NASA Barbecue Rub

NASA Barbecue Rub

This is the BBQ rub recipe that NASA used for meals prepared for
the last Space Shuttle mission, STS-135 in July 2011.

The original NASA recipe was a formula expressed in percentage
of each ingredient used (by weight). It has been converted to volume
for home use.

By Volume Measurement

1/2 cup Table Salt (3/4 cup Kosher Salt)
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup Brown sugar, lightly packed
3 Tbsp Chili powder
3 Tbsp Paprika
2 Tbsp Celery salt
1/2 cup Ground oregano
4 tsp Ground white pepper
1 Tbsp Garlic powder
1 Tbsp Ground black pepper
1 Tbsp Cumin
3/4 tsp Dry mustard
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper

Mix well. Store in an airtight container.
Use at least 1 Tbsp of rub per 1 lb of meat.
Wrap rub coated meat in plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the fridge overnight.

Makes 1 pound = about 2 1/2 cups of BBQ rub.


Original NASA BBQ Rub Formula (given in % of ingredients by total weight)

29.51 Salt
23.61 Sugar granulated
17.71 Brown sugar, lightly packed
5.90 Chili powder
5.90 Paprika
4.43 Celery salt
3.54 Ground oregano
2.95 Ground white pepper
2.21 Garlic powder
1.48 Ground black pepper
1.48 Cumin
0.79 Dry mustard
0.49 Cayenne pepper

NASA BBQ Rub formula/recipe converted to Grams

100.00 % = 453.592 gm = 1 pound

133.855 gm Salt
107.093 gm Sugar granulated
80.331 gm Brown sugar, lightly packed
26.762 gm Chili powder
26.762 gm Paprika
20.094 gm Celery salt
16.057 gm Ground oregano
13.381 gm Ground white pepper
10.024 gm Garlic powder
6.71 gm Ground black pepper
6.71 gm Cumin
3.583 gm Dry mustard
2.222 gm Cayenne pepper


Original NASA press release with BBQ Rub formula:

"Beef Brisket, Barbecued, Sliced

Dry Rub
Ingredients Percent by weight
Salt 29.51
Sugar granulated 23.61
Brown sugar, lightly packed 17.71
Chili powder 5.90
Paprika 5.90
Celery salt 4.43
Ground oregano 3.54
Ground white pepper 2.95
Garlic powder 2.21
Ground black pepper 1.48
Cumin 1.48
Dry mustard 0.79
Cayenne pepper 0.49


Trim beef brisket of fat and rub dry rub mixture into the meat surface (Dry Rub shall be at
least 8 grams per pound of raw brisket). Wrap the brisket in plastic wrap or suitable
material and hold at 40°F (4°C) overnight.

Cook briskets in a regular oven set at 235°F (113°C), baste after 3 hours with barbecue
sauce. Cook another two hours until internal temperature is 175-180°F (79-82°C) baste with
barbecue sauce and let sit in the oven for one more hour.

The brisket shall be sliced on a meat slicer set at 1/8 inch (3.0 mm). Serve 2.8 to 3.5 oz
(80-100 g) of sliced brisket with add one ounce (30 g) of hickory smoke flavored barbecue
sauce. "

Links to original recipe at NASA:

Made another batch of this the other day. It’s also good on meat in the slow cooker.