How do I keep my rub from clumping?

Last Updated on: 8th November 2023, 10:40 am

Rubs play a really important part in enhancing the flavor of meat while cooking with different techniques like smoking.

These also help meat absorb more smoke, which can help in getting while cooking with different techniques like smoking.

These also help meat absorb more smoke, which can help in getting both a spicy and a smoked flavor at the same time.

Despite being effective in their purpose, sometimes they can start to clump due to poor storage or improper handling.

So you might be panicking and thinking How do I keep my rub from clumping, calm down , we got you covered.

key takeaway: To keep your rub from clumping, you need to store it properly.

it needs to be stored away from direct sunlight, in an area with low humidity, dry sugar is used in the preparation of it, and also should be placed in an airtight jar.

It can be frustrating if you have guests waiting for the smoked brisket while your rub is stuck in the jar due to clumping.

by the way here is our guide on applying rub on brisket if want to check out.

So almost every other pitmaster or even chef wonders how the hell they are going to stop the rub from clumping.

Well, that’s the topic of today’s article.

A summary: To avoid your spices from clumping, you need to:

fresh rub
  • keep spices in an airtight container
  • add some dry beans to absorb moisture
  • Dont overfill the jar
  • store away from heat sources
  • make sure the sugar is dry

I’ve been there, and it’s extremely frustrating to see all of your hard work go to waste because of a minor flaw.

After testing different methods advised by several pitmasters in my area, I have made a list of the best ways to avoid clumping of rubs.

Let’s get started without any delay.

here is How I keep my rub from clumping ;

There are several ways to avoid clumping of rub, but while doing so, you also need to keep in mind the flavor of the rub.

first of all, you need to make sure that you are using good quality rub

The reason is that some of the methods used for avoiding clumping can result in affecting the flavor of the rub.

Rub needs to be applied for a specific time, even if it is of good quality. Giving rub enough time to sink into the meat will increase its effectiveness. here is a guide on when you should rub your meat when smoking

We have tested most of the techniques mentioned here and didn’t see any significant effect on the flavor of the rubs.

But if you want to keep yourself at the safe end, then you should try applying the techniques with a small batch of rub first.

Keep it in an airtight container on the shelf

Proper storage of the rub is the most effective solution for avoiding the clumping of rub.

Rubs are usually clumped together due to storing them improperly.

Hence, when the humidity increases, the rubs start to stick together and take the shape of a block.

Airtight containers are effective for the storage of rubs because they don’t allow excess moisture or air to come into contact with them.

These containers are way cheaper than the rubs and can be used repeatedly for storing rubs.

There is a hot debate about whether we should use plastic airtight containers or glass airtight containers for the storage of rubs.

Both of these have their benefits, and we can’t declare one the winner.

Although, in our opinion, glass containers are superior to plastic containers for storing rubs.

The reason is that the texture of plastic is porous, which allows moisture to get into the jar and results in clumping.

Glass containers are a bit more expensive than plastic containers, but they are worth the cost.

If you want to further ensure that the rub remains in its original form, then consider placing the jar in a zip-lock bag.

By sealing the rub in an airtight environment, we decrease the chances of the rub getting in contact with the humidity.

Add some dry beans

The most common cause of dry rub clumping is humidity.

Dry rubs are usually usable for several months without any changes in flavor.

But humidity in the environment can increase sometimes, which can affect the texture of the rub.

you can also use rice for the same purpose. the purpose of using rice or beans is to absorb extra moisture.

When humidity comes into contact with the rub, it dissolves the carbohydrates present in the composition of the rub and makes the rub sticky.

These sticky particles stick to each other and take the form of a block over time.

However, adding dry beans into the mix has been effective against the humidity.

The dry beans present in the rub absorb the humidity in the airtight jar and prevent the clumping of the rub present in it.

You can place a few beans on top of the rub just before closing the lid to make sure it remains in its original form.

There are several options for placing them along with the rub to avoid clumping.

These include marshmallows, rice, cheese paper, and several other things.

But before choosing any other option, you should make sure that it doesn’t become toxic itself time or affect the quality of the rub.

Don’t overfill

When storing the rub in an airtight container, make sure to not overfill it.

It is a common mistake that a lot of people make while storing the rub.

You should leave enough space in the rub for the presence of some air.

rub in jar

If the container is filled, then there will be no space for the circulation of air.

which will lead to increased chances of production of humidity, which leads to clumping of the rub to the base of the airtight container.

Store it away from heat sources

Heat is also the most important cause of clumping after humidity.

Heat can result in increasing the humidity of the airtight container.

In addition to increasing the humidity, heat can also result in the melting of the components of rub, which can also lead to clumping.

You should consider storing the airtight container in a cool place like a cabinet or even a refrigerator.

In addition to storing it, you should also make sure to keep your rub away from a heat source while using it in different meat recipes.

Make sure that the sugar is dry

Most of the dry rubs have sugar in their composition for different purposes.

Sugar is usually moist and can increase humidity in an airtight container.

So, before you add the sugar to the rub, make sure it is completely dry.

If the sugar is not dried and contains some moisture, then you don’t have to panic.

We are going to share with you our secret trick to make sure that sugar is dried out completely.

Here is a step-by-step guide to drying your moist sugar.

  1. First of all, take a small batch of sugar that you want to dry and place it on a baking sheet.
    Make sure that the sugar is spread out in a single layer.
  2. After that, plug in your oven and heat it to 200 °C.
  3. It is recommended to preheat the oven before placing the sugar to avoid melting the sugar by prolonging the process.
  4. After that, place the baking sheet containing the sugar in the oven.
  5. Leave it there for 15-20 minutes. You can also prolong the process if the sugar contains a higher amount of moisture.
  6. Take out the sugar and examine it physically.

Hopefully, it will have dried out by now.

That’s an “aha!” moment.

The sugar is now ready to be used in your rub.

The only thing to be careful about is to make sure to use a baking sheet because if sugar is directly placed into the oven, then it can result in melting and sticking to the oven base.

If you don’t want to put much effort into making sure that the sugar is dry, then consider buying good-quality sugar.

Granulated sugar is typically recommended for use in rubs.

In addition to using dry sugar, you should also make sure that it is blended well with the other components of the rub.

Produce in small batches

If you are making your homemade rub, then consider making it in small batches.

Larger batches often have lower quality and need to be stored for longer periods.

But smaller batches have two benefits.

  • First, due to being prepared in a smaller amount, you can focus more on the quality, which makes it mouth-watering when used on meat.
  • Secondly, preparing in smaller batches means that you will use it sooner than the larger batch, which means you don’t have to worry about storage.

By storing it for a shorter time, the rub will retain its original flavor and texture.

Frequently asked questions

now that we have discussed the main issue, let’s discuss some faqs that you might have.

how do you keep brown sugar from clumping in BBQ rub?

Brown sugar is an important component in any rub. it is usually considered to play an important role in the development of bark on brisket.

However as 30 to 40 percent of brown sugar consists of moisture, it can clump within the BBQ rub.

You can avoid the clumping of brown sugar in BBQ rub by preheating it in the oven at 200 Fahrenheit for 10 to 20 minutes.

it will evaporate the moisture present in the sugar and prevent it from clumping.

What causes rubs to clump?

Dry rubs for enhancing the flavor of meat are a mixture of different ingredients.

these ingredients range from spices to sugar and all the things in between.
these ingredients can contribute to the clumping of rub.

the most common reasons for clumping of rubs include storing in an open jar, increased humidity, placing near a fire source, and placing in direct sunlight.

you can place a few beans in your rub to decrease the chances of clumping.

how to keep spices from clumping in rubs

spices are the main component of a dry rub. these can help to enhance the flavor of meat. but these can lead to clumping of rub if not stored properly.

salt and spices present in rubs are the main reason for clumping
you can avoid the clumping of spices in the rubs by storing them in an airtight container.

moreover, you should add a few beans or marshmallows to absorb moisture and avoid clumping spices

so to stop spices from clumping, you need to store them properly.

in addition, you should also protect them from humidity, for example when using them you should avoid opening the jar lid for a longer time

why are my seasonings clumping

the main reason for the clumping of seasoning is that they are not stored properly.

this can be due to either placing them in direct sunlight, storing them in an open jar, opening the lid too often, placing them in high humidity, or using damp sugar in them.

if you are buying the seasoning from a store then you should make sure to check the expiration date. if the expiration date of spices is near then they might not last longer on your shelves.

so to avoid your seasonings from clumping, you can follow the precautions provided above for rubs, because they both have the same ingredients


Rubs usually clump due to poor storage.

You should make sure to follow proper storage sops to make sure to avoid clumping.

One of the most effective techniques is to always store rubs in airtight containers. if you are interested in reading more, then check out our guide on applying on turkey when smoking.

Jakob miller