Adobo Dry Rub

Spice Up Your Life: The Ultimate Adobo Dry Rub for Smoked Meats

Calling all grill masters, BBQ enthusiasts, and lovers of bold flavors! Get ready to take your smoked meats to the next level with this Adobo Dry Rub recipe. This vibrant blend, inspired by classic Filipino adobo flavors, transforms any cut of protein into a masterpiece of smoky, savory goodness.

Adobo Dry Rub

A Rub with a Rich History

Adobo is a beloved cooking technique in the Philippines, traditionally used to marinate meats in a combination of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and peppercorns. This Adobo Dry Rub captures the essence of those bold flavors in a convenient rub format, perfect for easy application to your favorite cuts of meat before smoking.

The Spice Blend

The magic of this rub lies in its carefully chosen blend of spices. Dried Ancho and Guajillo chiles provide a warm, smoky depth without overwhelming heat. Earthy spices like cumin, fennel, and mustard seed add complexity, while aromatic herbs like oregano, thyme, and marjoram contribute a touch of floral fragrance. A sprinkle of kosher salt enhances the natural flavors of the meat, and a touch of brown sugar (optional) adds a hint of sweetness to balance the savory notes.

Beyond the Smoke

This Adobo Dry Rub isn’t just for smoked meats! While it shines on cuts like pork shoulder, brisket, and chicken, its versatility extends far beyond the smoker. Use it to season steaks, chops, or even tofu for a flavor explosion on the grill or in the oven.

Ready to Craft Your Flavor Bomb?

Gather your ingredients and let’s get mixing!


  • Dried Ancho Chiles: These add a deep, smoky warmth without excessive heat.
  • Dried Guajillo Chiles: Another source of smokiness with a slightly fruity sweetness.
  • Guajillo Chile Substitutes: If you can’t find Guajillo chiles, substitute with an equal amount of Ancho chiles or Pasilla chiles.
  • Red Pepper Flakes (Optional): Adjust the amount to your desired level of heat.
  • Dried Oregano: An aromatic herb that adds a touch of earthiness.
  • Black Peppercorns: Crushed peppercorns add a subtle peppery kick.
  • Whole Cumin Seeds: Toasting these before grinding releases their full flavor potential.
  • Fennel Seeds: Offer a licorice-like sweetness that complements the savory notes.
  • Mustard Seeds: Add a touch of piquant heat and complexity.
  • Thyme: Aromatic and slightly floral, thyme adds another layer of complexity.
  • Marjoram: Similar to oregano, but with a milder, sweeter flavor.
  • Kosher Salt: Enhances the natural flavors of the meat.
  • Brown Sugar (Optional): A touch of sweetness helps balance the savory notes.


  • Coffee grinder (or spice grinder)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Airtight container for storage

Watch how to make this recipe!

Want to see this recipe come to life? Check out this video where I walk you through the entire process, step-by-step!

Blending the Magic: How to Make the Adobo Dry Rub

  1. Toast the Chiles (Optional): For an extra layer of smokiness, you can toast the dried chiles in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes until fragrant. Watch them closely to avoid burning.
  2. Grind the Spices: If using a coffee grinder, add the dried chiles (seeds removed if desired), red pepper flakes (optional), black peppercorns, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and mustard seeds to the grinder and grind into a fine powder.
  3. Combine and Store: In a mixing bowl, combine the ground spice mixture with the oregano, thyme, marjoram, kosher salt, and brown sugar (if using). Whisk everything together until well combined.
  4. Store for Later: Transfer the Adobo Dry Rub to an airtight container and store it in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
  5. How to Use It: This tasty adobo dry rub recipe is perfect for all types of meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. Just coat all sides of your favorite cut of meat, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, allow it to rest for 30 minutes, then put it on the smoker or grill.

Pro Tips:

  • Grind Fresh for Maximum Flavor: For the most vibrant flavor, grind the spices just before using. Pre-ground spices tend to lose their potency over time.
  • Adjust the Heat: This recipe has a mild to moderate heat level. Feel free to adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to your preference.
  • Experiment with Different Chiles: While Ancho and Guajillo chiles are a classic combination, you can experiment with other dried chiles like chipotle or pasilla for a different flavor profile.

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Adobo Dry Rub

Adobo Dry Rub Recipe

Recipe by Jason Hill –
This tasty Mexican adobo dry rub is perfect for all types of meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. Just coat all sides of your favorite cut of meat, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. The next day, allow it to rest for 30 minutes, then put it on the smoker or grill.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Course Seasoning
Cuisine American
Servings 12


  • 4 dried chiles 2 New Mexico and 2 Guajillo
  • 1 tsp pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp black peppercorn
  • 2 tb whole cumin
  • 2 tb fennel
  • 2 tb mustard seed
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tb kosher salt
  • 1 tb. Brown sugar optional


  • Remove the stem and dump out the seeds from the dried chiles.
  • Preheat pan on high. Toast the chiles breaking them up with your hands.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, except the salt and brown sugar (if using). Stir for a couple minutes with a wooden spoon to bring out the flavor.
  • Remove from the heat. Add the salt.
  • Transfer to a spice mill or coffee grinder and blend. You may have to work in batches.
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Keyword BBQ, chiles, dry rub, grilling, pork, smoker, spices
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AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.

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