A classic! Kansas City is known for it’s rich BBQ, rooted with strong bases of sweet topped with tangy and spicy. This Kansas City BBQ rub is no different. Let’s dive into it!

One of my favorite things about this rub is the aroma, and this really comes alive from the smoked paprika and the sugar. American Paprika’s taste is generally muted by the other ingredients and primarily used as color. Are you looking for a deep red color to your meat? Add paprika. Learn more about rubs here.


Yes, I’m adding salt to this rub. This is my go-to for short smokes and grills when I have that Kansas City BBQ craving. Salt in a rub does not contribute much to the meat’s ability to retain moisture without dry brining nor is it soluble in oil… but spices love oil!

If you want to use this rub on a larger piece of meat that you plan to dry brine, no problem. You can remove the salt and still dry brine, or dry brine AND use this. OR you could apply this rub and let it sit for hours without an oil base.

I am a lover of salt, but the problem with salt is if you have something that is too salty it’ll kill all the other flavors! Experimentation is the fun of it all.

Where is this rub best?

PORK: Well we all know that Pork loves sugar, so that’s a no brainer. This on pork is sublime. Try it on a butt or a tenderloin! The tenderloin I think is where it really shines.

CHICKEN: Excellent. While the high temperatures typical of poultry burn off a lot of the sugar, it leaves behind the molasses and flavor and some sweetness.

BEEF: As a beef rub this ranks up there. Beef short ribs would benefit greatly because of the high fat content. Brisket… I’d look elsewhere. Like my brisket rub.

When to use?

Rubs like this with the sugar content love the low and slow. Higher heats tend to burn off a lot of the sugar. It would still be excellent on your grilled meats, just don’t expect that extra sweetness that comes from all the sugar.

So what’d you all think? Let me know!

Here are the ingredients in larger quantities. I dare you to compare the price per oz to your local grocery store. You’re welcome!

Onion Powder – Big Bottle
Garlic Powder – Big Bottle
Smoked Paprika – Big Bottle
Ground Black Pepper – Big Bottle
The salt and sugar is actually cheaper at the store…!


Kansas City BBQ Rub – Sugars and chili with a pop of smoked paprika. Classic KC BBQ rub.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 1 min
Course Rub/Sauce
Cuisine American


  • cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tbsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • ½ tsp Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • ¼ tsp Chili Powder


  • Mix all ingredients together and store in a sealed container.
Keyword beef, Chicken, KC BBQ, Pork, rub, Sweet and Spicy
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