Layering mustard coats on the ribs come with controversies. No one knows whether it’s important to coat the ribs with mustard before mixing the dry rub layer. Some people say that it has no purpose, while others frenzied to use it.

With this controversy, one can say that the only reason for using mustard on ribs or other cards is to bind the dry rub to the meat.

Having the glue or binder function to the dry rub also layers the meat with no flavor. So let’s see how mustard on ribs works.

What is so special about mustard?

While we understand that the purpose of using mustard on ribs is to provide a sticky binding to the dry rubs, it is still not clear why to use mustard only?

One can only apprehend this answer by stating that it is one of the cheapest sauces accessible. Almost every household refrigerator will have a bottle of mustard sauce. Apart from that, it is the only sauce containing a vinegar base (though it depends on the brand). These facts make mustard special on the ribs.

Ingredients of Commercial Mustard

One can obtain the mustard paste by combining crushed mustard seeds, vinegar, white wine, and water. Out of all the mustard sauce that you will find in the market, the most common and popular one is the yellow mustard.

The list of ingredients in the yellow mustard is distilled vinegar, water, salt, spice, natural flavor, garlic powder, turmeric, paprika, and most importantly, the first-grade mustard seed.

As expected, when you will cook the mustard, the liquid ingredients like the water and the vinegar will evaporate, leaving behind the salt, paprika, garlic powder, turmeric, and mustard seeds, including the other natural flavors and spices. These are the ingredients that are used in most barbecue rubs. In other words, it means, when you will apply the dry rub with a layering of mustard, they will be indistinguishable.

If you want to impart a mustard flavor to your barbecue and incorporate juicer and tender meal, you must use the mustard sauce to layer before dry rub.

Cost and Availability

Mustard happens to be one of the staple condiments in every household. Most people use mustard on hamburgers or sandwiches. If you are a believer in using a binder, then mustard is your cheapest option.


Though mustard being a popular binder, some people love to use other alternatives. Let us discuss some of those alternatives.

Water can also be used as a binder to rehydrate the dry rub alloying the spices to penetrate deep into the meat. It is done through the process of osmosis. It allows the breakdown of muscle protein which results in juicy and tender meat.

Apple cider vinegar or apple juice does work wonders as you know that Apple juice and pork complement each other. The juice helps to prevent the meat bark from drying out. Besides, it would be best if you used your hand to bind the rib as the binding solution is liquid to any other alternatives.

Most of the hot sauce brands are inexpensive. And also, it is a great binder for your barbecue ribs. The ingredient content of hot sauce is distilled vinegar, water, salt, garlic powder, and red peppers. When you smoke, the liquid evaporates, leaving your BBQ ribs with spicy notes.

Mayonnaise can also be used as a binder. But people have inhibition before using this binding ingredient. The presence of vinegar, sugar, salt, lemon juice, soybean oil-water, and egg extract provides the meat’s perfect flavor. Once you smoke the meat layered in mayonnaise, it will give you a classy taste.

Another most famous sauce that people use on ribs is the Worcestershire sauce. It is a very common practice that people indulge in. Especially for chuck roast brisket cuts or rib roast, this sauce is used to tenderize the meat. Consisting of ingredients like distilled white vinegar, salt, water, sugar, onion, garlic, cloves, chili pepper extract, tamarind extract, natural flavorings, anchovies, and molasses, it is perfect for every barbecue ribs. It is like the apple of an eye for the ribs.

But out of all these alternatives, the class is the mustard barbecue sauce with brown sugar and onion flakes. The duo caramelizes on the ribs providing an amazing flavor. Hence without mustard, everything is going to be oblivion.

If you don’t have any of the following, you can go for oil. Either olive oil or any form of vegetable oil will do the work. But because of the expensive nature of the vegetable or olive oil, one can avoid this.

Mustard On Ribs

After dry rub

Some guys applied the mustard after the use of dried rub on their meat. Many senior cooks and famous cooking celebrities apply mustard after rubbing the bbq ribs.

Though there reasons for this process but one I can never really say as to why? While some people say that applying mustard after rubbing helps to bind evenly, but their people are still wondering for some concrete answers.

Applying mustard after dry rub revolves around applying the layer of mustard to the ribs and following it with a layer of turbinado sugar. It will create a magical taste in your bbq ribs.

Final thoughts

The only goal served by the mustard on ribs is to provide a binding to the overall meet. Apart from that, as you have seen, one can use water, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, or even simply olive oil as a binder. But a greater percentage of people will typically use mustard as a binder or no binder at all.

The vinegar content of the mustard enhances tenderizing the meat, helping you give the juiciest barbecue meat. With that, it adds a kind of neutral flavor to your overall cooked food.

You can always try an experiment with your barbecue dishes and see what works best for you. So what are you guys waiting for? Go through this guide and make the best-smoked bbq for your January New Year party or any other late-night parties.