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The Ultimate BBQ Rub (Wet Rub)

Up your grilling game with The Ultimate BBQ Rub: a mix between a marinade and dry rub – it’s a wet rub. Adding just a little oil and lime juice to the spices makes a flavorful paste that really sticks to the meat. It’s great for pork, chicken, beef, and seafood!

This smoky and sweet BBQ Rub will become your new go-to for grilled and smoked meats.

Six seasonings and spices come together along with lime juice, coconut sugar and oil to make this incredibly flavorful wet rub. The Ultimate BBQ Rub is versatile in that it can be used for flavoring all kinds of meats, fish and seafood. It’s especially tasty on pork, chicken and shrimp. And whether you’re grilling, smoking or even baking, roasting, slow cooking or pressure cooking this Ultimate BBQ Rub will deliver that smoky and slightly sweet flavor we all crave and love. Now you can bring that smokehouse flavor to your own kitchen all year round with this rub!

Photo of Ultimate BBQ Rub in a white bowl with a gold spoon.

A mix between a marinade and a dry rub – it’s a wet rub.

Mixing just a small amount lime juice and oil with the spice mix results in a paste-like consistency, a wet rub, that really sticks to the meat even while grilling. While it’s totally optional, if you want to take the flavor to the next level, you can apply the rub 30 minutes and up to 8 hours before grilling.

Photo of white plate on a black board holding spices and seasonings for the Ultimate BBQ Rub.

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Ultimate BBQ Rub Ingredients

  • Paprika 
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder – this is actually a spice mix and may contain ingredients like – chili peppers, cumin, oregano, coriander, garlic, allspice, cloves, cayenne, etc.
  • Chipotle powder – this will give the rub a smoky flavor as well as a little heat. For less heat, I recommend using smoked paprika in place of the paprika and omitting the chipotle powder.
  • Coconut sugar – this allows the meat to caramelize and create a nice char while grilling. If you prefer a sugar-free option, you can simply omit the coconut sugar. You could also sub brown sugar if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Avocado oil or olive oil avocado oil is best as it has a higher smoke point.
  • Lime juice – add incredible flavor to the rub.
  • Sea salt & pepper

How to make the Ultimate BBQ Rub

In a small bowl, simply add all of the ingredients and stir until well combined. It will take a minute or two for the wet rub to thicken. Next, apply wet rub to whatever it is you’re making – pork, chicken, fish, shrimp, etc.

How to apply the Ultimate BBQ Rub

Start by smearing the rub with a spoon or spatula. Once you have most of the rub on the meat, finish by using your hands to smooth it out making sure the entire surface area of the meat is covered with the rub. For more flavor, allow the meat to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.

How much will the Ultimate BBQ Rub make

The recipe will make enough to liberally coat 2 -2 1/2 lbs. of meat. You could also make a double batch of the spice mix including coconut sugar and store it in a mason jar for several months. That way whenever you want to make the rub, all you have to do is add the lime juice and oil.

Photo of two pork tenderloin on a black board that have been smeared with the Ultimate BBQ Rub.

Can you make the Ultimate BBQ Rub in advance?

Absolutely, feel free to make the wet rub up to 3-4 days in advance.

What pairs best with the Ultimate BBQ Rub?

Personally, I like it best on pork tenderloin, chicken breast and shrimp. However, it truly is a rub you can add to pretty much any kind of meat or seafood. Additionally, not only is it good for adding flavor to smoked and grilled meats and seafood, you can also use it to flavor a slow cooked beef or pork roast, Instant Pot Shredded Chicken or pork, oven roasted chicken and veggies, or as a tasty rub when making barbacoa or carnitas. So many tasty way to use the Ultimate BBQ Rub!

Photo of Grilled Pork Tenderloin flavored with the Ultimate BBQ Rub and topped with Avocado Green Sauce.

Other marinades and sauces to try

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Let’s Get Cookin’

The Ultimate BBQ Rub (Wet Rub)

Up your grilling game with The Ultimate BBQ Rub: a mix between a marinade and dry rub – it’s a wet rub. Adding just a little oil and lime juice to the spices makes a flavorful paste that really sticks to the meat. It’s great for pork, chicken, beef, and seafood!

  • Author: Stacie Hassing
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 5 min
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: Spice


  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder (use smoked paprika for less heat)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut sugar (may sub brown sugar or omit for Whole30)
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice


  1. In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Stir until thick paste forms.
  2. Spread liberally over meat of choice, fish or seafood.
  3. Optional – marinate meat for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours for extra flavor.


  • Serving Size: 1/10 of recipe
  • Calories: 35
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 240 mg
  • Fat: 3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g

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This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.

All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

About Stacie Hassing

Stacie is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian from rural southern Minnesota where she and her husband reside on 5 acres with their two pups, Walter & Lucy. She’s a creator of simple and wholesome recipes, a lover of nature, a crossfitter, a seasonal runner, and she’s on a mission to inspire as many as she can live a healthier and happier life from the inside out.

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