5 Dry Rub Recipes to Spice up Your Summer Grilling

Different spices in white bowls on a table

Grilling season is upon is! Wouldn’t it be great to prep a few things in order to save time on busy summer nights, or when you feel like throwing an impromptu get-together? These spice mixes will pair well with meats and fish you love, and if you’ve never grilled fresh vegetables and fruit—here’s your chance.

Dry rubs can easily be batched ahead of time and stored for months. These seasoning blends will take your family and friends on a world flavor tour throughout the summer. Make one trip to the store and stock up on each ingredient, plus five 8-12 ounce canning jars (depending on how often you grill).

A few of these mixes contain fruit. How do you get fresh flavor into a shelf-stable dry rub? You will have to take the extra step to really dry things out in the oven or a dehydrator, but it’s well worth it. Simply scatter the dried fruit on a cookie sheet and bake at 150°F for an hour or until everything is crispy and crunchy. Toss the morsels into the blender or chopper with the other spices and you’ve got an extra dimension of flavor.

Moroccan: cumin, ginger, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon are prized flavors in Africa’s northeastern corner. Rub on turkey legs and lamb chops, or into meatballs before tossing on a fiery grill. Perhaps season a vegetable pouch (made with aluminum foil) with chickpeas, potatoes, zucchini, carrots and tomatoes for a side-dish or Meatless Monday.

Caribbean: the only kind of jerk we’re excited about is a delicious blend of allspice, thyme, chipotle, cloves, cinnamon, salt, garlic powder and black pepper. Spice up chicken wings, pork chops, wahoo, mahi, and try your hand at grilling plantain or mango slices for a fun new experiment. Some fish may be too delicate to rub, but a light sprinkle will do.

Japanese: we’re crossing the ocean westward for this tropical Asian mix. Start with dried persimmons, pineapple and mango, and blend with dried seaweed, ginger and sesame seeds. Sprinkle over salmon or tuna, try it on chicken or mix it in with rice.

Indian: curry powder, a signature of Indian cooking, is a blend of many different flavors. Combine mustard seed, celery salt, fenugreek, turmeric, fennel, coriander, cumin and ginger to make your custom curry concoction. This mix will spice up chicken, lamb, fish, eggplant or tofu.

Mayan: travel to South America with cocoa, coffee, cranberry and habanero. After you’ve truly dried out the cranberries, blend them with your custom ratio of spices and enjoy the sweet, ancestral aroma filling the kitchen. This rub would be delectable on ribs, chicken breasts and halved bell peppers.