Do You Put BBQ Sauce on Ribs Dry Rub?

When it comes to cooking ribs, there are a few different schools of thought. Some people prefer to use a dry rub, while others like to slather on the BBQ sauce.

But what if you want the best of both worlds? Can you put BBQ sauce on ribs with a dry rub? Let’s dig in and find out!

The Debate: Dry Rub vs. BBQ Sauce

The debate between using a dry rub or BBQ sauce on ribs is a passionate one among barbecue enthusiasts. Both methods have their merits, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Dry Rub: The Flavorful Foundation

A dry rub is a blend of spices, herbs, and sometimes sugar that is applied to the surface of the ribs before cooking. It creates a flavorful crust as it caramelizes during the cooking process.

Using a dry rub allows you to control the flavor profile of your ribs more precisely. You can customize the blend of spices to suit your taste preferences, whether you prefer something sweet and smoky or spicy and tangy.

  • Advantages:
    • Enhances the natural flavors of the meat
    • Creates a savory crust
    • Allows for more control over flavor profile
  • Disadvantages:
    • Lacks the tanginess and moisture provided by BBQ sauce
    • Can result in drier ribs if not cooked properly

BBQ Sauce: The Sticky Sweetness

On the other hand, BBQ sauce is a tangy and sweet condiment that can be brushed onto the ribs during cooking or served as a dipping sauce on the side. It adds moisture and a distinct flavor to the meat.

BBQ sauce comes in a variety of flavors, ranging from sweet and smoky to spicy and tangy. It can complement the flavors of the dry rub or add an entirely new dimension to your ribs.

  • Advantages:
    • Adds moisture to the meat
    • Provides a tangy and sweet flavor
    • Can create a sticky glaze when caramelized
  • Disadvantages:
    • May overpower or mask the flavors of the dry rub
    • The high sugar content can lead to burnt edges if not careful

The Best of Both Worlds: Combining Dry Rub and BBQ Sauce

If you’re torn between using a dry rub or BBQ sauce on your ribs, there’s no need to choose just one. You can have both!

One popular method is to apply a dry rub to the ribs before cooking and then brush on BBQ sauce during the final stages of grilling or smoking. This allows you to enjoy the flavorful crust created by the dry rub while still getting that tangy sweetness from the BBQ sauce.

To achieve this combination, follow these steps:

  1. Start by applying a generous amount of your preferred dry rub onto both sides of the ribs. Pat it down gently to ensure it adheres well.
  2. Cook your ribs low and slow, whether it’s on the grill or in a smoker, until they reach the desired level of tenderness.
  3. About 15-20 minutes before the ribs are done, brush on a layer of BBQ sauce. Be sure to flip the ribs and coat both sides evenly.
  4. Continue cooking for the remaining time to allow the BBQ sauce to caramelize and form a sticky glaze.
  5. Once cooked, remove the ribs from the heat and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.


So, do you put BBQ sauce on ribs with a dry rub? The answer is yes!

Combining a flavorful dry rub with tangy BBQ sauce can result in heavenly ribs that satisfy all taste preferences. Whether you choose to use one or both methods, experimenting with different flavors and techniques is part of the joy of barbecue.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to enjoy your ribs. It all comes down to personal preference. So fire up that grill or smoker, get creative with your seasonings, and enjoy every delicious bite!