Recipe: Kansas City Barbecue Rub

Barbecue recipe by chef John Fahy
Barbecue recipe by chef John Fahy

Barbecue season is belatedly upon us, so here is a simple idea to make sure your visitors enjoy your dishes.

A ‘rub’ is a spice mix which gives flavour to any manner of barbecue foods, my favourite being the Kansas City rub. You only need a small amount and it can be used for ribs, wings, sausages, anything.


(Makes a little more than 1 cup)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup paprika

1 tbsp black pepper

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp chilli powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tsp cayenne


Combine all ingredients and transfer to an air-tight container (can be stored up to six months). Simply sprinkle this on your meat before cooking and you’re smoking.

Barbecue tips:

-Don’t use fire lighters or lighter fuel to light the barbecue as it smells and taints the food and never use petrol as it is too dangerous.

-Don’t use wood from your old bookcase or garage; most modern woods contain chemicals which can be toxic.

-Make use of old newspapers and roll each page into balls and place into your barbecue kettle or base, then cover with pine cones and light the paper. Fallen pine cones are readily available in woods, are free and also give the barbecue a nice smell. When its starting to catch, slowly add small charcoal or briquettes; add more pine cones as you need them, cover and allow to smoulder. When the coals are bright red then you are ready to cook. If you want to add some smoke flavour, the easy way is to get some smoking chips (available from most stores) and soak in cold water for 30 minutes.

Get a sheet of tin foil and place a good handful into it, fold over the foil and make a hole in one end and place these onto the coals, as they heat they will release a lovely smoke flavour to the food. Discard each packet after half an hour and place another one on. Dispose of carefully, place in a tin, not wheelie bin.

If cooking chicken consider placing it in an oven first to pre-cook along with sausages and large cuts of meat, this is to make sure that the meat is cooked and won’t ruin your day. Ensure burgers are cooked all the way through, do not serve pink as they could make you ill.

Recipe by John Fahy, lecturer and chef at Tresham College of Further and Higher Education’s Manor House Restaurant in Corby.