Homemade Lemon Pepper BBQ Grill Spice Rub Recipe

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Lemon Pepper Recipe great grill bbq rub gift for dad for Father's Day

Lemon pepper. It’s the perfect spice blend for any BBQ’d item. I love it as a spice rub on chicken, sprinkled onto grilled veggies and corn on the cob, it’s delicious on salmon and other seafood… Lemon pepper has to be my favorite spice blend. Often the lemon pepper you buy at the store is packed with preservatives and salt, so last year I decided that I would try my hand at making my own lemon pepper. The result was fabulous and has become a much sought after gift item from the men who BBQ in my life.

I first shared this recipe shortly after I started my blog. With Father’s Day right around the corner and a summer full of BBQing ahead of us I thought I would revisit the recipe and give it a bit of a face lift.

What You Need:

-4 lemons

-1/3 cup of peppercorns

-1 tablespoon of sea salt or kosher salt

-A spice grinder (if you prefer you could grind the pepper with a pepper mill or mortar and pestle).

-A grater

-A cookie sheet

Step 1: Grate the skin off of 4 lemons. You just want the yellow part of the skin. Don’t go so deep that you are grating the white part. I made a double batch so the amount of zest in the photos filled two small mason jars.

Homemade Lemon Pepper Recipe from SewCreativeBlog

Step 2: Spread the lemon zest onto a cookie sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper). Set your oven at it’s lowest setting (mine was at 200). It will take about an hour for your lemon zest to dry out. Keep checking on it and tossing the lemon zest with a fork. The zest on the outskirts of the pile will dry up faster than that which  is in the center.

Homemade Lemon Pepper Recipe from SewCreativeBlog

Step 3: When you lemon zest feels dry and slightly crumbly to the touch you know that it is done. It will have shrunken quite a bit and be slightly browned. At this point remove it from the oven.

Grated lemon rind after dryingStep 4: Put 1/3 of a cup of peppercorns and 1 tablespoon of sea salt or kosher salt into your spice grinder.

Note: My dad is on a low salt diet so I only put 1 tablespoon of salt into this. I have seen recipes that call for equal parts salt and pepper. Adjust the salt content to your taste.

Grind until your peppercorns are the consistency that you desire then add your dried lemon zest. Give the grinder 2 or 3 short pulses to incorporate lemon into the salt and pepper mixture. (Alternatively if you don’t have a spice grinder you could use a pepper grinder or mortar and pestle to grind your pepper and salt.)

Homemade Lemon Pepper Recipe from SewCreativeBlog

Step 5: Pour mixture into an air tight container and enjoy! Delicious on grilled or steamed vegetables, fish, chicken and beef!

Homemade Lemon Pepper Recipe from SewCreativeBlog

To give your spice blend an added flare if giving as a gift try giving it sealed in a Mod Podge Spice Jar! Directions for making your own Mod Podge Spice Jars see our tutorial.

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  1. This looks AMAZING! I love the idea of making it from scratch because I think the store bought stuff even has a fakey lemon taste! I bet this is delish! I am sharing and pinning!

    1. I am ADDICTED to lemon pepper. I put it on everything (corn, broccoli, salmon, chicken, grilled vegetables…) I think the store bought stuff has lots of preservatives in it so considering how much I eat of it it’s probably better that I eat homemade lemon pepper. It is pretty delicious. 🙂 My dad doesn’t like store bought lemon pepper and he loves this.