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Smoky Southwest Dry Rub Recipe

smoky southwest dry rub

What would this guy be without a signature BBQ rub? This Smoky Southwest Dry Rub recipe is earthy, sweet, and savory, building off of fruity ancho chiles as the base.

Smoky Southwest Dry Rub Recipe

Smoky chiles, it’s my thing.

It’s hard to design a flavor profile for BBQ that will work with any meat. This is it.

The balance of herbs, chiles, and spices make it obviously ideal for the heartier meats like pork ribs, pork shoulder, chuck roast, and even whole chicken. The fruity flavor of the ancho chile and sweet pinch (just a touch) of brown sugar also creates a delicious crust and contrast with seafood. Shrimp, salmon, even grilled scallops.

Smoky Southwest Rub applied to baby back ribs
Smoky Southwest baby back ribs (Click for recipe)

Ancho chile is the hero.

It was really important for me to focus on two main things for this rub, aside from just tasting delicious: Color and Smoke.

BBQ is all about presentation, eating with your eyes. I love the newer charcoal rubs out there, creating a stark contrast between the black crust and the pink meat on the inside. Sometimes you aren’t smoking food for very long (such as salmon below) and miss out on the opportunity for that gorgeous contrast.

Smelling and tasting a smoky profile was a must, even if you’re not cooking low and slow. It’s too easy to use smoked salt in my recipe, which is not necessary if you’re using a grill or smoker. Experimenting with chiles was the answer, and narrowing down my options without completely overwhelming the flavor profile with a single ingredient.

Ancho chile was the answer. If you haven’t tasted it before, it’s actually a smoked poblano chile. The flavor is not very spicy, almost fruity like a dehydrated raisin. The deep, dark color blackens even more when added to fire & smoke, creating that amazing presentation. The flavor changes when cooked, taking on a little bitterness which is balanced out in the rub with a touch of brown sugar. Tasting the Smoky Southwest Dry Rub raw versus cooked will have different results.

Spiceology is a great place to buy extremely fresh, flavor Ancho Chile Powder.

smoky southwest smoked salmon, with zucchini salad
Hot Smoked Salmon with Zucchini Salad (Click for recipe)

Live fire or slow smoked. It works.

This rub is built for grilling and smoking. Earlier I mentioned that the flavor will change from raw to cooked, but it tastes delicious with low heat or high heat. Sugar content is low enough for the rub that you shouldn’t experience burning with caramelization.

I’ll continue to post more recipes along the way to inspire you! Some will use the rub, and others will take it to the next level with sauces, vegetables, and more. Please let me know what you think below!

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smoky southwest dry rub

Smoky Southwest Dry Rub Recipe

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 This Smoky Southwest Dry Rub recipe is earthy, sweet, and savory, building off of fruity ancho chiles as the base.

  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x


  • 1/3 cup ancho chile powder
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander, ground
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper


Mix ingredients together, store in a sealed container.


Use high-quality ingredients for the best outcome.

  • Author: Brad Prose
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Category: Using Rubs & Seasonings
  • Method: Spices
  • Cuisine: Spices
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Ignite your grill and elevate your barbecue game with more than 65 unforgettable recipes in this cookbook that combine the big, bold flavors of chiles with smoke and fire.

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