How much BBQ rub to put on your BBQ meat?

I get this question from friends and family alike. They say, “Your BBQ meat is delicious. How do you know when you put the right amount of rub on?” Read on to find out.

How much rub?

The answer is simple, as much as you feel is right. Yes, I know some were looking for the ultimate answer in rub application. For me to break out my scientific measurements and say, “Add 3.24567 grams of rub per pound” alas I do not have such a direct answer that will work for everyone or every meat. Here are some techniques on how much rub I put on my BBQ meat when I want a little or a very liberal amount.

Small amount of BBQ rub

I take my BBQ rub and sprinkle it on both sides of the meat I’m trying to BBQ. On each side I begin rubbing the rub in. The meat will change color and the rub will seem to soak into the meat. I let it sit for awhile and have the rub form a gooey outer coat on the meat. Once it sat for awhile, I usually wait at least an hour which is about as long as it takes my Masterbuilt smoker to get up to temperature.

Liberal amount of BBQ rub

For a very liberal application of BBQ rub I take a tray and cover the bottom ¼” with BBQ rub. I then flip the meat, in this example St Louis cut ribs, several times back and forth in the tray of rub. This coats the meat with a pretty thick coating of rub. I then turn the rack of ribs to the side and gently tap it several times and whatever doesn’t stick falls back into the tray. This coats the ribs with a thicker coat of BBQ rub than the technique above.


There is no right amount of rub to apply to your BBQ meat. This is just personal preference and technique. I give several techniques above for how to apply rub. If you are looking to how to make your meat juicy check out my post on making your BBQ meat juicy.