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Author Topic: Chicago GTG rib rub.  (Read 469 times)


  • WKC Performer
  • Posts: 2321
Chicago GTG rib rub.
« on: July 10, 2017, 07:56:38 PM »
I'm so happy that everyone enjoyed the ribs I brought to the Chicago fifth annual get together. A few of them asked about my rib rub. (Another part of the success is the ribs themselves. I get ribs at Sam's Club because they are nice and meaty. I got tired of getting ribs on sale at the grocery only to find that all the meat had been trimmed off. >:( )

The rub

First, I start with whole spices. Ground spices don't have the shelf life and I'm too cheap to throw away a half empty spice bottles. ;) I grind the spices in a burr mill to get consistent size. The whirling blade coffee grinder tends to make powder with some whole spices mixed in. (I still do the toasted peppers with whirling blades.)

Second, there's nothing magical about this mix. I expect anyone who uses it to adjust to their own preferences. Hopefully this will give you some ideas and perhaps provide a starting point.
  • 2 Tbsp black pepper corns
  • 2 Tbsp whole dried Rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp whole Coriander
  • 1/2 Tbsp whole Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp whole Mustard
Grind the whole spices.
  • 1/2 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder.

I toasted one each dried guajillo and ancho peppers. I toast them over a gas burner until they blister and smoke a little. I then cut up the toasted peppers and ground in the whirling blade coffee grinder, seeds and all.

I used to use fresh garlic. I should probably use granulated garlic.

Grind up dry spices

No sugar.

I used to mix canola oil with this to make a slurry and apply that to the ribs. This recipe would cover three racks of back ribs. This last time I spread some canola oil on the meat side of the ribs and sprinkled the rub on both sides of the ribs. About half the recipe covered three racks. That results in a more subtle flavor profile.

The rest of the process.

Those of you who already know how to smoke ribs can skip this.

I love this process because it allows me to start the cook and walk away until the ribs are done. No wrapping, no turning, no rearranging.

I use a 26" kettle with 2 firebrick providing a barrier to hold the charcoal and support a fully indirect cook. As opposed to wire baskets, the firebrick completely blocks radiant heat from the charcoal. You can see how they are arranged in this picture. (I've fashioned a bracket to help hold them up with some pencil rod - 1/4" rebar. These are the firebrick I use: https://www.menards.com/main/heating-cooling/fireplaces-stoves/stove-accessories/vogelzang-6-pack-firebrick/p-1444445448340.htm)

In case the photo does not work, this link should.


I fill the chamber formed by the firebrick with KBB and a couple chunks of smoking wood (oak, hickory and apple.) I leave enough space under the grate for about half a mini-chimney of lit charcoal. I apply the rub, start the fire and when the fire's going well, I put the ribs on and set the top vent about half open. Bottom vent is wide open. This usually holds temperatures at about 250-300F (120-150C) As the cook proceeds and the charcoal is consumed, the temperature will tend to drop off.

I usually leave the cook alone for 3-4 hours before opening it. Some times I slip a few brats in along with the ribs to take advantage of the extra grill space. I love smoked brats as much as smoked ribs. It usually takes about 5 hours to finish the ribs. (No wrapping, no sauce. I serve with sauce for those that prefer it and often sauce when I reheat.)

kettles, smokers...


  • Statesman
  • Posts: 4519
Re: Chicago GTG rib rub.
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2017, 02:09:38 AM »
Thanks Hank for coming to the event, and the ribs were awesome
I am not a collector, but I do have a small collection.
"You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want"
2 - Wood Dales, 4 MBH, Mini Ranch, and a Summit


  • WKC Performer
  • Posts: 2299
Re: Chicago GTG rib rub.
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2017, 04:45:23 AM »
Thanks for the recipe! Wish I could have tried them but will have to try this method as well.
WGA, Uline Green SJ, '95 Red M/T, '88 Red 18", '01 Plum SSP, Patent Pending Yellow


  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 69
Re: Chicago GTG rib rub.
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2017, 06:46:30 AM »
Thanks Hank,  I was one of the guys asking about the rub.  I'll be trying it!
22" kettle, 26" kettle, 22" performer, 18" smoker, Smokey Joe


  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 85
Re: Chicago GTG rib rub.
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2017, 08:13:33 PM »
Hank ,those ribs were awesome.thanks have to give that rib rub a try.


  • Smokey Joe
  • Posts: 51
Re: Chicago GTG rib rub.
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2017, 06:14:13 PM »
I used this rub to smoke some ribs yesterday. Best ribs I've made yet. Thanks!