My Secret No-Calorie BBQ Dry Rub Recipe

Most BBQ sauces are super sweet. One time, when I didn’t feel like cooking, I sent Bill to our local “destination supermarket” to pick up something from their very popular BBQ bar. Being Bill, he came back with some of everything. And EVERYTHING was excessively sweet: the meats, the side sauces, the coleslaw, the baked beans. The cornbread was like cake. All so sweet. A dentist’s eyes would light up with dollar signs.

All this sugar is killing everyone. Enough with the sweet! Let’s do savory. Savory won’t crash your blood sugar or rot your teeth or damage your liver. So I give you my secret BBQ dry spice rub recipe.

Of course, it won’t be secret now. I formulated this blend back when Atkins and no-carb/low-carb diets were new. I ought to trademark this formula and package & sell it. But I give it to you for free! Don’t say I never gave you nothin’.

I use this on pork ribs, but there is no reason why this wouldn’t work with beef, lamb or chicken, or maybe even potato wedges. Or calamari! Somebody please try it with calamari and let me know how it goes…

Alia’s BBQ Spice Rub

Components of the secret recipe
Components of the secret recipe
  • 2 Tbsp (or 6 parts) Herbes du Provence
  • 2 Tbsp (or 6 parts) Vietnamese Pho Spice
  • 2 tsp (or 2 parts) dried minced garlic
  • 1 tsp (or 1 part) salt
  1. Mix the spice ingredients together.
  2. Rub your meat all over with Worcestershire sauce and then rub on the spice mix. Let it marinate for 30 minutes, or a few hours, whatever you have.
  3. Grill it on your BBQ as you would do normally. You can brush it with oil if that’s how you normally grill stuff.
Prepared meat ready to grill
Pork ribs rubbed with Worcestershire sauce and then the spice mix, ready to grill.

If you don’t have Worcestershire sauce, you could use balsamic vinegar, but don’t use the really expensive kind.

A package of Vietnamese meat spice and Alia's BBQ dry rub ready to use.
Example of Vietnamese spice mix next to Alia’s BBQ dry rub ready for slathering on meat.

There are lots of different Vietnamese spice mixes out there. Most Asian groceries have them for sale. Some say “oriental beef spices”, or “pho spices”. They have 5-7 spices in them, and are are brick red in color from paprika and chilies. Be sure to get one which has anise or star anise listed as one of the ingredients.

The Herbes du Provence I use has lavender in it, along with savory, thyme, rosemary, basil and tarragon. Wikipedia tells me that lavender is part of Herbes du Provence formulas in the USA, whereas in Europe, lavender is not part of the mix. I’m not sure how much it matters, when push comes to grill.

Ribs roasting over wood fire.
Ribs roasting over wood fire.

Sometimes we like a little Thai sweet chili sauce to dab the ribs in as we eat. Just a dab.

BBQ pork ribs served with Asian slaw and a dab of Thai sweet chili sauce.
BBQ pork ribs served with Asian slaw and a dab of Thai sweet chili sauce.