Trader Joe’s BBQ 101 Seasoning Blend is Decent on Chicken but Not Amazing

I am a barbecue and grilling fanatic and have a great time trying out new specialty rubs and seasonings.  I saw that Trader Joe’s had a BBQ 101 Seasoning Blend for sale and decided to give it a try.

Trader Joe's BBQ 101 Dry Rub

Nutrition and Ingredients

Let’s take a closer look at what you get with this jar of bbq seasoning.

Nutrition Facts

You get 2.4 ounces of seasoning in each jar.  One serving is 1/4 teaspoon and there are about 68 servings per jar.

The nutritional facts for a single serving are:

  • Calories: 0
  • Fat: 0g (0% DV)
  • Cholesterol: 0mg (0% DV)
  • Sodium: 40mg (2% DV)
  • Carbohydrates: 0g (0% DV)
  • Protein: 0g

BBQ 101 Dry Rub Nutrition

This is, without question, one of the dumbest and most intentionally misleading labelling jobs that I have seen in a heck of a long time.

At first glance this looks like a no calorie seasoning blend with extremely low sodium, which, if it was true, would be great.

Look closer though and you will see that Trader Joe’s has defined a “serving” as 1/4 teaspoon.  The amount of calories in 1/4 teaspoon are low enough to be considered “0” by FDA requirements.

But 1/4 teaspoon is a STUPID serving size for a bbq seasoning blend that nobody will ever use.  To put things in perspective, the serving size for Trader Joe’s Coffee and Garlic BBQ Rub is 1.5 Tablespoons which is 18 times larger than the serving size for the BBQ 101 blend.

Ingredient List

The seasoning has the following ingredients:

  • Brown sugar
  • Smoked paprika
  • Dried roasted garlic
  • Dried red chile pepper
  • Salt
  • Dried onion
  • Black pepper

So, just to beat a dead horse, Trader Joe’s is advertising a bbq rub whose primary ingredient is brown sugar as a Zero Calorie seasoning blend.  Good Grief.

Taste Test

This tastes like a standard barbecue rub as it is primarily sweet with savory backup notes.

Let the rub sit on the meat for about 30-45 minutes before grilling so it can start to melt into the protein.  The high sugar content helps you get nice grill marks.

The sweetness of the rub pairs nicely with mild proteins such as chicken breasts.  I would not suggest using this on steaks or burgers.

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Trader Joes BBQ 101 Seasoning

Other than the crappy labelling issue the only other complaint I have about the seasoning blend relates to the brown sugar content.

The brown sugar in the rub readily soaks up water from ambient humidity and gets clumpy.  By the third time I used the rub the seasoning blend had gotten packed down and now I have to thump on the bottle pretty hard to knock some loose.

Overall this is a fine bbq seasoning blend but is nothing special.



Good morning and welcome to the site dedicated to helping you find great products at Costco and other stores! My name is David Somerville and these are hands on reviews of products that I have bought and used or am seriously considering purchasing. I do most of my shopping at the Costco in Baton Rouge, Louisiana but will check out any other Costco warehouses I find while travelling. Please get in touch with any questions and let me know of any great products that deserved to be featured in this blog!

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