Sweet Ancho Spice Rub

Sweet Ancho Spice Rub

This is the season, isn’t it, if you haven’t already broken out the grill, to do it now? I * think* it’s finally safe, although this last week I had to get the winter jacket out as temperatures plummeted into the ’30s in the Twin Cities and Denver had snow. But if you are grilling for Memorial Day and doing ribs (or maybe a pork butt) think about this Sweet Ancho Spice Rub.

Sweet Ancho Spice Rub

Sweet Ancho Spice Rub



I used this spice rub on some killer Cider Glazed Ribs. It was like a magical taste alchemy. Those ribs are started in the oven, then either be finished on the grill or broiled to caramelized perfection. Just in case it’s the high 90’s like it’s gonna be in Atlanta this week and you don’t want to be manning a smoker! And yep, that’s where I am, for my daughter’s wedding. In Atlanta. Dying of heat while back home it’s below freezing! And all this in May. But next week, if I live through it, I hope to have some wedding pics for you.

About Sweet Ancho Spice Rub:

When I first started barbecuing, I had my fave rub (Essential Rib Rub) and tweaked it over the years to what I think is perfection. But then I started branching out. I mean c’mon, there’s a whole wild world out there, baby. (Cat Stevens, if you’re not in my age group…which is “Grandma” lol!) But life should be an adventure, and if not, well at least your food can be!

And so I’m loving this rib rub, the Sweet Ancho Spice Rub. I love the taste of it, clean and just a little zippy, and I love the way it browns and caramelizes on the ribs (they’re glazed, too, which makes them just a little shinier) kind of like a blackening spice. I mean aren’t those ribs, below, just gorgeous?

And while I love this spice rub as is, every now and then I change out the mild ancho for half ancho chile powder and half chipotle powder. It’s still a subtle heat but a bit more noticeable. So there’s plenty of room for you to tinker with this fun little rub if you’re a tinkerer!

Apple Cider Glazed Ribs

Apple Cider Glazed Ribs

Making Sweet Ancho Spice Rub:

I just tweaked this rub from the recipe put out by Food & Wine in June 2009 for Apple Glazed Barbecued Baby Back Ribs. And when I say tweaked, it’s barely tweaked. I left off the cinnamon and changed garlic salt to garlic powder, celery salt to crushed celery seed. I don’t usually buy garlic or celery salt and the rub is just fine salt wise without them.

I do like to use kosher salt or sea salt in my rubs, too, especially if they’ll sit for more than an hour or two on the meat. The iodine in regular ol’ table salt isn’t great for a longer rub.

If you happen to have any extra of your Sweet Ancho Spice Rub, store it and all spices (that you don’t store in the freezer) in a tightly lidded jar in a dark, cool (like not over the stove, microwave or refrigerator which all give off heat) cupboard or pantry. I find most rubs like this with a little heat and a little sweet don’t keep their flavor for more than 2 to 3 months or so, even when stored under optimal conditions.

Sweet Ancho Spice Rub

Sweet Ancho Spice Rub

Saving Money on Sweet Ancho Spice Rub:

I shop carefully for my ingredients and the ingredients for Sweet Ancho Spice Rub are no exception. I go through a fair amount of spices so I buy the basic ones, the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder (or others that I might see) in the larger plastic containers. You’ll find those at the grocery or the buyers clubs like Sam’s or Costco and might even find them in the discount area of the store or the dollar stores. I also buy bags of spices from the produce department.

I always keep my eye open in the spring when McCormicks often has coupons and Catalinas and restock my spices. A Catalina is when you buy so many items and a coupon spits out with a dollar amount to save on your next shopping trip. Pay attention to those slips that spit out with your receipts; they’ll notify you of Catalinas and so will your coupon matching sites if you have a good one. There are more money-saving tips and a lot more rubs and spice blends on my post for Spice, Herb or Flavor Packet Substitutes Post.

I used to buy all my brown sugar, until I realized just how much more inexpensive it is to make your own. Brown sugar is just molasses and white sugar and both are pretty cheap. That means if you buy brown sugar you’ll be paying about 3x times the amount than you’d pay if you make your own. If I’m baking, I can add in the white sugar and a touch of molasses, but for this rub you’ll want to whip up the brown sugar from my post, Homemade Light or Dark Brown Sugar if you’d like to give it a go.

Sweet Ancho Spice Rub

Sweet Ancho Spice Rub


Sweet Ancho Spice Rub

  • Author: adapted from Food & Wine
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 3/4 cup 1x
  • Cuisine: American


  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons pure ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (I use Mortons)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper


Mix together; store any excess in a tightly covered jar in a cool, dark place.

Keywords: Barbecue, rib rub, Spice & Herb Blends

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I’ll be sharing my Sweet Ancho Spice Rub this week at Fiesta Friday #277. Thank you to the co-hosts this week, Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.


Sweet Ancho Spice Rub has a clean taste and just a little zip, You'll love the way it caramelizes on ribs or pork shoulder. #SweetAnchoSpiceRub #RibRub

10 thoughts on “Sweet Ancho Spice Rub

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Thanks, Mimi! I want those ribs again, already!! But I’m determined to post out another of my fave rib recipes, instead and it’s all I can do not to make these again, lol!

  1. Tina in Sunnyvale

    I cannot print from ur website. Any reason for this? Error message says “this website has been blocked from automatically printing”.

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