What is the shelf life of rubs ?


Lynn Dollar

TVWBB Emerald Member
Saw a Twitter post today about a sale of MeatChurch rubs at an Ace Hardware in Tennessee.

Made me wonder about buying rubs or how long to keep rubs in the kitchen. Obviously, the fresher the better but its tough to throw out perfectly good rub too, if ya don't trust it any longer.

Don't they usually have a good-by date? Store 'em in a cool dark place (NOT near the stove) and they should be good safety-wise forever. Taste-wise?? Maybe 2 years if stored properly AND depending on the spice itself. To me, salt is the only spice that never seems to go off

After that (well, even before that) they start to lose their flavour and you would need to add more. When you find that "Gee, I can't taste any XXXX in this", it's time to toss :D

It seems like I've heard a year, but I've also heard some can go 2 years. I agree with Len. It's more like they just lose their potency. I unfortunately don't get to cook as much as I like there days so I don't go through that much rub. I just don't have space for. I probably got through a couple of Holy Cow bottles a year, and maybe 3 or 4 pork rubs.
Yep, two years is probably the duty life if most bottled seasonings, of ANYTHING not just rubs, I don’t buy more than 6 months worth of pretty much any spice or herb. They simply lose their flavor, not entirely but, they just fade.
I bought some Plowboys Yardbird at Ace Hardware a month ago. The bottle has no " best by " date. Neither do my Meat Church rubs, nor Weber, nor Cavenders Greek Seasoning.

My bottle of Montreal Steak seasoning does have a best by date.

So maybe its best to order directly from the maker, instead of buying off a shelf. Since there's no way of knowing how long its been on the shelf, and most likely the rub maker has fresher bottles ?
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Valid assumption, Lynn.
It’s virtually impossible to know how long or, how well, any middleman has stored their inventory. Getting that kind of thing through the source is going to most likely provide the best product.
Yep, its not just a matter of spending a few dollars more on a rub, its all the work and time and expense of the complete cook that can go to waste if the rub is stale. No need cuttin corners on the small stuff.
I'm thinking they are mostly likely fine until you open them. The oxygen probably causes the deterioration. I always put a date on mine with a sharpie when I open them so I don't keep anything too long.
Purchasing from places with fast turnover will help ensure your rubs and sauces start out as fresh as possible. Places such as Big Poppa Smokers and The Kansas City BBQ Store come to mind.
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I too mark the a date with a sharpie. I just bbq'ed beef ribs last Saturday with a rub dated August 2017 & I was disappointed. It had lost all its flavor, except for the salt. I should have known better...
I think and ime it depends on the grind. Coarser grinds last longer then finer grinds.
1 year is a good rule for any spice and of course buying fresh from places like Penzey's etc insures that.