortar and pestle

Caraway Seed Rub

Equipment

  • mortar and pestle

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cane sugar or granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp paprika powder
  • ½ tsp granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp rubbed marjoram

Instructions
 

  • Using mortar and pestle, combine salt, caraway seeds, peppercorns and sugar; grind until fine. Add paprika, garlic and marjoram; grind again until fine.

 

Coffee Chili Rub

An invigorating rub that will leave you wanting more.

Bowls of mixed spices next to a white mortar and pestle

Coffee Chili Rub

Equipment

  • mortar and pestle

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp ground coffee
  • 1 tbsp hot pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 2 tsp cane sugar or granulated sugar
  • tsp granulated garlic

Instructions
 

  • Using mortar and pestle, combine coffee, hot pepper flakes, salt, sugar and garlic; grind until fine

Simple Sweet & Sour Cajun Rub

It’s never a bad thing when sweet meets sour.

Bowls of mixed spices next to a white mortar and pestle

Simple Sweet & Sour Cajun Rub

Equipment

  • mortar and pestle

Ingredients
  

  • 1 red chili pepper seeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp packed cane sugar or brown sugar divided
  • 2 tsp paprika divided

Instructions
 

  • Place chili pepper, 5 tsp of the sugar and 1 tsp of the paprika in mortar and pestle; grind until fine.

Sweet & Spicy Citrus Rub

This veggie-friendly rub is perfect for experimenting on the grill with in-season produce.

Bowls of mixed spices next to a white mortar and pestle

Sweet & Spicy Citrus Rub

Equipment

  • mortar and pestle

Ingredients
  

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 2 tsp cane sugar or granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp rubbed thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 120°F.
  • Spread lemon and orange zest on a baking sheet; dry in oven for about 10 minutes. Place fennel seeds in a pan; roast in oven without oil until fragrant. Let cool.
  • Using a mortar and pestle, combine fennel, sea salt, sugar and hot pepper flakes; grind until fine. Add thyme and dried citrus to mortar and pestle; grind until fine. Mix with paprika and garlic.

 

Peppercorn Medley Rub

The secret ingredient in this peppery rub? A pinch of cinnamon.

Bowls of mixed spices next to a white mortar and pestle

Peppercorn Medley Rub

Equipment

  • mortar and pestle

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp peppercorn medley
  • 2 tsp rubbed and chopped rosemary
  • tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp rubbed parsley
  • 2 tsp cane sugar or granulated sugar
  • tsp granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • Using mortar and pestle, combine peppercorn, rosemary, sea salt, parsley and sugar; grind until fine. Mix in granulated garlic and cinnamon.

Lemon and Ginger Rub

This is an invigorating rub for fresh fish, with a warm kick of ginger and lemony tang.

Bowls of mixed spices next to a white mortar and pestle

Lemon and Ginger Rub

Equipment

  • mortar and pestle

Ingredients
  

  • zest of 2 organic lemons
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp granulated garlic

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat the oven to 50°C (top/bottom heat).
  • Spread the lemon zest on a baking tray. Dry the zest on the medium rail of the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool down.
  • Roast the fennel seeds in a pan without oil until fragrant. Let cool down.
  • Grind the fennel, salt and pepper in a mortar until fine. Add the lemon zest and sugar and grind again until fine. Mix with the ginger and garlic.

Sesame Seaweed Rub

An Asian-inspired flavour mix compliments everything from meat to salad.

Bowls of mixed spices next to a white mortar and pestle

Sesame Seaweed Rub

Equipment

  • mortar and pestle

Ingredients
  

  • 2.5 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp cane sugar
  • 2 nori leaves
  • 1 tbsp coarse sea salt
  • 1.5 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1.5 tbsp granulated garlic

Instructions
 

  • Cut the nori leaves in small pieces then use a food processor to chop the leaves into fine flakes.
  • Finely grind the sea salt, peppercorns and sugar in mortar. Add the nori flakes and sesame seeds and grind again until fine. Mix in the garlic.
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