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Kick off BBQ Season with This Memphis Dry Rub Recipe

The end of May is that awesome time a year, when everyone ceremoniously removes the covers from our beloved barbeque grills, welcoming our favorite fiery friend back for another season.

The end of May is that awesome time a year, when everyone ceremoniously removes the covers from our beloved barbeque grills, welcoming our favorite fiery friend back for another season.

Across the country, restaurants and homes fire up the grill, filling the air with the glorious grilled smells and sounds of summer. And it’s not just about the grilling! Backyard BBQs are a great way to gather in the sun to soak in the beauty of nature and the laughter that sparks, when friends and family get together and grill. Add some Icey cold beverages, good music and good company and you’ve got yourself the best way to celebrate National BBQ Week!

Here’s to making BBQ a staple part of your summer menu, with our favorite Memphis Dry Rub BBQ Recipe!

First, A Little BBQ History

There’s no doubt, southern states in America have mastered and taken BBQ to a whole new level from where it started with the early days of British BBQ-accumulation of charcoal encrusted pork sausages and burgers cooked to the consistency of coal. And with celebrity chefs regularly taking to the outdoors to display their culinary talents, Al fresco, we’re living in a magical, BBQ nirvana time in life, where there’s no end to new recipe creations that tempt and inspire the BBQ aficionados in all of us.

Now a days, it is awesomely clear, there’s very little that can’t be cooked on a BBQ from breakfast skillets, to a whole turkey dinner and everything in between!

Kick off BBQ Week right here with one our favorite Dry Rub BBQ recipes with a few of our own spicy twists

With the multitude of amazing BBQ recipes, it was hard to settle on this top pick to kick off the BBQ season; but we’re confident it will not disappoint. This Memphis Dry Rub recipe offers our Puckerbutt Pepper Company signature twists to a classic, for all of you die hard, southern dry rub fans with a need for extra flavor and heat that only Puckerbutt Pepper Company can serve up!

Memphis Dry Rub BBQ Recipe

Memphis Dry Rub Chicken Recipe

We found this Memphis dry rub recipe from Cook’s Country Magazine a few years back.

It caught our eye because of it’s claims to keep the chicken extremely moist, tender and delicious and we were looking for a dry rub that would transform itself into a flavorful glaze. We are happy to report we were not chasing rainbows; this recipe made with a few key ingredients and Double Comfort Soul of the South Secret Spice blend was like finding a pot of BBQ gold!

After a few modifications, thanks to a few tips from our southern BBQ friends and our own inner desire to tweak all recipes until we find that perfect balance of flavor and spice- here is one of our favorite dry rub recipes that’s great on chicken and pork.

What is Memphis Dry Rub?

In Memphis-style barbecue, the barbecue dry rub is the star of the show! The base of the dry rub starts with paprika and builds into a slightly spicy flavor profile. This recipe is not too spicy which is perfect for the kids, however, if you want a spicier rub, increase the amount of cayenne or our Dried Carolina Reaper Peapers Pods, ground into a powder to fit your personal taste for heat.

What Memphis Dry Rub Tastes Like?

Since most Memphis barbecue is served without sauce, the rub is the best source of flavor aside from the meat itself. Memphis style rubs are subtle in flavor and applied generously to the meat before cooking. A good rule of thumb is what sticks to the meat is how much you need. But you can lightly oil the meat to help the dry rub stick. The moisture from the meat forms a paste on the surface of the meat.

What seasonings are in Memphis Dry Rub?

The base starts with a generous amount of sweet paprika for color ,brown sugar for caramelization, and other ingredients for flavor boosters such as chili powder, smoked paprika, ground pepper, dry mustard, onion powder, salt, and cayenne pepper or Carolina Reaper Pepper powder for some heat. If you like more heat in your barbecue, consider increasing how much you add into the recipe.

How to make Memphis Dry Rub Chicken?

To please all manners of taste, we used drumsticks, split breasts, and thighs in our Memphis Barbecued Dry-Rubbed Chicken recipe. Dark brown sugar adds sweetness and helps create a glaze on the exterior of the chicken as it heats up. For classic barbecue flavors, the Double Comfort Soul of the South Secret Spice blend includes chili powder, paprika, onion, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and few secret ingredients. It’s a perfect blend of deep Memphis flavors and southern charm.


Mix all the ingredients together until combined. Place meat on a platter and rub mixture evenly over meat. The general rule is whatever amount of rub sticks is the perfect amount. Allow the chicken to rest about 15 minutes after applying the rub to deeply season the meat and draw some of the moisture from the chicken to the surface. This step helps jump-start the glazing.

Note, on the secret to success in this sauce! ...*Applying a second coat of dry rub during grilling was the key to a stellar glaze as the sugar in the second coat melted over the first. (see all play-by-play steps and ingredients below.)

  1. Rub Chicken Combine brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, dry mustard and Double Comfort Soul of the South Secret blend powder and Carolina Reaper Pepper Pod Powder in a small bowl. Transfer half of dry rub to shallow dish; reserve. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and coat over and under skin with remaining rub. Transfer to plate and refrigerate, covered, 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
  2. Grill Chicken Heat all burners on high, covered, for 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-low. (For charcoal grill, open bottom vent on grill. Light about 50 coals; when they are covered with fine gray ash, spread evenly over bottom of grill. Set cooking grate in place and heat covered, with lid vent open completely, for 5 minutes.) Scrape and oil cooking grate. Arrange chicken skin side down and grill until skin is well browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Dredge Lightly coat skin side of chicken with reserved rub and return to grill, skin side up. Apply the second coating of spice with a light hand or it won’t melt into a glaze. Continue to grill, covered, until rub has melted into glaze and white meat registers 160 degrees and dark meat 175 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve.


Makes – 3-4 SERVINGS
  • 3 lbs of bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, breasts halved crosswise, leg quarters separated into thighs and drumsticks
  • 3 TB of dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1/8 tsp of Dried Carolina Reaper Pepper, ground into a fine powder. Use slightly more or less to taste (depending on your need for heat)

*WARNING a little Carolina Reaper Pepper powder goes a long ways!! To grind, take approx. a quarter of one Dried Carolina Reaper Pepper and grind it into a powder using a mortar and pestle (see image) or use a bowl and wooden spoon

Mortar and Pestle

7 ¼ Tsp of Double Comfort Soul of the South Secret Spice blend (which includes secret blend of approx. of the following ingredients: )

  • 2 tsp of chili powder
  • 1 ½  tsp of paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp black ground pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • (plus their secret Memphis spice blend)

    Pair this meal with a side of baked beans, grilled corn on the cob, incredibly moist cornbread or other classic backyard BBQ side dishes like: herbed potato salad, shredded coleslaw or grilled veggies skewers. 

    Get the key ingredients we used in our modified Memphis Dry Rub to add our signature Flavor and Heat

    Double Comfort Soul of the South Secret Spice Blend Dried Carolina Reaper  6 Count

    Enjoy the start to another amazing BBQ season and and let us know how your guests like your new twists on this BBQ classic.


    From Our Farm and Grill to Yours,

    Smokin Ed ™ and the PuckerbuttPepper Company Team



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