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Season ribs with smoky and spicy flavors before cooking.
Image Credit: Eugene Mymrin/Moment/GettyImages

Seasoning ribs before tossing them on the grill or in the oven guarantees that the meat will retain its delicious flavor.


You'll want to use generous amounts of dry rub on the meat to give your ribs a smoky and spicy flavor. Remove the membrane before seasoning because it blocks the flavors from the meat.

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How to Season Ribs

Things You'll Need

  • Knife

  • Slab of ribs

  • 4 tsp. liquid smoke

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Garlic powder

  • Paper towels

  • Large plate or platter

  • Plastic wrap

  1. Lie the ribs on a flat surface meat-side down. Use a knife to peel off the thin layer of membrane secured to the ribs. Start removing the membrane from one of the corners of the ribs near the bone. Discard the membrane.
  2. Cut off some excess fat from the ribs — you'll want to leave a small amount of fat to keep the ribs tender.
  3. Rub liquid smoke over both sides of the ribs. Hickory or mesquite flavors of liquid smoke will taste delicious on the ribs.
  4. Season both sides of the ribs with a generous amount of salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  5. Place the ribs on a large plate or platter and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of four hours, but no longer than 24 hours.
  6. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and cook as directed. Leave the seasoning in place when you roast or grill the ribs. You may add extra seasoning by basting with barbecue sauce while cooking if desired.



You can choose to forgo the liquid smoke and only use dry ingredients to season the ribs. If you find it difficult to get the seasoning to stick to the ribs, try brushing the meat first with a small amount of olive oil or mustard before adding the seasonings.

What Do You Season Ribs With?

Ribs taste delicious with a simple mixture of garlic powder, salt, pepper and liquid smoke, but you can also purchase a specific dry rub or spice mixture to use on your ribs.

Depending on the flavor you want to achieve, you can try:

  • McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon ($6.12 on
  • The Spice Lab Sweet Rib Rub for Smoking ($6.95 on
  • Heath Riles BBQ Garlic Jalapeño Rub Seasoning ($14.95 on




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