We tasted a variety of spice rubs from smoky sweet to fiery hot–and here are our favorites.
- Photo: Colin Peterson
Editors' Picks: Gourmet Barbecue RubsThe MyRecipes team tried almost 20 different varieties of gourmet rubs to kick off grilling season. Many feature traditional spices, like paprika and brown sugar, but we have a couple zingers, too, so keep your eyes peeled for great flavors.
We tried the rubs on grilled pork tenderloin, scored 'em out of 3, and then tallied the numbers to give you our top picks.
And don't forget to check out our video for a behind-the-scenes, no-holds-barred peek at our tasting.
Smokin Willie's: Meat, Poultry, and Seafood Spice RubA mellow blend of paprika, brown sugar, and 12 other herbs and spices, Smokin Willie's spice rub was like a seasoning salt made good. Approved by the traditionalists on staff, our tasters deemed it a "nice basic to have on hand," and thought it would be especially tasty on fish.
Victoria Taylor's: Kansas City Steak RubVictoria Taylor's steak rub earned high points for its bold, balanced flavor. Whole mustard seeds and peppercorns made delighted tasters remark, "the heat comes on!" Other staffers appreciated the onion and garlic kick in its sweet-and-spicy profile.
Bear-Man: Tummy RubThe culinary equivalent of a front-porch rocking chair, Bear-Man's Tummy Rub charmed our staff with its mild, laid-back spice. We could imagine its "nice, solid flavor" on chicken, pork chops, kebabs, fries–or on almost anything, really.
Big Acres: Poultry RubOur staff had nothing but good things to say about Big Acres' rub for chicken and turkey. This product came out tops for texture and "pretty" presentation: the rub formed an appetizing crust of whole rosemary leaves. Coarse sea salt, sage, and a touch of pepper also contributed to its "awesome flavor."
Sauce Goddess: BBQ Sweet Heat RubWow. Bold and punchy, the Sauce Goddess' Sweet Heat Rub is definitely true to its name. Packed with crushed red pepper and brown sugar with hints of clove and allspice, it's the perfect rub for a juicy shrimp skewer, steak, or roasted chicken. "Love it," proclaimed one of our tasters, who deemed it had the "perfect heat."
The Spice Hunter: Grill Shakers RibsThe Grill Shakers Ribs seasoning blend from Spice Hunter includes a few surprises, like soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, and a hint of chipotle pepper. The result is savory and tangy, with just a hint of spice. One staffer commented on its "nice back of the palate presence"–which proves that ribs, too, can be enjoyed like fine wine.
Fire and Flavor: Mustard and Herb Blend and Asian RubA hit with our staff, the Mustard & Herb Blend from Fire and Flavor knocked our socks off with its bright, "fresh" taste. With lots of mustard, thyme, and a hint of rosemary, it's no wonder one taster exclaimed, "I love these flavors!" And for fans of ginger and sesame, Fire and Flavor's Asian rub was deemed "tasty" and "multi-layered."
BBQ'N Fools: Burn Ya Twice Mon Jerk RubBBQ'N Fools' Burn Ya Twice Mon Jerk Rub was deemed a favorite amongst the fire heads of the group who believed it delivered more heat than the other contenders. With a blend of ingredients like habanero peppers, orange zest, thyme, and allspice and our tasters loved its "Caribbean flair" and raved about the "fiery flavor."