Spicy Brown Sugar Rub

Pairing brown sugar rubs with red meats is always a very good idea. The richness of the meat pairs very well with the earthy sweetness of the sugar. Plus the sugar acts as a tenderizer, making that steak even more juicy. This spicy brown sugar rub does all that and a whole lot more. This is a dry rub recipe chock full of flavor.

Spicy brown sugar rub, with a sprinkle of extra paprika

But why stop there? This spicy brown sugar rub leans into smoky heat, too, brought to you by the ever-popular chipotle powder. Add in some paprika and earthy chili powder and you have a real flavor-packed rub. Steak is where this rub shines, but it works just as well on other red meats, ribs, pork, and chicken.

For the best flavor: After prepping the meat with the spice mixture, allow the flavors to meld for six to eight hours prior to grilling. Coat the meat, then place in the refrigerator overnight.

If you’re looking for low sodium spice blends, you can also lessen it to just a pinch or even remove the salt entirely from this recipe. It’s not quite as flavorful, but there’s still plenty going on among the other ingredients.

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Spicy Brown Sugar Rub

Spicy Brown Sugar Rub

Earthy sweet and smoky – delicious with red meats and more
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Seasoning
Servings 4 servings
Calories 70 kcal


  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika or smoked paprika for additional smokiness
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Combine all the spices in a mixing bowl. Stir to evenly combine.
  • Use immediately as a barbecue rub or store in an airtight container for future barbecue use.


For best flavor, allow the rub to set on the meat for 6 to 8 hours. Prepping the meat the night before and allowing it to refrigerate overnight is a perfect amount of time.
Smoked paprika can be substituted in for generic paprika. This rub is already smoky due to the addition of chipotle powder, so only use this option if you want to lean into smokiness.


Calories: 70kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gSodium: 668mgPotassium: 145mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 1978IUVitamin C: 0.04mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Chili Powder, Chipotle Pepper, Hungarian Paprika, Smoked Paprika
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UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on June 17, 2023 to include new content.
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)
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