Southern Kitchen – The Great Cajun Dry Rub Experiment


Summer time means grilling season.  It’s always a great feeling to spend the night before a big grill-out prepping ribs.  Aside from pulled pork, Ribs are by far my favorite part of the pig.  The debatable secret to great Southern ribs is the fairy dust known as dry rub. Next to home made BBQ sauce, it’s a BBQ chefs personal secret.  Well it’s time to let my most recent discovery out, and share my “Dry Rub” secret.  I’ve taken my cajun seasoning obsession to the extreme, and spiced up my baby back ribs.

I love Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning.  It’s a Southern passion I developed as a child, and an obsession I have to season everything with, if just for good luck.  The thought had yet to occur to me to try it with “Pork Ribs”, until now.  This summer’s first batch of hickory smoked ribs, I decided to do an experiment by replacing my usual spice combo with Tony Chachere’s.  Here is the rub recipe:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • plain yellow mustard to cover ribs

Directions: After removing the silver skin from the ribs, cover the front and back in the plain yellow mustard.  Then mix the rest of the ingredients together thoroughly, and cover each slab of ribs liberally.  Once the ribs are covered in spice mixture, work the ribs to ensure that the rub is spread evenly and worked into the top of the pork.  Let them rest over night in the fridge.  Then follow your typical smoking routine for ribs, mine is to smoke with hickory at 250 degrees for 2.5 hours and then wrap the ribs in aluminum foil for another and cook 2 to 3 hours in the oven at 250 degrees.  I finish the ribs by applying homemade bourbon BBQ sauce, and putting them on the grill to build a thin crust.


The question you’re asking yourself, was the same question I was asking myself when I made this leap.  How did the ribs turn out?  Over spicy?  Over salty?  Not sweet enough?  It’s not fair for me to declare this a unanimous win, because it deviates from what you would consider to be classic BBQ flavors, but in this devation I discovered a new style of Southern fusion.  The combo of the “Tony’s” and brown sugar creates this suprising sweet and spicy zipp.  Combined with the sweet bourbon based BBQ sauce, the ribs suddenly tasted like I had found my signature combo, my own recognizable flavor creation.  This  signature flavor profile is best described like balancing a bowl of bourbon bred pudding mixed with spicy andouille sausage.  A flavor profile that I will continue to refine, until I’ve convinced even my skeptical wife.

Do you have a signature flavor, or have you stumbled upon a peculiar flavor combo that worked out?  Do you have a secret spice rub?  What’s your key to BBQ success?  Whats your Southern secret?  Stay Hungry Y’all!


Filed under Cooking, Cooking Tutorial, Food, Southern Kitchen, Southern Recipes

7 responses to “Southern Kitchen – The Great Cajun Dry Rub Experiment

  1. Ben O.

    I was wondering what had my lips on fire when eatin those ribs the other day. It was really good, but not overpowering. I kept tasting the sauce trying to figure it out. Guess it wasn’t in the sauce.

    I do agree, the jury’s still out. I need more ribs to make an informed decision. 2-3 racks should do the trick.

  2. Those ribs look amazing! I need to put ribs on our 4th of July cookout menu. We haven’t done ribs in years. Yours look great!

  3. We can almost taste the flavors coming together! And the ribs look great! Thanks for being a wonderful fan of Tony’s!

  4. Ok I have won the local “Back Yard Joe” grill cook Off with these rib…25 teams participated…used a Treager wood pellet grill with apple wood pellet’s. let me tell ya….the judges went crazy and my family cant get enough of the Cajun snap these ribs have,,,,,ribs were finished with home made bourbon sauce just like you suggested…..what was nice 8 teams in the competition were professional traveling teams with 15k cooking trailers….Thanks for sharing your Cajun masterpiece……

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