DFM’s Spice Rub for Ribs, Meat and Salmon

I’ve mentioned DFM before. He is our Canberran friend that cooks a mean spit roast. His latest accomplishment is cooking his first suckling pig, which unfortunately we missed out on. Never fear, we shall cajole him to cook another one once we are settled back in Canberra.

When we visited home over the Christmas and New Year period, we had a seafood day where the boys basically had a drink and cooked up some delicious seafood. I had the cheek (or good sense) to show up later in the day once the food was ready to eat.

One of the meals was some chunks of salmon with a version of this spice rub on them. DFM barely cooked them to medium rare on a really hot BBQ and it was easily some of the best salmon I’ve ever had. The spice rub has a lot of sugar in it, this makes for a great flavour, but also ensures a really good crust on the meat or seafood that you use it on.

I made sure I grabbed the recipe off DFM. He had saved it as a camera phone photo of his monitor with the recipe on it. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to find the original source to credit, but thanks to Mr. Google I found it very quickly here.

Of course, I couldn’t help myself and made some slight changes. Mainly substituting the brown sugar for some Indian-style jaggery, which has an almost salty taste to it. By all means just use brown sugar though, I assure you it still tastes fantastic.

So what do you do with a rub? This would be great on slow cooked cuts like ribs, a pork butt or shoulder or a beef brisket if you are lucky enough to find a good one. This is also great on meats and seafoods that require a quick cooking too though, like this salmon fillet that I have shown you below.


You’ll just need some basic herbs and spices, nothing crazy here.



The jaggery adds a salty-sweet element, but some firmly packed brown sugar will do the trick too.



If (like me) you don’t have any ground rosemary, just use your mortar and pestle to grind some dried rosemary leaves into a finer powder. I did the same thing for the dried onions too as I only had dried onion flakes.



The jaggery will be quite crumbly and sticky so either shave or crumble it in order to measure it out.


spice rub

You can mix everything in a bowl and transfer it to a sealable container, or just shake it up in the jar you plan to store it.



Completely cover the salmon with the spice rub. Using your fingers, gently rub the spices all over the fish so that it has quite a thick layer on it.


Spice Rub for Ribs, Meat and Salmon

Cooking the salmon fast and hot will not only ensure that it cooks medium rare, but that the sugars in the rub will melt and caramelize slightly to form a crust on it.


DFM’s Spice Rub for Ribs, Meat and Salmon – Adapted from Amazing Ribs

Ingredients – Makes approximately 1 cup of spice rub

  • ¼ cup of crumbled and broken up jaggery
  • ¼ cup of fine white sugar
  • 2 tbs of ground sweet paprika
  • 1 tbs of fine, white salt
  • 1 tbs of dried garlic powder
  • 2½ tsp of ground, white pepper
  • 2½ tsp of ground, dried ginger
  • 2½ tsp of ground, dried onion powder
  • ½ tsp of ground, dried rosemary



  1. Mix all of the ingredients together well. Store in a well sealed container in the fridge, it will keep for at least a month and up to a few months.
  2. If the rub becomes solid or chunky in the fridge, simply mix again before using.
  3. To use, rub all over the chosen meat or seafood.


Spice Rub for Ribs

Oven Baked Salmon with DFM’s Spice Rub

Ingredients – Serves 2

  • ¼ cup of DFM’s spice rub
  • 300g salmon fillet



  1. Remove the salmon from the fridge at least 20 minutes prior to cooking it.
  2. Preheat the oven to 250°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Completely cover the salmon with the spice rub. Using your fingers, gently rub the spices all over the fish so that it has quite a thick layer on it.
  4. Bake the salmon in the oven for 6 minutes for medium rare or longer to suit your preferred doneness. Rest for at least 3 minutes before serving, perhaps alongside some salad and sweet potato chips.


oven baked salmon with spice rub



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Hi! I’m Taryn. The Wooden Spoons is a food blog and collection of wooden spoons, recipes and stories. I’m a Canberra fan-girl with a passion for all things food. I love South East Asian food, fusion food done well and slow cooked anything. I don’t get quinoa, have a mild phobia of milk touching my skin and custard from a package freaks me out. Thanks for joining me on my cooking and food adventures.

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