Homemade Spice Rub: 5 4 3 2 1 American Rub

What You'll Need

  • measuring spoons
  • decorative jars for gifting or storage with air tight lids
  • chopsticks (optional)
  • 5 tablespoons sweet or smoked paprika
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
So named for the simple formula that makes the ingredients easy to remember, the 5 4 3 2 1 rub has, according to Steven Raichlen, author of Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades--Bastes, Butters & Glazes, Too, long been a mainstay of the American barbecue competition circuit. Despite the simplicity of preparation, this rub lends a complex flavor to all it touches, and is well suited to pork, beef, lamb, and poultry. It makes an excellent and timely Father’s Day gift, too. We made a big double batch, and had a little fun playing with the presentation, layering the spices in the jar like so many bands of colored sand.

Use this spice rub as the sole flavoring for veg and meats on the grill, or layer it underneath other sauces. It’s a great way to get an extra kick of flavor into marinades and dipping sauces, too. Rub it on!


Layer the ingredients in a jar. Here, we used a Weck Deco jar, and made a double batch.
layer spices
Just for fun, if you like, use a chopstick or other slender kitchen instrument to disturb the layers of different colored spices, making a pattern. This is totally unnecessary, and also addictively fun.
make swirl patters
For those with a more practical bent, simply combine all of the spices, and mix well, until they are evenly distributed.
mix spicesMix well before using.

giftOver to You

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