Lemons Lemons are one of my favorite flavor enhancers but you need to be careful of the white pith. If you cook the pith, it turns very bitter. Cooking the rind or pulp is fine but never use the pith or seeds. I remember discovering this disturbing fact cooking chicken piccata for the first time. I thought I could enhance the flavor by cooking lemon slices in the sauce but instead I got a bitter taste I couldn't correct with sugar.
I have used this rub on chicken, pork, beef and even smoked nuts, all with great results. It's delicious, as my friend Steven would say. I've spent several years tweaking it and am sure I will continue to experiment with it. I'm pretty happy with the taste at the moment but I am a perfectionist and believe anything can be improved. Bringing it to the next level may just require a change in amount or an extra ingredient. You never know which is why I keep experimenting. For example, the latest two ingredient changes were adding thyme and tripling the pepper. Made a big difference, especially with beef ribs.
With that said, here is my current recipe for my all purpose dry rub. Combine granulated garlic, onion powder, chili powder, ground white pepper, freshly ground black pepper, ground thyme (or some other savory herb that goes well with beef), smoked paprika, ground cumin, ground chipotle pepper and celery salt. If you haven't seen Ground Chipotle Pepper in your local supermarket, you can either substitute cayenne pepper or order it online. What I like about ground chipotle is the smoky flavor gained from the roasting process.
Since I don't want to grind that much black pepper with my little grinder, I like to use my NutriBullet. A Magic Bullet or any Spice Grinder or Coffee Grinder will work well too. What I like about the bullet products is their capacity. Once I am done grinding the black pepper, I can mix the rest of the ingredients rather than doing it by hand.
An essential tool for distributing the dry rub evenly across your meat is a Spice Shaker. Get a stainless steel shaker, they are only five bucks. I still recommend getting dirty with your rubs, rubbing the spice mix in by hand for better penetration. However, even distribution just makes the process easier.
This recipe makes enough to cover one rack of any kind of ribs. It's usually a good idea to let dry rubs penetrate the meat overnight whenever possible. In a bind, a couple hours will also work.