Kansas City Beef Rub

Kansas City Beef Rub

Too often when we think of Kansas City, it’s all about the ribs but those in the City know not to stop there. You’ll find KC barbecue using a wide variety of meats and here’s a little rub that will still be great with ribs (or pork shoulder) but I think really shines with beef. I’m calling it Kansas City Beef Rub, but stay tuned – my next recipe is going to use it.

Poor Man's Burnt Ends

Poor Man’s Burnt Ends with Sweet Potato & Corn


I’m hoping to tantalize just a bit with a pic, above, of this KC Beef Rub on my Poor Man’s Burnt Ends. Fair Warning: the Burnt Ends are gonna be an Instant Pot Recipe to oven recipe. But you’re not limited on using this marvelous rub just on my recipe for burnt ends. See below for more ideas!

About Kansas City Beef Rub:

When I think of Kansas City Barbecue, what comes to mind is classic flavorings and a signature tomato (or ketchup) based barbecue sauce. Funny that, I just happen to have a handy dandy recipe for Kansas City Barbecue Sauce if you’re interested! Of course, like most areas, any bbq joint you go into these days will have a range of sauces, but for me, it’s the sweet, tangy, with just a hint of spice flavoring that brings me back for more…

It’s those key three flavors that I’m bringing to the table with this rub – and whatever you make will be fabulous served “dry” or combined with a sauce. The magic ingredient in this recipe is the mustard powder (and a generous amount of it) and it’s gonna be a bit forward. It plays so nicely with the other ingredients – it chimes in with the black pepper and the cayenne to give a range of subtle heat that’s balanced so nicely with the brown sugar. Then, of course, there’s salt, onion, and garlic powder and the paprika is the smoked kind because…well just because! LOL! You can’t go wrong with smoked paprika.

I use dried mustard powder a lot on my site, as well as smoked paprika, and they’re in my Top Secret Super Stealth Arsenal of Ingredients. I know, I know, I can be a bit dramatic sometimes 🙂 but check out the link if you want to see some of my fave tricks for flavor on a budget. You might want to see some of my other spice rubs – they are on this link, Spice, Herb, or Flavor Packet substitutes.

Kansas City Barbecue Sauce

Kansas City Barbecue Sauce

Using this Spice Blend:

I love this rub on beef and I’ve already used it on both chuck roast for my Poor Man’s Burnt Ends and on more than one brisket. Both were marvelous.

Try this spice blend, though, on anything you’d like to grill or barbecue. It’s going to flavor without overwhelming so it can go on anything from beef to pork (lamb if you go there) and some fish. I’m dying to try it on a little salmon sometime.

I do think of rubs like this in all kinds of things if I have a jar in my cupboard. I’m prone to just opening my spice cupboard and grabbing a jar to add a bit of flavor to fries or potato wedges, and I love a pinch or two in a veggie saute.

One note about it since I already mentioned Instant Pot. If you are making anything in an IP with a rub, use the rub very generously. The rub dissipates in the steam and your flavor can literally wash away, so allow for that upfront.

Kansas City Beef Rub

Kansas City Beef Rub

Storing Kansas City Beef Rub:

Store this rub, like any spice blend, in an airtight jar in a dark, cool cupboard. It should keep just fine for a month or two, but it will begin to fade in flavor and in color. The brown sugar, when stored too long, can become crunchy and dry.

Do use the Kansas City Beef Rub while it is in its prime. If worst comes to worst, and it does dry out, try tossing it in your food processer and giving it a whir, and maybe doing that old trick that so often works with brown sugar: put a chunk of bread in the jar and leave it overnight.

Kansas City Beef Rub

Kansas City Beef Rub

Saving Money on Kansas City Beef Rub:

There are times you absolutely need the best quality ingredients in a mix, and here freshly ground black pepper and good quality smoked paprika make a difference.

As for the garlic and onion powder, save a little by picking up larger bulk jars if you use them often. I rarely visit the spice aisle any longer. I look for the basic common spices like these in packets, jars, or in jugs, especially ones I know I’ll go through in my blends and rubs.

While some stores might have a bulk area where you can buy just the amount of spice you need, for the most part, you’ll be paying more for spices that way. The only time I would ever consider it is when I know it’s a one-off spice or herb that I’ll likely never use again.

Do check the produce area for packets if your store carries them. They’re usually a great value. If you have any “ethnic” markets near you, you might be surprised at how reasonable some of the spices are.

Hi Guys! It’s such a big disconnect for me, living in the South and coming most recently from Minnesota! It was hot and humid here and a phone call to a friend woke me up – 8 degrees and tons of snow in the Twin Cities! 

Regardless, whether you’re thinking about actual barbecue or faking it inside, I hope you’ll like this rub. It won’t be long now before the grills and smokers are coming out no matter where you live! Enjoy!



Kansas City Beef Rub

Kansas City Beef Rub


kansas city beef rub

  • Author: mollie kirby
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 cup (approximate) 1x
  • Category: spice or herb blend
  • Cuisine: American


  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne



Mix ingredients together. Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool cupboard.

Note: this recipe makes enough to rub a 15 to 20 pound brisket. Adjust amounts as needed.

Keywords: Barbecue, Beef, Kansas City, Spice & Herb Blends

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18 thoughts on “Kansas City Beef Rub

  1. Pingback: Kansas City Beef Rub — Frugal Hausfrau | My Meals are on Wheels

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Lol, Gail!! Hey, I finally found some darling little white antique plates! You know, I’ve been looking for years! Now I can’t wait to make a cake, just to use them!


  2. Nancy L Janssen

    This looks so good, Mollie! I second using a sprinkle on salmon, and I so love smoked paprika. Can’t wait to try this.

    • FrugalHausfrau

      Hi Nancy, I’ve been craving Salmon lately – and during Lent is a great time to look for it! 🙂


    • FrugalHausfrau

      lol, Carol, you can have the bits but only coz you’d be company, lol!! They’re also drizzled with bbq sauce and tossed under the broiler or in a hot oven….

    • FrugalHausfrau

      The briskets in my life have been far and few between – depending on where you live they can be pricey, especially up North, but we enjoyed every last shred of that one!! Well worth it!!


  3. That sounds good – I’ve never knowingly had it before. -8º wouldn’t stop me barbecuing! I’ve been out there on a cold Christmas morning and with rain and an umbrella 😉

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