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I am just a beginner trying to figure this one out. Basically, I am trying to figure out if I should spend hrs/days reading rub recipes or just go on the internet and buy my rub…

What do you do? Just reply to my post with a..

Brisket – make my own or buy commercial
Pork Butt - make my own or buy commercial
Ribs - make my own or buy commercial
Chicken - make my own or buy commercial

If you buy commercial rub feel free to share the name/brand etc.

Tom, SmokinOkie, Pags and all you people who have been on the forum for years. What do you think the folks on the forum do. You guys and girls might have a feel for the big picture.

Sorry if this has been done before.

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IMO 95% of your finished product is learning your cooker,and how to COOK the meat.

The wood,sauce,rub,special tricks are the other 5%.

There are great products out there ,that great cooks have developed.

Experienced cooks will say-buy them and tweek to your special needs and get on with COOKING.

Now if you are a huge volume user,you might pay a chemist to design and make by the ton.

Just my $0.02
I buy a commercially made rub and sauce. That being said, I adjust the rub some with other spices dependent on the meat I am using it on. I also adjust the sauce for comp purposes.

The rub I buy is Bonesmokers and the sauce I buy is CS Mild and Big Bob Gibson's Habanero Red sauce.

Now I will point out that Bonesmokers rub is now only sold in 10 lb. boxes. But I go through easily at least two boxes a year between contests, charity work, and catering.
If you're starting out, not very experienced with the meat or the cooker, go commercial.

Like Tom said, learn the meat/cooker first, then you'll have time to experiment on your own rubs. It can be a big thing to create one and if you're more interested in the rub than the product, then you end product won't be as good.

For rubs, it's really had to give "one" because you have to talk which product and what FLAVORS you like, sweet, spicey, both, etc etc.

Maybe we can ask everyone what they like for those four, and see where it goes.

  • For Brisket, what rub do you like?
  • For Chicken, what rub do you like?
  • For Ribs, what rub do you like?
  • For Pork Butt, what rub do you like?
  • Do you have any other meats you like to smoke? What and with what rub?
Last edited by Former Member

  • For Brisket, what rub do you like? Cookshack Brisket or Head Country Rub, I like both for beef. I like to add more pepper to brisket with both of these rubs.
  • For Chicken, what rub do you like? There's actually too many to list, I haven't found ONE I absolutely love. Mrs. Smokin' likes any variety with lemon pepper in it.
  • For Ribs, what rub do you like? Salt, I like a rub with salt on pork, so I use a variety. Smokin Guns and Plowboy BBQ make a couple of good ones. I've been experimenting with Butcher BBQ's rubs (I like the new honey rub), but I like to add salt if need if I'm cooking pork. I also have my Rub recipe (sorry, not sharing) that I've used for years. Some day I may get it bottled, but not now Frowner
  • For Pork Butt, what rub do you like? see ribs
Like Smokin',I like several rubs that might go with a different sauce and a different product.

Like Ribdog says,Bonesmoker's works well with several things ,but you must buy the 10 lb box.

Brisket... could be Cookshack Brisket,or Head Country and they probably dominated the comp markets.

Chicken...Head Country and Obie Cue's Sweet and Heat,and lemon pepper rubs

Pork...Smokin' Guns Hot[isn't hot],
Ribs...Like Pork

I might use CS Brisket as an all purpose and tweak it ,as well as Head Country,and Smokin' Guns Hot.

Obie Cue makes a dbl garlic pepper that has uses around brisket.

Texas Rib Rangers has several uses.

Many diners like sweet on pork and salt drives the flavors,so these could be thoughts when you tweak.

Fresh,or flakes of herbs might work on short cooks like chicken/fish,but are lost on long cooks.

I tend to pair these off with the same sauces ,as Ribdog and Gibson's Championship Red.

Folks out around Mo,Ks,and north seem to really like to pair with Blueshog,and Blueshog Tn Red.

I haven't been able to figure out how to get it to work with my seasonings.

Brown,white,and Turbinado sugars all change these products.

Another major point is that many new cooks buy a 2 oz bottle and sprinkle lightly enough that it lasts several months.

Yes,chicken may be light,and even.
Ribs might be a little heavier and even.

On big meats,if you can still get more to stick,you probably don't have enough.

Then you may wish to reseason during,or at the end of the cook.

The great head cook for Head Country,typically uses the 2.5 lb bottle,plus all his tweaking spices and then the sugars at EACH cookoff.

Hope this helps a little.
Last edited by tom
Chicken: I am liking the CS chicken rub that came with my smoker.

Butts: my own

Ribs: Like my butt rub but with more sugar

Brisket: My own, no sugar.

Sauce: Just started making my own, have used stubbs on brisket, sweet baby rays on pork, ribs.

Chicken no sauce or the white barbecue sauce
On that reality competition show, one of the big winners was loading down his pork butt with Lawry's Seasoned Salt. Reality TV aside, I was surprised at such a simple approach. Of course, it was for pulled pork which is going to blend in to the meat and only complement whatever sauce is added.

Personally, I just buy the big jar of 'Cajun' seasoning from the restaurant supply store for butts, mainly because salt is not the main ingredient. Ribs I use my own carolina marinade, chickens I just salt and pepper because we don't eat the skin.
I'm like RangerDF. I buy them and make them. Some I go back to, some I don't. I like variety, but stick with some. I like Cookshack Spicy barbecue sauce, Texas Brisket Rub, Carolina Treat South Carolina Mustard sauce(for a different twist), Memphis rub (make it), Andy's rib rub (make it) and want to get the Cookshack Dry Mix. There's more commercial rubs and sauces out there, and I'm going to try some. I should add that the ones I make are from recipes I've read in Paul Kirk's, Smoke & Spice, and Celebrating Barbecue. Don't have the time or brains to develop my own.
Last edited by pags
BRISKET: monteral steak seasoning ground with a little raw sugar.
CHICKEN: I brine,then usually CS chicken rub
BUTTS: CS ribrub and chicken(3-1 ratio)
RIBS: CS ribrub
SAUCE: KC masterpiece

I'm a Newbie so this is diffently changing as I'm learning my smoker and to smoke.I will be buying rubs and adding different spices for our(my wives) own taste. I'm also learning that I have to apply more than I think I need.
Tom said,
IMO 95% of your finished product is learning your cooker,and how to COOK the meat.

The wood,sauce,rub,special tricks are the other 5%.

There are great products out there ,that great cooks have developed.

Experienced cooks will say-buy them and tweek to your special needs and get on with COOKING.

Now if you are a huge volume user,you might pay a chemist to design and make by the ton.

Just my $0.02

and I agree so I'm not spending much time developing "special rubs"
I alternate between Cookshack and Texas rubs depending on whether i'm in the mood for a hint of sweet or spicy.

BRISKET: Cookshack brisket rub or Texas brisket rub
CHICKEN: Cookshack chicken & rib (1/2 & 1/2) rub or Texas original rub
BUTTS: Cookshack rib rub or Texas original rub
RIBS: Cookshack rib rub or Texas original rub
Brisket-Texas BBQ Brisket rub
Chicken-Cookshack spicy chicken rub
Ribs-Cookshack rib rub or Ironworks BBQ rub
Butt-Cookshack rib rub and I add turbinado sugar. I also use Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust instead of CS sometimes.

Favorite sauces: Big Bob Gibson and Wee Willys
Last edited by Former Member
I use Canadian Steak Seasoning I get at Sams on my Boston butt & Brisket.

I put the brisket in a Stainless Steel Pan Half Full of Apple Juice and coat the brisket with the steak seasoning before I put it in the apple juice then I start to smoke it. I like the flavor of hickory smoke. There are a lot of other flavors but everyone that has tried my smoked meat loves it.
Getting started making your own rubs can be very simple. I was grilling a ton before I started smoking. I was almost always using the same 4 spices to marinate no matter what it was. I vary the wet components to change the flavor profile. Citrus juices for fish, lime and hot sauce for chicken, soy sauce for pork and warcestershire for beef.

I take a similar approach for my rubs. I bought a spice grinder and make about a cup of rub using the same 4 ingredients plus the basics like salt, pepper, paprika, etc. Divide into 3. I add dried habanero to one and sugar to one. I have 3 rubs based on my favorite spices. Easy Smiler You always have sauces and mops to add other flavors.

As far as smoking goes, I agree with Tom. Focus on the meat. I'm not going to worry too much about rubs until I feel I have a good handle on cooking with a smoker. I still have yet to even try anything besides hickory!

There are no rules. Do what ya think tastes good!
Reference the comment about the Lawry's Seasoned Salt on the TV show.

There are comp cooks that set out their seasonings and sauces in false bottles.

Lawry's was a fine CA restaurant that was one of the first to make tested blends.

The salt and spaghetti sauce were a couple of many,developed to give consistency to their dishes.

As we say above,there have been fine rubs/sauces
developed,that we merely need to tweak.

That Lawry's might just have had another rub added later, to layer flavors. Wink

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