Fire Up The Flavour: Australian BBQ Rubs For The Perfect Sear

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Aussie barbecues are legendary. But what truly elevates a good snag or some juicy steaks from “good” to “g’day mate, that’s grouse!”? The secret weapon: BBQ rubs. These flavour bombs are a blend of spices and herbs that transform your meat from bland to brilliant.

This comprehensive guide dives deep into the world of Aussie BBQ rubs. We’ll explore the common ingredients, guide you through creating your own rubs, and even provide some handy nutritional information.

Smokin Guns Charcoal Rub – SmokeyQ
Smokin Guns Charcoal Rub – SmokeyQ

Common Ingredients in Aussie BBQ Rubs

Aussie BBQ rubs are a symphony of flavour, typically featuring a combination of these key ingredients:

Smoked Paprika

This key ingredient adds a smoky depth that mimics the taste of slow-cooked barbecue. Sweet or hot smoked paprika can be used depending on your preference.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar adds a touch of sweetness that balances the savoury spices and helps create a beautiful caramelized crust on your meat.

Garlic Powder & Onion Powder

These pantry staples add a savoury base and umami depth to the rub.

Black Pepper

A classic for a reason, black pepper adds a touch of heat and complexity to the flavour profile.

Chilli Powder or Cayenne Pepper

For those who like a bit of heat, chilli powder or cayenne pepper adds a kick. Adjust the amount based on your heat tolerance.

Native Australian Spices

Some Aussie rubs incorporate unique Australian spices like wattleseed, pepperleaf, or even lemon myrtle for a distinctly local flavour.

Creating Your Own BBQ Rub

Making your own BBQ rub is a fun and rewarding way to personalize your grilling experience. Here’s what you’ll need:


Mixing bowl

  • Spice grinder (optional)
  • Airtight container for storage

  • Ingredients

    Use the following as a base and adjust the quantities to suit your taste:

    2 tablespoons smoked paprika (sweet or hot)

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of your chosen native Australian spice (optional)

  • Instructions:

    1. If using whole spices, grind them in a spice grinder.
    2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk well to ensure even distribution.
    3. Store your rub in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

    Experimenting with Flavours

    The beauty of making your own rub is the endless possibilities for flavour combinations. Here are some ideas to get you started:

    Sweet & Smoky: Add a pinch of cinnamon or a touch of honey for a sweet and smoky twist.

  • Herbacious: Incorporate dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, or oregano for a fresh and aromatic flavour.
  • Spicy: Crank up the heat with additional chilli powder or even a touch of chipotle powder.

  • Applying Your Rub

    Now that you have your perfect rub, it’s time to apply it to your meat!

    1. Pat your meat dry. Moisture can prevent the rub from adhering properly.
    2. Apply a generous amount of rub to all sides of the meat. Use your hands to massage it in for even coverage.
    3. Let the meat rest. Ideally, let the rub sit on the meat for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight for maximum flavour penetration.

    Nutritional Information for BBQ Rubs

    While BBQ rubs are all about flavour, it’s helpful to be aware of their nutritional content. Here’s a general breakdown:

    Calories: The calorie content will vary depending on the ingredients used. Most rubs will have around 20-30 calories per tablespoon.

  • Sugar: Brown sugar is a key ingredient, so expect a moderate amount of sugar.
  • Sodium: Many rubs contain salt, so be mindful if you’re watching your sodium intake.
  • Fat: The fat content is usually minimal.

  • Remember: These are general estimates. Always check the specific ingredients list on your rub for the most accurate nutritional information.


    Aussie BBQ rubs are more than just a sprinkle of flavour – they’re an art form. With the right combination of spices, you can transform your next barbecue into a flavour explosion. So fire up the barbie, whip up your own rub, and get ready to experience the magic of Aussie BBQ!


    1. Where can I buy BBQ rubs in Australia?

    Aussie supermarkets stock a wide variety of BBQ rubs from different brands. You can also find them at specialty stores or online retailers.