There is only one thing BBQ aficionados will agree on: BBQ is king, but no 2 fans will agree on the ingredients or even the process. In the South, especially South Carolina, the barbecue is not what you do to the meat it is all about the meat. And that meat has to be pork. Any other meat can be barbecued or grilled, but it cannot be barbecue. In the Midwest, racks of pork baby back or spare ribs are the arbiters of the BBQ. To properly prepare them, you will need a dry rub for BBQ ribs.

A dry rub for BBQ ribs starts with sugar and salt. Most recipes will use brown sugar and some use both brown sugar and white sugar. The effect the salt has is a source of disagreement in the world of barbecue, some feel the salt dries the meat out, but the purpose of the salt is to draw the flavor of the rub into the meat. The salt draws the moisture from the inside out and the sugar forms a crust that seals it in. Sugar is also a meat tenderizer, creating even more juices.

Both sugar and salt need liquid to dissolve. A dry rub for BBQ ribs should have them in proportion to each other, without too much of either. Many dry rubs for BBQ ribs recipes, and there are as many recipes as there are cooks and then some, start with sugar, salt and chili powder and then add herbs and spices of the chefs choosing. If you go online and look for dry rub for BBQ ribs recipes, you will get thousands of hits.

What do all of these rubs have in common? Sugar, salt and chili powder. One recipe used powdered lemonade mix for the sugar content; one had the added spice of habanero pepper. The most common piece of advice for creating your own dry rub for BBQ ribs was to start small and add different flavors slowly and sparingly, tasting along the way. Some of the flavoring choices included cumin, paprika, cinnamon, garlic, onion and cayenne pepper. Another suggestion for sure success in preparing a dry rub for BBQ ribs was to marinate the meat in an acidic liquid such as orange juice, vinegar or red wine. Memphis ribs get no additional sauce, so the rub is applied thickly.

The sugar in the dry rub for BBQ ribs combines with the moisture in the meat that melts under the heat of the grill or smoker and forms a thick, gooey sauce on the surface. This sauce holds in the other ingredients to allow them to be absorbed into the meat. The reason a smoker is ideal for this cooking process is that it keeps the sugar from burning. Burnt sugar imparts a bitter flavor into the meat and is to be avoided at all costs.

At the end of the cooking process, however, it is nice to increase the heat a bit to create a crisp outside to the ribs. The texture of the finished product is an intrinsic part of the dining experience and in BBQ contests it is a major component of the judging.

Add some spice and dry rubs to your bbq ribs for a tantalizing taste. What more can you ask? Visit for great ideas and info on outdoor bbqs.