How to season meat for BBQ & smoker for the best flavor

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  May 28, 2022

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If you are into barbecuing, you’ll want to explore all the options for getting the best flavors. This is where seasoning comes in. You know, where you add amazing flavor to your meats before cooking?

The most common method of seasoning meat for BBQ and smokers is called dry rubs, made up of various spices, giving your food an extra kick. Wet rubs are typically used on chicken. These have more moisture than dry rubs so don’t work as well with smoked meats.

If you’re looking for a great way to season your meats for BBQ and smoker, we’ve got you covered because this guide will give you everything you need for delicious chicken, beef, pork, and even fish.

How To Season Meat For BBQ & Smoker

What is seasoning?

Seasoning is adding flavor to foods. It’s one of the easiest ways to make food taste better.

You can use any kind of spice to create a flavorful dish. Some popular types of seasoning include:

Dry rubs

These are usually made up of a mixture of herbs and spices.

Dry rubs are often used on cuts of beef like steaks and roasts. They also work well on poultry.

Here’s how SDSBBQ likes to apply his dry rubs to meat:

Check out my favorite top 5 dry rubs for BBQ meats here

Wet rubs

Wet rubs are similar to dry rubs but they contain a lot more liquid. They are commonly used on chicken because they help keep it moist during cooking.

They can be as simple as a good BBQ sauce or you can go elaborate with a complete meat mopping sauce.


Spices such as cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper are also used to season food.

Spices can be added at different times throughout the process of cooking.


Herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme are also used to season foods. They are especially good for adding flavor to vegetables.


Sauces are another type of flavoring that can be added to food.

There are many kinds of sauces including ketchup, barbecue sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, and salsa.

There are many different ways to apply these ingredients to your food. One of the most popular methods is by rubbing them onto the surface of the food.

Another option is to sprinkle them on top of the food. However, if you want to get the best results, you should combine both methods.

How do I apply a spice or herb to my food?

How Do I Apply A Spice Or Herb To My Food?

You can apply spices and herbs directly to the food using one of two methods. Either spread them out on the surface of the food or mix them together and rub them on.

Spread out

This is the simplest way to apply a spice or herb to your food. Simply spread them out on the food and allow them to sit there until they start to absorb into the food.

Mix them together and rub on

This is a little bit harder to do. Mixing the spices or herbs together first allows you to control how much goes on each piece of food.

Once you’ve mixed them together, you can then rub them on the food.

Once you’ve applied the spices or herbs to the food, you can cook it right away.

If you’re planning on smoking your food, you should let it sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes before cooking. This helps the flavors blend together better.

How long should I cook my meats in a BBQ?

The length of time that you cook your meat depends on what kind of cooker you’re using.

Most people recommend waiting until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) before serving it.

However, some people say that you shouldn’t wait until this point. Instead, they suggest cooking your meats until they reach an internal temperature of 180°F (82°C).

The higher temperature will give you a juicier steak.

If you’re not sure which method to follow, just go with whatever feels comfortable to you.

How long should I cook my meats in a smoker?

Smoking meat is a great way to add flavor to your meals. It’s also a very easy way to prepare food.

To smoke meat you need a smoker, of which there are many different types.

Most smokers come with instructions on how long to smoke your meat. Follow those guidelines and you’ll have delicious smoked beef every time!

What are the best meat seasoning combinations?

When it comes to seasoning your meat, there are several combinations that work well. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Garlic-Onion-Pepper
  • Salt-Pepper-Oregano
  • Salt-Pepper
  • Black Pepper-Rosemary-Thyme
  • Chili Powder-Mustard-Cumin

How to make your own barbecue sauce

Making your own barbecue sauce is a fun project to do with your kids. Not only does it taste amazing, but it’s also good for the environment because it doesn’t use as much oil as store-bought brands.

Homemade BBQ sauce recipe


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all of these ingredients together in a bowl until you have a thick sauce. You can then spread this on your meat before you put it on the BBQ or in the smoker.

What is the best type of salt for seasoning meat?

There are two types of salt used when preparing meat.

One type is fine sea salt. Fine sea salt has larger grains than regular table salt. These larger grains make it easier to dissolve in liquids.

Another type of salt is kosher salt. Kosher salt is made from pure sodium chloride. It dissolves easily in water without clumping up like other salts.

How many times can I add salt to food before it becomes too salty?

You can add salt to your food multiple times before it becomes too salty. However, if you add salt more often than necessary, your food may become overly seasoned.

You can add salt to your foods once per pound of meat. So, if you’re making 1 lb of meat, you can add 2 tsp of salt.


The best way to season meat is by adding spices to it. This helps create flavors that complement each other.

If you want to get creative, try making your own sauces instead of buying them at the grocery store.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.