This probably started about 20 years ago when my wife and I lived and worked in Memphis for a year. As a couple of northeners our eyes were opened to the sheer culinary delight that is southern BBQ. And we wondered why this great food hadn’t spread all over the north where our idea of BBQ was throwing chicken pieces on the grill and then slathering them with BBQ sauce.

Fast forward about fifteen years to a moment when my wife and I were reliving memories from our past, and we talked about the delicious BBQ we enjoyed down south. At that point – in a moment of inspiration – I looked at my wife and said, “Honey, if Santa were to bring me a smoker for Christmas I would try to make ribs.” Well, my wife got on the hotline to Santa and shortly thereafter I had my first smoker.

So at this point I wanted a dry rub to put on the ribs that would be so tasty that when the ribs came out of the smoker you wouldn’t need bbq sauce. So I bought and tried a bunch of different rubs, then I downloaded and blended recipes that I found online. I thought most were decent, and some were good, but none of them made me say, “Yup, this is the one.”

At this point, a little unhappy with where I was so far, I thought, “I’ve got a decent handle on what spices are contributing what flavors, so can I now put them together to create a flavor that I like?” So I set out to make my own dry rub.

I looked at all of the recipes I had printed out and said, “Ok, I’m going to double this ingredient, and triple that ingredient and cut this other ingredient in half.” And I got to a point where I thought my rib rub was decent, but hardly the stuff of legend. So I asked myself, “What ingredients aren’t in any of these recipes that would make the rub better?” And I started thinking about the flavors that I wanted to taste, but that weren’t in any of the recipes.

I started looking at different spice websites and found the flavors I was looking for. Then it was almost like going back to the starting line because it became a quest to make sure that the new flavoring I introduced into the mix didn’t throw off the balance of the ingredients that were already in it. After about a year and a half, and multiple adjustments later, I pulled the ribs out of the smoker, took a bite and said, “Yup, I’m happy.” You now hold my final recipe in your hand. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and friends do.

Happy Smoking! Rob