This ancho chipotle dry rub pairs perfectly with any protein, but I have a soft spot in my heart for tri-tip, the best cut of beef for summer grilling, and maybe of all time. Tri-tip graced the table of nearly every summer barbecue we attended. It’s reasonably priced (for beef), feeds a crowd easily, is well-marbled and flavorful, and gets even tastier when paired with this ancho chipotle dry rub. Get ready to have a new favorite spice blend, and don’t say I didn’t warn you!
This dry rub deserves it’s own theme song, or festive parade – it’s that good. It’s packed with smoky, salty, garlicky flavor, one batch makes enough to last you all summer, and I dare you to find anything more flavorful in any grocery store aisle.
It’s a recipe that goes all the way back to my childhood. My mom is a bit of a gourmet home chef (I’m lucky that I learned from the best!). Her obsession with Mexican food knows very few bounds, and that passion landed this dry rub in her repertoire early on and we haven’t looked back since. It frequently got slathered on a grilled tri-tip on a Friday night, and we feasted on the best that summer grilling had to offer.
A few weeks ago, my ever deteriorating memory sparked a recollection of this dry rub and I texted my mom frantically, asking her to share it. We both reminisced about how good it is, and well, now I’m sharing its delights with you! The recipe makes about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of rub, so it’ll last you a long time and is well worth the bit of effort.
You can find dried chipotle and dried ancho chile peppers in some mainstream grocery stores in the Latin foods section, or at a Mexican grocery store. I recommend making a trip to your local Mexican grocery store – there are such lovely new items to explore and experiment with, and you can pick these dried chiles up while you’re at it!
After very (very!) quickly frying the chiles in hot oil for 10 seconds to toast them up, you blitz them in a spice blender to grind them up, then add them to a food processor with Mexican oregano, 25 cloves of garlic, and salt. That’s it! Then you dry out the rub in a low-heat oven for about an hour, and you’re left with a deep, gorgeous dry rub that melts into your meat, infusing it with deep chile and garlic flavor, all while perfectly salting it.
After drying it out in the oven, you may want to pulse it in the food processor once more to break up any clumps, and then you can store it in an airtight container for months on end. I made it twice while recipe testing, and in one iteration, which you can see in the tri-tip image, I actually ran it through the spice grinder instead of the food processor after drying it out, and it created a lovely and fine powder. I’m loving both versions, but the food processor yields a better dry rub texture.
The only dry rub you’ll ever need – here to infuse all your meat with the perfect smoke, garlic, chile and salt balance.
- 5 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
- 5 dried chipotle peppers, stems and seeds removed
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 cup salt
- 1/4 cup Mexican oregano (can use regular if you can’t find Mexican)
- 25 cloves of garlic
- 1 tri-tip
- Heat the oil over medium high heat. In batches, lightly and QUICKLY toast the dried chiles – about 10-15 seconds (they will puff up a bit. I hit them about 5-10 seconds per side)
- Remove chiles and drain on paper towel lined plate. Discard the oil
- Working in batches, grind the chiles in a spice grinder
- In a food processor, blend the chiles, salt, garlic and oregano together until a spice rub consistency forms (ie small pieces), but stop before the ingredients comes together like a paste
- On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread out the spice rub, breaking up any clumps
- In a 150 degree oven (mine only goes down to 170 and that works too), dry out the rub for about an hour. I find that removing it once or twice throughout the process and de-clumping it with my hands is helpful in making the drying process go smoothly
- Once mixture is dried out, run it through food processor to break up any last clumps
- To use on tri-tip, generously coat tri-tip all over with the rub, and grill over high direct heat for 4 minutes per side, then on indirect heat for 4 minutes per side (adjust times if you have a very thin or very thick tri-tip), or until an instant read thermometer denotes a temperature of your liking. I like 140-145 for medium rare – medium. Let rest 10 minutes before carving so the juices lock in.
Keywords: chipotle, dry rub, spice rub, tri-tip, chipotle rub, ancho